A Meditation for Peacefulness in an Online World
So often in our day to day lives, our mind is cluttered with negative thoughts about ourselves, sometimes, without us even being aware of them. Social media has bred a culture of comparison for many, with a longing for more 'likes' and a nagging desire to update, just so that we can make sure the world knows that we are good enough. We are constantly plugged in, connected, and checking in with our online friends, that we can become almost deaf to the constant reel of thought streams that accompany us every time we tap that app button.
The mind loves to latch on like velcro to thoughts that have a negative response within our physiology; it seems to take a lot more work to focus on or anchor in thoughts that make us feel good. When we are living a life where we are checking our phones every time our car comes to a stop, every time we are doing something mundane, and even when we are actually in the presence of other people, it can be difficult not to have 10,000 cluttered thoughts flying around in the space between our ears. Just think about it— as you are scrolling through Facebook, no matter how quickly, your mind is taking in, registering, and compartmentalizing all of what it sees. Sometimes, just putting your phone down is not enough to disconnect from that load. If you factor in the complexities of the negative aspects of social media (such as feeling like your life is not as exciting as someone else's, experiencing jealousy or inadequacy because of someones pictures, or even annoyance at things like political posts, selfie posts, or anything that you disagree with) then the vastness of this load, and what our mind clings to throughout the day, can start to become a little more obvious.
I don't want to come off sounding like a social media hater. If you follow me, you know that I definitely enjoy sharing and following and playing in much of what it has to offer. However, without making a conscious effort to disconnect, social media has directly affected relationships in my life, my quality of sleep, and my day to day state of peace. I know from my own experience just how vital it is to take the time to disconnect from the screen and connect back to our own hearts.
Let's do just that.
Step one— Put. Down. Your. Phone. or better yet, leave it charging or turn it off entirely.
Step two— Take your shoes off. Allow time for your feet to be completely barefoot.
Step three— Go outside. Find the closest patch of earth and root your feet down into the ground.
Step four— Stand up tall & breathe deeply. Notice where your thoughts are pulled. Every time you become aware of a thought, bring your focus back to a deep full breath.
Now that you've taken a moment to ground yourself, you are ready to begin the practice. Find a comfortable place to sit, either on the ground or in a chair, where you will be mostly undisturbed for at least 5 minutes (sounds or movement around you is absolutely okay, as long as you decide to be okay with it). Rest your hands on your knees or in your lap and start to find those same deep breaths again. Begin to slow your breath down and draw out the lengths of each inhale and exhale.
With your next inhale, say silently to yourself "I am here".
As you exhale, silently say "I am peaceful".
Continue to breathe slowly and deeply and repeat these statements with each breath.
Inhaling "I am here" and exhaling "I am peaceful".
After continuing this cycle for a few moments, bring one hand up and place it on your heart. Now place your other hand on top of that one. Keep breathing deeply, noticing how your mind may feel more still or slightly less full of thoughts.
Start saying silently to yourself "I am grateful for this moment. For this moment is all there is." Repeat this statement a few times.
Feel free to sit in the stillness you've tapped into for as long as you'd like. If you notice your thoughts start feeling cluttered again, return to the original inhale and exhale statements. Inhaling "I am here" and exhaling "I am peaceful". If you feel you may lose track of time, use a cooking timer or an alarm clock and set it for five minutes, or ask someone to come get you, but do not use your phone! If you have the freedom to lose track of time, allow it. You will thank yourself later.
Start to relearn how to be comfortable with being unplugged and doing nothing. Set aside specific times to be on your phone, but try to limit it to 1-3 times a day. If you're game for it, take a social media break.