Meditation #2 – The Slow Home Experiment

Meditation - The Slow Home Experiment We’re a little over a week into this month’s Slow Home Experiment of daily meditation, and to be honest I’m finding it increasingly challenging. I’m loving the lessons learnt and the experience of meditating every day, but what’s surprised me is those easy first few days have made way for some really tough sessions and some very frustrating mornings. Being complete novices in meditation, I have no idea if that’s normal or not but in this episode Ben and I talk about our favourite guided meditations and I look at why one of mine left me in such a rage. (To be fair, I think it has more to do with me than the meditation guide, but man, I was cranky when I finished that day!) I’m also finding a real difficulty in switching off most mornings, and while I’m sure part of that is practice, I’m also wondering if it’s partly about needing to set my intention before sitting down to meditate? This week I’ll be working on that specifically and am really keen to see if it makes a big difference in how quickly my brain “warms up”. We also list the seven meditations we’ll be following this week, if you wanted to join in and practice the same ones it might be fun to compare notes:
  • Day 9:  Mindfulness for releasing anxiety (Relax and Let Go)
  • Day 10: Yoga Nidra for sleep (Meditate into Deep Sleep)
  • Day 11: Meditation for self-confidence (Cultivate Self-Love and Compassion)
  • Day 12: Mountain meditation (Introduction)
  • Day 13: Timer and bells for 10 minutes
  • Day 14: Favourite place of relaxation (Relax and Let Go)
  • Day 15: Cleanse your chakras (Different Techniques)
Of course, one of the things I’m loving about this month’s experiment is the lack of rules and stipulations, so don’t feel any pressure to join in if you don’t have the time or the inclination. Whatever works for you is what works for you! And as I mentioned last week, we also started the Slow Home Experiment group on the Insight Timer app if you wanted to join us. There’s such an international group there already and I’m loving the idea that our energy and intentions are spreading out from so many points on the globe. Let us know how you’re finding the experiment this month, and whether it’s normal for me to be finding it harder the more I practice. Enjoy! Don’t forget, you can play along by tagging your social media posts with #slowhomeexperiment and share your experiences. Hit us up on Instagram and let’s get experimenting! Enjoy!


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7 Responses to Meditation #2 – The Slow Home Experiment

  1. My advice for Brooke on silent (mindfulness) meditation: don’t view it as something that requires skill or experience! Mindfulness meditation is really quite different than guided meditation, and I don’t think one can really prepare you for the other. It’s almost like mental/sedentary yoga, where the goal isn’t just to “clear your mind” so much as… to become one with your experience, I guess? As a beginner it is definitely harder to stay with that oneness; our minds get pulled in different directions. But that’s not a “bad” thing or a reason to avoid doing it! That’s how we learn about ourselves and the nature of our minds–and the ways we try to pull away from our present experience. The only way to get “better” at mindfulness meditation is just to do it.

    Guided meditation, for me, has a completely different function. For one, it can be very relaxing, which is nice. But it’s usually more about concentration or focus on particular thoughts, feelings, or ideas. Nothing wrong with that, but I do think that a dedicated mindfulness meditation practice (though harder, in many ways) is much richer and more rewarding in the end. I recommend trying both.

    That said, I’m a relative beginner, too, and I’m definitely oversimplifying here…

  2. Loved the pogpast today. I am totally with you on the “must connect to the meditation guide’s voice/accent”. I haven’t found a lot on that app yet that I love, but I do really like Andy Puddicombe’s meditations on Headspace App, and the kids, teens and adult ones on Smiling Mind (Aussie accent too!). I also like Tara Brach’s meditations, which you can get through her podcast for free. I wish my amazing Yoga Nidra teacher would record some of her guided meditations because she is amazing….and she pauses for quite a long time between speaking :)

    I have been doing a lot of work with mindfulness meditation with my students this year, and the best wording I have found to describe what the mind does is to imagine it’s like a puppy, always wandering off to explore. I tell the students that this is perfectly normal, and just like we would gently guide a puppy back to the path with kindness, we can do the same things with our awareness. Also, I encourage them to note where the mind has been (daydreaming, worrying, list-making, rumnating etc) and to practice kindness and curiosity with themselves, which I know is easier said than done. It’s a beautiful practice, and though I am at the beginning of my journey with it, I can already see how it’s changing me during the rest of my day :)

  3. I teach around mindfulness meditation and practice it in my life – it has helped me through crisis and with my propensity toward anxiety. I actually like how strongly you reacted to the whole guided meditation thing and the suggestion that you say yes to everything… I totally agree with your response and believe that we should say no to most opportunities. Unless, of course, we enjoy being frazzled and burnt out.

  4. For me, the Insight app is great for experimenting with different types and styles of meditation and teachers, but it’s difficult to get any depth to the practice when it’s different every day. I’d second the recommendation for the Headspace program – once you’ve done the basics, there is a program especially for learning to meditate without guidance, which is great. Having been through that, I now just do a timed silent meditation every day (no apps required), then about once a week will pick a guided one to do.
    I do find that if there is too much guidance, I end up not really listening to it and just letting it be background noise, passing through, like other noises, and my own thoughts. Observing your own reactions to things is always instructive, as well.
    There was an interesting discussion on the Good Life Project podcast a few weeks ago about the future of meditation and how it’s great that all these new apps etc. are bringing people to the practice, but they don’t necessarily provide the support that people need.
    Also just some thoughts on getting rid of thoughts – different analogies seem to work for different people, but here’s one which I found helpful: getting rid of thoughts would be like a weightlifter training without weights – they wouldn’t actually get any stronger. When you are able to be aware of your thoughts, you can work with them much more effectively. I definitely recommend lots of work on self-compassion as well!
    Thanks for the podcast, I enjoy it a lot, and am still doing my daily yoga with Adriene which I started with you a couple of months ago!

  5. Loved this pogpast! I’m a pretty dedicated meditator and I’ve been trying to incorporate mindfulness and meditation into our family life. We have a few great books for kids and we do guided meditations with them and encourage them to return to their breath when they get squirrely.

    For myself,I don’t really love guided meditations either. I do a few different types of meditation that I really like:
    – Zazen meditation, which is from Zen Buddhism and is basically just sitting and coming back to the breath. If thoughts come I do a few things: label them (“thinking”, “worrying”, “planning”) and let them go, picture whatever it is floating away in a balloon, or imagine them floating by.
    – Concentration meditation, which usually means counting in time with the breath. I count along with each in-breath up to 10 and start over. If a thought interrupts me, I start over at 1.
    – Metta meditation. Its more of a sending good wishes kind of meditation. You start by sending good wishes to yourself (May I be peaceful, may I be happy, may I bee free) then to a loved one, a neutral person, a difficult person, then out to the world. I like to do this one before bed. My kids like doing it before bed too.
    – Tonglen meditation. This comes from Tibetan Buddhism. I do this when I’m hurting over something happening in the world, so when I hear of a terrorist attack or when my friend was diagnosed with cancer. You breathe in their suffering, try to connect with it and breathe out peace and relief and imagine sending it to the suffering person. It sounds heavy on the woo, but its a nice way to feel like you’re doing something when things feel out of control.

    The teacher I have worked with is called Michael Stone and he’s a Buddhism/Yoga teacher. He also has an app with guided meditations that I really like as well as podcasts. One thing that he said in a course I took with him is that the more you meditate, the more crap comes up. Meditation brings down all those walls and defenses we set up for ourselves.Its really common for people to feel MORE anxious, for things to come up from the past. As someone said above, without support, it can be difficult to work through these things. Its a good sign though, it means meditation is allowing you to see things as they really are and connecting with yourself. If it keeps up though, maybe contact a meditation teacher and see if they can help you through it?

    Loving the monthly challenges and the pogpast! Keep up the good work!

  6. Hi Brooke and Ben , thank you for sharing your experiment this month with us and being truly you .

    Ive been using the insight timer since Joel Z talked about it on his poggy but haven’t really gotten in to a routine of using it as much as I would like . After hearing how its really changed your life Brooke you’ve given me the push i need thank you !

    Can you tell me what the name of the self confidence meditation is , ive Searched both names you have above but i dont end up with the same recommendations ….. Thanks heaps Rox-*