When I was new to yoga, I struggled with meditation so much so that I outright avoided it. I’d actually grown up with a dad who regularly sat in meditation (he called it “communing with the cosmos”) but “meditation success” eluded me.
I’d always feel claustrophobic inside my own mind for any length of time longer than 30 seconds.
However since becoming a mom, my meditation practice has gotten stronger than ever.
That might seem kind of backwards. I mean, motherhood should make meditation harder, right?
That is mostly true.
And yet, I have an ace in the hole when it comes to maintaining a daily meditation practice.
It might not be what you think.
The big secret to my meditation success is that I don’t make my meditation practice too precious.
What does that mean?
Well, for one it means I let my kids sit with me during meditation. My 11 month old daughter sits in my lap, pulls my hair, smacks her toys against my face, and more often than not, nurses while I sit in meditation.
I invite my 2 older kids to sit with me, too. The only requirement is that they don’t ask me questions or make loud noises during my meditation.
I keep my standards and expectations fairly low.
This means that I don’t expect a perfectly quiet room for meditation.
I am a mom of 3 kids, living in suburbia where people do yard work at all hours of the day.
There isn’t anywhere I can go that will make my meditation quieter or more peaceful.
I also don’t expect to have hours to sit in meditation. Instead, I give myself a meditation window of 2 to 15 minutes. If I manage 15 minutes — wow, that’s exceptional. And if I only get 2 minutes, I’m 100% ok with that. It’s better than none.
Here’s the important thing to know about meditation:
Perfection is not the point.
Sitting in meditation, even in circumstances that are less pristine or ideal, is really where you’re going to get the best practice for what meditation has to offer you.
And think about it for a minute.
What is the point of meditation?
The point, in my experience, study, and observation is to be able to handle difficult, complicated, or chaotic situations with more grace, awareness, and intention.
How can you learn how to do that if you are meditating in a figurative or actual cave?
In order to make meditation more accessible, we’ve got to demystify it.
I recognize that the roots of meditation had little to do with householder life.
Meditation was more about transcending this experience of embodiment and to connect with the divine or spirit or God. This is still a legit and beautiful reason for meditation.
It’s just not why I meditate.
And in terms of practical application, it’s not why many people in more modern times seek out a daily meditation practice.
We do it to have a little space between the chaos of our lives and our inner experience. As a mom, I like to call meditation “sitting with my eyes closed” because putting a physical barrier between my messy living room and the messiness of my thoughts gives me an opportunity to sift through everything with less distraction.
I don’t have the option of sending my kids somewhere else. My house is small and they wake up early, as well as go to bed late. #blessed
I’m willing to sit in meditation almost anywhere, for shorter lengths of time because the length of time and specific place are less important to me than making sure I give myself the time I need to press pause.
I’ve been known to sit in meditation in the car at the grocery store, waiting a few moments with my eyes closed before opening the door to go inside.
This morning, I sat on the floor of my shower and sat for 10 breaths with my eyes closed, letting the water run over me. It was my only chance to sit. My 11 month old daughter sat in a bouncy toy on the other side of the shower door.
So if you struggle with meditation, take a step back.
Check in with why you want to meditate. Ask yourself how simple you can make it. Can you strip it of the pre-requisites you’ve assigned to it?
What would meditation success feel like to you?
Start there instead of starting with perfection in mind.
Invite a little of the chaos in so you can learn how to create your own space within it.
You might like it even more than the cave.
Need a little guidance for meditating with your kids?
Check out my FREE RESOURCE with suggestions for ways to meditate with your kids.
And if you want to introduce your kids to meditation, try these 2 videos by my own 7 year old. She did these on her own, with no guidance from me.