A SEED IS PLANTED . . .
Many years ago, I read an article about meditation, on my lunch break. I found it very interesting. For a few decades now, meditation has been popular off and on in our culture, as a fad of sorts. I was really curious about the idea that I could quiet my mind. I really wanted to try this but I had no idea where to start. I read what I could and attempted to jump right in. Meditation, sounds like a great idea – right? I thought so too, but, try as I might, I couldn’t – I just couldn’t, I tried, I really, really tried. I put on the calming music, I dimmed the lights, I got comfy sitting on my poufy cushion. Inside my head it sounded like a bustling train station; chaos, so much noise – “Hey relax” “ok” “but I should be doing the laundry” “why are the kids so quiet” “did I answer that message” “when will I put the car in the shop” “I need to cook dinner” blah blah blah —- You get the picture. I just could not do it!
IF AT FIRST YOU DON’T SUCCEED . . .
I attempted several times to establish a meditation practice for myself. When a medical professional advised that I find some effective tools to manage stress, meditation came to mind. I signed up for a mindfulness meditation training course sponsored by the local medical center. We were a small eclectic group of people. We met for eight sessions, on Thursday evenings every other week. I learned a lot about the physical and emotional consequences of stress and gained some useful tools and strategies for stress management in this course. I am going to concentrate on the meditation aspect here. I was so happy that I attended this course.
We sampled several types of meditation during this time, and I liked them all. I struggled, as always, with keeping my thoughts in check but the instructor advised me to keep bringing it back to my breath. With his coaching, I came to understand what he meant. It reminded me of when my children were toddlers, distraction and redirection were the only things in my parenting tool belt to cope with their antics. This was kind of the same thing, with my mind in the role of the toddler. With practice, I was better able to let my thoughts go. I decided to really apply myself to this new practice. I committed to meditate once a day for three weeks. By then it would either be a habit – or a failure. I set my intention to succeed, and I began to do it every day. I was cautiously optimistic.
After a couple of weeks, I found myself looking forward to my meditation time each day. I explored several guided meditation videos. I did feel more relaxed and less stressed throughout the day. I was sleeping well at night. I meditated regularly for several months. For whatever reason, I found myself meditating less as time went by, until I stopped completely, again. Eventually, when I realized I was missing my regular meditation, and the benefits, I started up again. I did this cycle of intermittent meditation practice for a couple of years.
THE NEXT STEPS . . .
About a year ago, as part of a new self-care routine, I started meditating again. Initially, I pushed myself to meditate in the evening. I adjusted to this addition to my routine pretty quickly. Then, I added a brief “wake-up” meditation in the morning. The evening session helped me to relax and release the stress of the day. The morning session became a way to ground myself and set my intention for the day. I realized that the benefits of my regular meditative practice far exceeded the time invested. As my interest in meditation grew, I began to acquire more in-depth knowledge about the different styles and meditation philosophies. I then sought out additional training so that I could teach others and lead meditations. I find it fulfilling to teach beginners to meditate so that they may experience it for themselves.
WHY SHOULD I TRY MEDITATION ?
There are many reasons to begin a meditation practice. Stress management alone makes it a worthwhile endeavor. Immense opportunities for personal growth and spiritual expansion open up for you when meditating. Meditation can be a pathway for connection with your higher self or your spirit guides. WE ARE ALL CONNECTED. The collective consciousness becomes more easily accessible in a meditative state. I should also probably mention there are physical benefits including the potential to sleep well, and awaken rested and refreshed. Meditation is now acknowledged by some medical and psychological experts as beneficial to health and wellness. A recent television documentary stated that some companies, such as Google, offer meditation breaks during the workday.
HOW CAN I BEGIN MEDITATING ?
There are many types and styles of meditation. There is probably a community center in your area where a meditation group meets. These are usually guided meditations. The group setting provides a comfortable environment and support for those beginning meditation. If you prefer to meditate on your own, there are also many videos available which may resonate with you. I can access meditations on my cable TV, and YouTube has thousands. I suggest if you use a video that you listen to it all the way through before using it to meditate. Some videos, I find, are just not for me for whatever reason. Sometimes, I don’t “feel“ the narrator. Sometimes I’m just not into the style of meditation or the music used. Lastly, you guessed it, there are apps available for meditation if that’s more your style. The journey inward is a really personal process, choose what works for you. Be patient with yourself and allow yourself time to learn how to meditate. As with any new skill it can take time to be comfortable meditating.
COMING SOON !
I plan to post a meditation video or two to my website in the near future. Keep an eye out for them.
I also have a post coming which will explain more about the significance of the breath in meditation and more.
NAMASTE´. . .
I hope you enjoy your day, and that you will give some thought to incorporating meditation into your life. As always, SHINE!