I remember a time when I equated meditation with hippies sitting in lotus position chanting “ohm” on the repeat mode. When therapists or healers told me to try meditation, I balked and then over the years, stress increased in my life and my muscles twisted into one permanent knot. I listened to mind chatter its what if scenarios and I felt like banging my head against a wall. I wanted peace so badly I would have done anything, except meditation.
Some of us recall Liz Gilbert’s scenario in her memoir, “Eat, Pray, Love” when she fought her monkey mind. There she sat at an ashram in India with her mind going on about a room she wanted to decorate. Hardly meditation. And yet, that mind chatter prevents most of us from sitting on the mat and practicing meditation. The mind in all its splendor, that beautiful computer that it is, drives some of us crazy with its unrelenting worries, fears, and doubts. However, we can trick the mind.
Meditation comes in many forms as I’ve mentioned in previous posts. For people who need movement, they can try Tai Chi, Chi Gong and other martial arts or walking meditation. For people who need a voice to guide them through the labyrinths of their mind into their heart, guided audio does the trick. Others might not feel they have enough discipline on their own so they join a meditation class or group. Some people prefer to meditate on a patio, garden or park. Some people meditate with a sacred drum or use sound healing tools to set the mood and calm the mind. While others practice meditation in combination with yoga.
The trick with all meditation is to slow down the brain and sink our consciousness into our heart. When we use guided imagery, we build a bridge between the brain and the heart. Once we get into our heart, we hear a still inner voice (this could take practice before it happens) and we can learn a lot from this voice. Some people call this voice their Higher Wisdom while others believe they are talking to God or a sacred entity such as an angel, but usually those voices come from the outside, not the heart. Though those voices can speak directly to our hearts.
Not everyone wants to use meditation this way. Some people meditate to lower their blood pressure, calm stress and ease tension so that they can sleep better. Some people meditate to ease depression and anxiety. While some people meditate simply because it feels good, they look great and they feel calmer and more responsive in their lives. There is no one-size-fits-all nor is their a wrong way to meditate. Some spiritualists and healers meditate for hours each day while others, more average person might meditate 5, 10 or 15 minutes per day such as when they first wake up or when they fall asleep. For beginners start with 5 minutes then build onto that each day. Find creative and meaningful ways to meditate so that you find it pleasurable and something that is worth doing everyday.
Combine meditation with keeping a journal, writing poetry, balancing chakras, or using sound healing tools. Personally, I like to start meditation with toning (using different vowels sounds for each chakra starting with the root and working up to the crown). End the meditation with a sacred word or Tibetan bells or chimes. In a few days after meditating each day, you will notice differences in your lives. Friends and colleagues definitely notice a change though they can’t always articulate it.
One last thing I want to add, when we meditate we find our calm center and from this center we can handle anything that comes our way. The more we spend time in this center, the more use we are in the world. When we help others from our center we remain detached with compassion, don’t get caught up in drama or dysfunctional situations. The more we meditate the less we find ourselves clinging to the past or projecting into to the future. We live more in the now and that’s where true magic occurs.
Sonia Choquette on meditation: