November 16, 2018

Meditation – More Than Just Sitting Around Doing Nothing!

 

meditation with words pixabay

10 years ago a friend gave me a CD that launched me in a wonderful new direction: Breathing: Mastering the Key to Self-Healing.  I was intrigued by the concept of how powerful the breath can be in changing our physical, mental and emotional states.  I started reading about how meditation uses the breath to focus the mind and wondered what this Eastern practice could do for a white girl from Jersey.  I bought some meditation books and wanted to have everything that this practice seemed to offer:

  • A quieter, less distracted mind
  • An ability to be more present with others
  • A more relaxed nervous system
  • The chance to actually hear my inner voice
  • Better health
  • And the many other benefits attributed to meditation (click here)

I loved reading these books.  And I secretly hoped that I could derive the benefits without actually having to meditate.  I didn’t have the time to sit on a cushion and do NOTHING!  Nor did I want to be alone with all of the mental clamoring.

So I read a few more books, and in the meantime I continued to have trouble sleeping at night, kept getting colds, and felt stressed most of the time.

Then I saw an article in the local paper featuring the various meditation programs in the area.  OK – no more excuses.

I chose a center close to work and showed up in exercise clothes for my first class.  The instructor gave some simple guidelines for using the breath to let go of distracting thoughts and told us that a successful meditation did not require clearing the mind of all thoughts (Phew!).  Success, we were told, is when you don’t get up and leave before the bell rings.  I have to say, despite the outward simplicity of meditation – I was after all just sitting there and breathing – the whole experience was utterly exhilarating.  In the 20 or so minutes of meditation,  the monkey never stopped bouncing around in my mind, but I could tell there was something very powerful to this process.   I had hope.

And I was hooked.  Since that time I have kept up a fairly regular mediation practice and have attended a number of meditation retreats.  I sleep better, have better health, and have much more choice about the thoughts that predominate in my mind.

For those wanting to try meditation, I recommend Sharon Salzberg’s new book, Real Happiness: The Power of Meditation:  A 28-Day Program. There are practical instructions as well as an accompanying CD with four guided meditations.

Here are some tips I offer to my clients:

  • You don’t need to find 20 minutes a day to get started.
  • Beginning with even 5 minutes twice a day has benefit!
  • More important than the duration of the meditation is the practice of taking a moment to slow down, to be aware of the breath, and reconnect with yourself.
  • Taking a few minutes in your car once you arrive at your destination is an easy way to find 5 minutes for meditating.
  • If meditation seems “far-out” to you, know that it is now being taught in a number of medical schools and is used by professional athletes as well as military personnel.

Please feel free to share any of your own suggestions for finding time to meditate or simply reconnect with the present moment.

 

 

 

 

Comments

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