Meditation “Practice”

For years I have been attempting to perfect my meditation practice. I have tried several different types of mediation: Buddhist, Kundalini, walking, guided, yoga Nidra, etc. After all of these I have still felt like an amateur when I sit on my cushion. This morning I realized, it is “practice”. I don’t have to be perfect at it. There are days when I sit on my cushion and the 20 minutes passes easily with myself in the zone. There are other days when I check my timer, twice, sure I must have forgotten to start it. Some days I sit and spend the whole 20 minute thinking. Other days I am listening to the sounds in the house. It does not have to be perfect to be beneficial. I just have to keep practicing.

Some of the helpful things I have learned about mediation are:

  • We only get upset at noises we think we should be able to control. We don’t get upset at birds or wind, but family members or our pets, we think should stay quiet for us. Meditation is about being able to still quiet our mind despite someone doing the dishes, watching TV, or barking at the delivery driver.
  • The mind will think, that is what it does. It is not my job to stop it from thinking but rather to notice that it is thinking. Meditation helps us be aware of how our mind works and to notice what it is doing. By practicing with it, in a calm environment, we better understand it and can notice what it is doing in stressful situations.
  • Giving the mind something to do can help you meditate. Kundalini meditations, involve chanting mantras and sometimes performing certain movements. This can be very helpful because the mind is busy focusing on the mantra and/or the movement. It allows you to get to the mediative space.
  • No one is good at mediation when they first start doing it. It takes practice and commitment. “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.”
  • For all the imperfect meditations I have, the ones that work are worth all the ones that don’t.
  • You have to find the mediation that is right for you. I have had amazing experiences with many different types of mediation but my favorite is sitting silent mediation. It is not necessarily the easiest but it is the one that I have the riches experiences with.
  • There are many layers to your mind. I have identified a thinker, a narrater (who thinks they have to tell me what I am doing and what I am thinking like I am not there experiencing it), there is a watcher, a judge (who scold when it thinks I am not doing it right), and back behind all these other layers, somewhere deep within, is me.
  • Making a nonnegotiable habit makes it much easier. I get up in the morning and I mediate for 20 minutes every day. There is no option to do it later. When I get up, it is time. I go and sit.
  • I feel more ground, connected, and at peace now that I have established a meditative practice.
  • Meditating daily helps with other commitments. I know that a temptation will pass and am better able to stick to my other self-care initiatives.

If you have ever considered doing mediation, do it! It is worth it. Be gentle with yourself. Practice is practice. Anything else you were practicing you would not expect yourself to be perfect. Let meditation have the same grace. Notice that the mind is thinking and come back to your breath, your mantra, or focusing on the flicker of a candle flame. Be willing to experiment with different types of mediation till you find the one that works for you. Wether you have a deep experience during mediation, you find it easier to pass on the candy bowl, or you notice how you are reacting in a stressful situation, you will know that the effort of your practice has been worth it.

Thank you for reading my blog today. May you find the perfect way to make meditation a beautiful part of your self-care practices. You are worth it.

Other blogs on Meditation:

9 Ways to Improve Mediation

Mediations: A Beautiful Experience

7 Mediation Myths

11 Types of Meditation

There is an App for That: A review of Mediation Apps

Busy for the Sake of Busyness

Do you ever feel like you are doing something just to be busy? Is it hard to find time to be still? This is definitely something I struggle with. On a nice day I will plan to go spend time outside in the hammock or on the Adirondack chair. I will get myself ready with a cup of tea and maybe bring a book or journal and plan to spend some peaceful time just relaxing. After about 10 minutes (if I make it that long) I will no longer be able to ignore all of the things that need to be done, that are jumping around in my head. I will get up and get busy getting something done. Am I doing things just for the sake of doing something? Why do I feel there is no value in resting and being quiet?

This is one of the things I appreciate about my trips to the BWCA with my Adventure Sister Emy. There were times when it was raining and there was nothing that needed to be done. We would sit under our tarp, listening to the rain, drinking tea and chat. After a couple of hours of this, there would be nothing more to talk or even journal about. All that was left was to sit peacefully and just be. Even in this beautiful, remote area this was very hard for me. I would feel anxious but then typically have a  bout of anxiety, followed by some kind of emotional breakthrough. Almost as if my subconscious was trying to protect me from the pain. As if it was trying to keep it pushed down deep inside and hidden away. I would get anxious and feel the need to do something, anything, rather than just sit peacefully and rest. There were times this feeling of anxiousness was so strong I felt I wanted to leave the Boundary Waters all together. Once I got past the anxiety though, a rush of bare emotions would flood up in me. These were not fun emotions but, by allowing them to come up, I was able to process them and eventually move past them.

This begs the question; is the constant busyness of our time really just a manifestation of emotional disconnect. When I have free time at home I am seldom able to just be quiet and let time pass. I always feel the need to be multitasking. When I am on the plane or the bus to the rental car center, I seldom just sit peacefully. Typically I am scanning emails or playing silly games on my phone. I heard Deepak recently refer to it as the “illusion we are doing something”. Why do we feel guilty when we do nothing? How often does this really happen? Even when we relax, it is typically in front of the TV. Take a look at your life and see if (like me) you find that you are always doing something.

So all of this begs the other question; how do we change it? It is safe to sit peacefully and do nothing sometimes? Is it even honorable? How do we get there? Currently I am trying meditation. I feel it helps me see that it is healthy for me to spend sometime quietly, just feeling the rise and fall of my chest while I breathe. I hope that from meditation I can move to a place where I can sit in quiet contemplation. It was so powerful when it happened organically, as it did, in the BWCA. Even having the chance for a once a year retreat to allow for some quiet, seems like an excellent idea. I certainly do not have all the answers here. In many ways this question is as individualized as we all are. There is power and awe in those quiet moments. They are worth looking for and fighting to protect.

Thank you for reading my blog today! I love you! May you find many peaceful moments throughout your life, as if by magic.

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Guidance

I have a vacation looming. A time when I will be all alone in the forest. A magical dance for me with the Fea Folk and Nature Spirits. I am so looking forward to getting off the grid, out of my head, and away from responsibilities. I will have a glorious time, in nature, away from any commitment except to myself. Doesn’t that sound glorious!

When this vacation started to grow near, I started thinking of all the things I could ‘use” the time for. Finishing my Wellness Coaching Certificate, blogging, writing additional chapters for our books. The list was lengthy and growing.  It would be easy to fill my days alone with “to do’s”. There is a monthly group I facilitate here in the Twin Cities (If you are interested in attending, message me and I will give you the details).  This group is to help people explore their intuitive gifts, find a community of like minded souls, and enjoy be authentically who they truly are without judgment. It was at this group that I asked a question for guidance. I told the group I have this blessed time coming, where I will be alone and have time for myself. I will have the space to do whatever I need. The space to be completely free of responsibility to another living soul. I let them know my “to do” list as rapidly growing with things I could “check off” my list as done.  I asked for guidance as to how to spend the time.

I must tell you, that I feel even the question itself was divinely guided. I do not remember feeling conflicted about how to spend the time, only glad to have the time and space. We had extra time at the end of the group and I wanted to allow the group one final opportunity for practice. No other questions were raised so I asked. The guidance, I received, was unanimous. Do not work on a “to do” list. No blogging, no journalling, do not study, do not busy yourself with stuff. BE quiet. Walk/hike, kayak (slowly), sit in peace with nature, meditate, float, and just allow time and space.  I guess I was surprised at one level and not surprised at another level. I would not have asked the question if I felt the direction of my “to do” list was where I was supposed to go with this blessed time. I am, however, a person who is driven. I like to use every little bit of time productively and not “waste” it.

Ah ha! There lies the Truth! Time spent in the Now, with your True Self, is never wasted. I realize that I feel if I am not checking something else off the list as done, I feel I have not really been productive. In reality, what could be more productive than living in the now, finding my Joy, just being with me? How is it I have not been able to see in the past, really see and appreciate, the honor and the gifts of Time and Space to just Be? It is in this time and space I will be free to really and honestly experience God. To feel and become Aware of my connection and integration, into the Collective Consciousness.

I feel blessed for these wise Eternal souls in my life. I appreciate their Bravery to be a part of the group and to give their nonjudgemental Guidance. Thank you to all who channeled this advice for me, I Appreciate you!

Thank you for reading my blog today. I wish you a lifetime of clear Guidance and Blessed Friends, as if by magic.

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“Week 7” check in – Weekly Meditation Adventure

If you have not already joined our 90 day meditation adventure, I hope you will still do so. Here’s how week seven went for me.

What I have learned: I have learned that if you wait for the ideal time to meditate it might never come. Sometimes you have to meditate in the midsts of everything that is going on around you. In the image (above) on this blog I was at the lake with my grandchildren. It was nonstop talking and action. There was no quiet moment to sneak away. My infant grandson was happy to sit next to me while I meditated and my 4 year old granddaughter was intrigued enough with the process; that she decided to sit down and try it. She didn’t stay long but long enough that I was able to get my meditation in even with all of the activity around me. 

Experiences during the week: Sitting outside, while practicing meditation, was delightful. The sound of the birds, the feel of the breeze on my skin, and the warmth of the Sun with the smell of the grass, all served to enhance my experience. This has been my best week of meditation since the challenge began. I have stuck to my Kundalini Yoga mediations as my preferred technique. I find that it really helps me keep my focus. I still have a mind that wanders from time to time but the combination of mantra, mudras (hand positions), and intention; really improves my experience and decreases my frustration.

My weight: I weighed myself on Friday morning and I lost 0.6lbs since the last time I weighed about 10 days before. Could this be a reflection of really getting into the grove and having a commitment of daily meditation? I would like to believe so. 

How I feel: I feel proud of keeping my commitment to myself and completing daily meditations this week. There were even a couple of days that I got in 2 daily meditations. I feel a deep sense of calm on the days when I meditate in the morning and the evening. I plan to make this the goal for the next week. 

How it is affecting my life: This week the daily meditation enhanced my life. While on the road I made it a point to do meditation in the morning before leaving the hotel room. I feel my thoughts are clearer and my calm stays with me more often throughout the day. I find that I am less stressed by the idea of daily meditation. Where the previous week, it was something that was on my “to do” list, this week it was something I looked forward to. I feel that this shift in my daily meditation experience has the potential to make sustainable improvement in my life.

I would love to hear your experiences with this. Have you found your preferred meditation style? Do you have a preferred meditation space?

Thank you for reading my blog today. I wish you a lifetime of finding the perfect time even when not sure there is a perfect time to meditate.

Previous meditation blogs by the Adventure Sisters: Join Us on This AdventureMeditate the weight away?9 ways to improve meditation, Meditation contemplations, There’s an App for That: A review of meditation Apps7 Common Meditation Myths11 Types of Meditation 

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5 Hints to Find Peace in a Noisy World

I am in the airport waiting for my next flight. There is music playing over the speaker system, airpot announcements, a man talking on his cell phone, a TV playing the news, a women watching something on her iPad, people chatting, someones cell phone ringing, and the electric cart zipping around making its beeping noise to warn unobservant travelers. Have you ever noticed how much noise seems to be around us all the time? At night I like to sleep with a fan because it’s noise downs out some of the other noise. So how can we find peace in a world that is always buzzing and beeping?
1. Recognize that peace lives inside of us. This may be easier said than done. If you choose to focus inward, the busy world can fad into the background.
2. Use ear buds to listen to something of your choosing or white noise to block out other distractions. I like to match music to my mood: Yoga music for meditation, Running playlist to get things done and “how I feel” playlist music when I am more emotional. If you have your playlists set, you are always ready to tune out the outside.
3. Understand that even in a quiet forest there is noise. It is just noise we find more acceptable. When we think we can make the noise stop, we feel frustrated when we can’t. By understanding that noise just is, and we have no control over it, we fight against it less. After all, “What we resist persists” ~ Carl Jung.
4. Use Mantra. Repeating a mantra silently in your head can help you go within and stop noticing all the exterior noises. In Kundalini Yoga we use Sat Nam, which means I am truth. You can use any mantra that works for you. Even the name of Jesus or a favorite saint or goddess can be used.
5. Exercise! Working up a sweat will help you find that inner peace and sweat out your demons. Whether you are a runner, walker, biker, or dancer you can use moving your body, as a way to feel better and find inner peace.
I hope you have good luck finding your inner peace today. Happy Monday and Peace to you!
What do you do to find quiet in a noisy world? What suggestions do you have for others who are distracted by the noisy world around them?

Thank you for reading my blog today! I wish you a day of peace and as productive as you would like it to be.

 

 

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