What Is Meditation?

Meditation is not just for those of us with spiritual aspirations, but benefits absolutely everybody! That being said, meditation is profoundly simple and yet exceptionally difficult too. Meditation is essentially the practice of training your attention away from the very compelling, hyper-active, indiscriminate, entertaining, often terrifying chaos of our every day mind and directing it toward the simplicity of a single point of focus, generally something peaceful like the breath, a mantra (a repetitive word/phrase that inspires you), a candle, visualization, etc…

Why Should I Bother?

Because the pandemonium of the mind is the root of all of our troubles. The mind is essentially like the glasses through which we see the world; in other words, what we usually perceive as reality is really just a filtered version of what’s actually happening.  The tricky part is that the filter we are using is cluttered and soiled with all of our past, habits, wounds, anger, resentments, attachments, desires, ego, etc…  and yet we absolutely believe with all our hearts it’s accurate and clear. Meditation helps us to be able to see the smudges on our lenses and empowers us with the ability to do something about it.

I really could go on for days about the benefits of meditation, but essentially you’ll only get excited and invested in it once you experience them for yourself.  Here are a few benefits I’ve experienced over the years:

  • Reduced my reactivity, so that I can think before I speak or act
  • The ability to distinguish the voice of my own inner wisdom from all the chatter in my mind, so I can make better choices in my life.
  • Reveals unconscious and often harmful habits and patterns, so I can do something about them.
  • Creates balance, giving me moments of stillness in the otherwise constant movement of life
  • Technique for reducing stress and anxiety, alleviate depression, and increases my sense of well-being and happiness.
YES! I use to say that I was just some one who could not meditate because I could not stop my mind. The more I tried to stop it the more turbulent it would become. I took this as proof I couldn’t meditate. It was only a wrong approach and a misunderstanding. People often mistakenly think meditation is a special feeling of relaxation or some other altered state. It’s not about feeling a certain way; it’s about feeling the way you feel. It often doesn’t meet people’s expectations of perfect peace, so they don’t make time for it. Sometimes it will feel easier than other times, but the simple act of sitting down and committing to stillness and attempting to focus your mind (whether successful or not) is the practice and is still effective.
  • Make time for it every day. It gets easier quicker if you practice everyday, otherwise it will feel like the first time every time.
  • Start slow with 5 minutes. At some point, that won’t feel long enough so increase it to 10. Continue this progression until you get to 20 minutes or decide to go live in a cave and meditate all day.
  • Have a special place set up for it. The most important thing is to sit up tall, with “good posture” that would make your Mama proud. If you can do this sitting on the floor great, otherwise, sitting in a chair works just fine. I don’t recommend a recliner otherwise your meditation session will turn into a nap session.
  • Have a clock with a timer that works. If you don’t trust your timer, you’ll spend the whole time wondering what time it is.
  • Take 10 deep breathes before you begin to help settle you into the moment.
    State clearly that it is your intention to meditate before each session. You will inevitably get caught up in the thinking going on in your mind, setting your intention in the beginning will help you remember to get back to your meditation and save the thinking for later.
  • There is not one “right” way to meditate. There are a million meditation techniques out there; find one that suits your disposition. One of my favorite books that describes a myriad of user-friendly techniques is Wherever You Go There You Are by Jon Kabat-Zinn. Listen to the Beginners Meditation for the technique I use everyday.

Meditation for Beginners

While you are new to meditation it is helpful to have the support of a guiding voice to help you navigate your way to your own inner silence. Meditation for Beginners leads you through a 5-minute meditation, which is the perfect start to developing a daily meditation practice.

Guided Relaxation

Our body’s natural state is grounded in health and well-being. Most of our culture’s illness and disease are the result of chronic stress. Chronic stress has a direct effect on the systems of our body, such as blood pressure, heart rate, respiration and hormonal regulation. It also influences us to make unfavorable choices in terms of diet, sleep, consumption of drugs/ alcohol and other unhealthy activities on a daily basis. This Guided Relaxation is an excellent daily practice to help your body to rest and renew itself, so you can experience our body’s innate vitality and wholeness. Great idea to practice this at the end of your work day to let go of the dross of the day and transition into your personal life and relationships with greater calm and presence.

Chakra Balancing Meditation

A relaxing and healing visualization meditation using the colors of the chakras. This longer meditation will support you feeling a shift in your energy, mood and perspective. For more on the chakras, please visit my Chakra & Mala page.

Yoga Nidra

Yoga Nidra is a special kind of deep relaxation that encourages a high level of awareness and mindfulness as the body releases tension and restores itself to its optimal state of well-being. It also creates space to be able to experience and transend polarities of energy and emotions that may leave us stuck in one sidedness and conflict. Simultaneously lose your self and find your Self in this guided meditation.