“I’m simply saying that there is a way to be sane. I’m saying that you can
get rid of all this insanity created by the past in you. Just by being a simple
witness of your thought processes.
It is simply sitting silently, witnessing the thoughts, passing before you.
Just witnessing, not interfering not even judging, because the moment you
judge you have lost the pure witness. The moment you say “this is good, this
is bad,” you have already jumped onto the thought process.
It takes a little time to create a gap between the witness and the mind. Once
the gap is there, you are in for a great suprise, that you are not the mind, that
you are the witness, A watcher.
And this process of watching is the very alchemy of real religion. Because as
you become more and more deeply rooted in witnessing, thoughts start
disappearing. You are, but the mind is utterly empty.
That’s the moment of enlightenment. That is the moment that you become for
the first time an unconditioned, sane, really free human being.”
Thank you for all the feedback I received on my previous post, “6 Reasons Why I Resisted Meditation And Why It Liberates Me Now”! Many patients found it helpful, and the post created dialogue on their need to connect with their own mindfulness through meditation. I was amazed to hear some of their stories – some had actually studied Transcendental Meditation (check out more about it here), had done their puja (ceremony/ritual in which they’d received their personal mantras [mantras are words or sounds repeated to aid concentration in meditation]), but had “fallen off the wagon” and weren’t sure how to start again. Others found the idea of meditation enticing, yet found it frustrating on how to even start. In the last post, I focused on the mental blocks people may have towards meditation (including some myths I, myself, believed for a time.) In this post, I continue focusing on the subject of meditation by relaying the benefits of it, as well as numerous ways to bring it into your life! Hold onto your hats, folks, because I’ve got a chock full of tools for you, ahead!
Do you tend to overthink, obsess, let your imagination run away with you when it comes to your worries, make mountains out of molehills in your head, contemplate on issues so much it puts you in a frenzy? Don’t be ashamed to admit it! I’ve been there, and many people have been, too (and still are.) My anxiety was bad enough at one point that it kept me up until the wee hours of the morning, so much so that I was able to watch the next day’s morning news! Me and Time Warner Cable were inseparable, fused like some disturbing WonderTwin pairing. Not my idea of fun. (I will explore insomnia in a future blog post.) So, how do you slow down the mind when you are faced with upsetting news, disappointments, things that anger you, things out of your control, tragedy, or when that broken record in your head plays outdated beliefs? One powerful way is through meditation.
According to psychologytoday.com, mayoclinic.com, and ineedmotivation.com, the following are only some of the benefits of meditation:
- Reduces pain and enhances the body’s immune system.
- Reduces feelings of depression, anxiety, anger and confusion.
- Increases blood flow and slows the heart rate.
- Provides a sense of calm, peace and balance.
- Helps reverse heart disease.
- Helps control thoughts.
- Increases energy.
- Reduces stress.
I would personally add to that list:
- Glowing skin!
- Confidence to deal with difficult situations.
- A sense of feeling interconnected with others and universal energy.
- True connection to oneself (as wonderful or as ugly as it is in that particular moment.)
- Allows you to surrender your control issues.
- Allows you easier connection to your Spirit Guides, Angels, and Ancestors (you have access to them any time you wish, but your line to them has “less static” during medtitation)
For me, I definitely found solace in meditation, and all the above applied towards regaining my sanity (and my body) back. Because nothing is more annoying that feeling like your mind, body, and spirit has been hijacked by the equivalent of the mental “noid” that likes to reiterate lower vibrational thinking and disempowering thoughts, further spinning you into the black hole of “How in tarnations do I even deal with all of this?”
When you get overwhelmed, first thing you do is understand that even though life can be complicated, the way you can approach it can be remarkably simple. Question the truth of whether or not the situation is truly unmanageable. Get to the basics of acknowledging what a rad, deserving, wonderful being you are, and that before all the mumbo jumbo of the world started to complicate your thoughts, you were always light and love. Period.
But it doesn’t end there. Bring that oneness into yourself, the mindfulness of understanding the REAL truth – not the chaos of the world, the aggravating coworker or boss, the financial situation that fell through, your worries based on your accomplishments, and your worries of how they are perceived by others – but the truth that you are taken care of by the universe, no matter how dire your situation is, that once you welcome in the possibility of light into your life, things flow exactly as they should. Because, when it comes down to it, everything is exactly as it should be, and you are exactly where you need to be right now. And meditation helps you feel in your very core that focusing on the past or the future does not serve you (because, well, it doesn’t!) What does serve you is being present and mindful. And meditation gets you in touch with that knowledge as quick as a laser beam, because light energy travels in split seconds, and can go through any medium. It’ll quickly go to where it needs to go, and even if you’re not Buddha-esque, you will feel the difference in how you interact with yourself and others. And the more you do it, the more cumulative the effects will be. Kind of like Acupuncture and Reiki treatments!
So, how to start, or how to begin again once you’ve fallen off the meditation wagon? In the words of my father, who’s Yoda moments have graced span and time, and, in this case, resembled a Nike ad, “Don’t think. Just do.” This is such a great phrase, that I wrote a previous blog post on it, “Don’t Think, Just Do”: On Trusting Yourself“.
For those just starting to meditate, you can try using a timer for 5-10 minutes. As you feel more comfortable, you can increase the time to 20 minutes, and so on. Or you can just stay at 10 minutes. Whatever allows you to get your “You” time in! You may also want to ditch the timer, and see how your meditation unfolds. Me, personally, I don’t like timers, and enjoy allowing myself a full hour to get into my groove!
The following is in no way a comprehensive list of how to meditate, but just a good list to explore what may work for you. I can vouch for them, as well, since I’ve found benefit from all of these methods! Try one, or all of them, and see what fits best. As for how to position yourself, as I mentioned in the previous post, it doesn’t matter what position you meditate in, just do it in a way that feels comfortable! If lotus position is your thing, great, but you can also choose to sit in a regular chair, sit on a plump upholstered chair, sit on the sofa, sit on meditation pillows/benches, lay on the bed, lay on a mat, lay in the grass in a park (although you should choose a place where frisbees and dogs won’t be cross-secting into your airspace!) Many of my patients take the opportunity during an Acupuncture or Reiki session to empty their mental baggage, create a space of mindfulness, or meditate in their own way. And if you need the benefits of meditation, and don’t have the leisure to position yourself as above, such as when you’re at work, on the subway, or in the car, you can still steal a moment for yourself (when I used to work for certain day jobs, I stole my meditation moments in the bathroom, it was a great picker-upper and reminder that I was not my grind!)
14 Ways To Get Your Meditative Groove On
- Open The Crown Chakra Of Your Head – The Crown Chakra is located on the top of your head, and is right where Acupuncturists find the point, DU 20. Imagine your Crown Chakra opening, revealing pure white light, connecting yourself to the Powers That Be/Universe/God/dess. Your Crown Chakra is your connection to the Divine. By emptying your thoughts and opening your Crown Chakra, you connect with the Divine and Your Higher Self. This is a great method to use when you feel particularly cut off from the universe, are feeling blocked in connection with it, or sense that you are disconnected. Don’t be surprised if you start getting some great ideas as a result of this type of meditation!
- Breathe – Yes. That’s it. Breathe. Revel in the amazement of your body’s natural and impulsive act to keep breath in your body, to nourish your organs, sinews, muscles, bones, cells, and brain. Inhale, through your nose, filling your navel with air. Exhale through your mouth. Notice your ribcage rising and falling with each breath. Do this 3 times to start off a meditation, or do this gently and continuously for 5-10 minutes. Sounds simplistic, but it does the trick, and there are even many ways to mindfully breathe. This can start your meditation, or be one in itself. One favorite modification of this method is when you inhale, state “I am love and light”, and upon exhale, state “I release fear” or “Relax”. And you can play with which words to use to best empower yourself in a particular situation.
- Empty Your Mind – Here is where the “Don’t think. Just do.” phrase comes in handy. Don’t overthink it, just allow all of your worries and thoughts to release out of your brain, like steam releasing from your ears. In one modification of this method, I sometimes like to visualize a broom sweeping out the cobwebs in my thoughts, brushing away distractions and lower vibrations. I also envision the broom literally brushing the debris aside in little tufts of smoke. Can you tell I used to watch a lot of cartoons as a kid? (Actually, I still enjoy them!)
- Ask A Question – When you’ve got a pressing question, get comfortable, present the question, and then wait. Yes, you multitaskers out there, I said wait. Before you say, “Wait? How long do I wait? Till the cows come home?” In fact, cows are not coming home, and you will survive surrendering to the stillness! Try it for maybe 5-10 minutes if the idea seems too daunting. See what occurs. You may get an answer. If you don’t get one during that specific meditation, understand that your answer is yet to come in the right time. But, if you can tune in, you will get at least a direction in which way to move with your query.
- Meditate On A Candle – If you like visuals, it may be helpful to empty your mind using a lit candle. Take a white candle (to help purify your thoughts), light it, set the intention to release your thoughts, and focus solely on the candle flame. Watch the flame bend, sway, flicker, move. Observe the colors of the flame – is it mostly yellow? Does the center have red, or orange? Are any thoughts or feelings arising out of this focus on the flame?
- Body Scan – This can be as long or as short as you want it to be. A longer body scan is helpful when trying to get yourself to sleep at night, a shorter “check in” with yourself at the beginning of your day is helpful for getting in touch with what your body is telling you. During a shorter body scan, tune into your body and see if any parts are “speaking” to you – Is the area above your navel whirling about? Does your heart ache? Do you feel sadness or anger? If so, where? Are you experiencing tension, and if so, where? The more you do this, the better you get at pinpointing with laser clarity what your body is feeling. If you are sensing discomfort in an area, sit with that for a while. I know, that sounds as much fun as a hole in the head, but believe me, this works! This is mindfulness, just observing what your body is telling you, without judging it, running from it, or charging towards it. Sit with the sensation until it passes, because it will.
- Walk/Run/Exercise – This can range from a light stroll on the sidewalk, to a full out run, to a full fledged workout (which can be as gentle or as vigorous as you’d like it to be.) Physical activity gets the blood going, and releasing endorphins assists in bringing you into a meditative state of calm. The repetition of movement and engaging the body actively can definitely bring you to a more relaxed state.
- Send Love To Yourself – You can either ask the universe to send love towards you, that it flows through you, and from you, or simply say, “I send love to myself”, and envision each blood cell in your body becoming more vibrant, energized with the juicy light and love you’ve sent it.
- Hold A Crystal – Crystals are powerful tools to help you achieve certain goals, or to assist you in manifesting positive states. Holding a meaningful crystal that serves your needs can help you go deeper into your meditation. If you’re working on love (self-love or love towards others), Rose Quartz is an excellent crystal to hold in your hand and use during meditation! It embues your essence with love frequency. There are many crystals for many purposes. Have one in mind but not sure about which crystal may work best for your situation? Drop me a line! And always remember to cleanse and purify your crystal with sage before use (because you don’t know where it’s been before it landed in your hands!)
- Open Your Senses – To get in touch with your senses, which is an especially good thing to practice when you’re feeling closed off from yourself, meditate on your senses. Feel the material that you’re sitting or laying on (is it hard? soft? have a texture?), listen to the ambient sounds (are there distant car horns nearby? the clacking of someone’s shoes outside? people conversing? nothing?), smell what is around you (is it pleasant? unpleasant? what does it remind you of?), what is your skin feeling from the atmosphere in the room or space you’re in (is it damp? dry? heavy? warm?), and notice what you see around you (furniture, the angle of the ceiling, the clouds in the sky, the placement of windows.)
- Self-Healing Energy – There are many forms of energy healing out there. I practice Reiki. Energy healing is a wonderful modality to meditate with, because you can send healing to yourself and to others! I incorporate this into my meditations daily, so that by the time you come in for a Reiki treatment that day, my mojo is ready to go-go! Interested in learning more about how to do it? There are many ways to learn. I blogged about my personal Reiki journey in the post, “From Hawaii to Queens: My Reiki Journey Towards Healing”.
- Binaural Beats – They are “auditory processing artifacts, or apparent sounds, the perception of which arises in the brain for specific physical stimuli. This effect was discovered in 1839 by Heinrich Wilhelm Dove, and earned greater public awareness in the late 20th century based on claims that binaural beats could help induce relaxation, meditation, creativity and other desirable mental states.” They tap into the delta, theta, alpha, beta, or gamma range of brainwave frequencies, so it helps you work on specific frequencies (there are some that will range the gamut.)
- Guided Meditations – These are recordings that actually guide you through meditations, and can be particularly helpful when you feel you need a little extra guidance. There are many great recordings out there, and there are apps for them, as well! iRelax is a good app. There are also some great videos on YouTube to meditate to.
- Write – Writing can also be a meditation. Working out thoughts in your head, emptying them on paper. And if you are so inclined, you can either do some free writing (writing without a premise, and just continuously writing until your time alloted is up, use a 10 minute timer on this), or create poetry. Be present as you take that pen (or keyboard) to express where you’re at, to release your thoughts.
As I said, these are only a few of the ways you can meditate, the list is limitless. There are many more methods that I personally use, and that work for others, but that could take up an entire book! Mix and match for yourself!
My Number One recommendation to you as you carve out your personal meditation journey? Be patient with yourself! It takes time to get the hang of what kind of meditation resonates with you best. And when your mind begins to wander (because, it will!), instead of mentally flagellating yourself, gently bring yourself back to the stillness. It’s called a practice for a reason!
How do you like to meditate? Let me know by leaving a comment, below!
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