With daily general hygiene, we take care of our body; however, what about our mind? We are often sooooo busy with life that we forget to take a quiet moment to reflect. Carving out quality time for yourself to sit, be still, in the silent moment, motionless (if possible) is as critical… if not more important… than taking a daily shower, brushing your teeth, etc.
If you’re anything like me, I find it incredibly difficult to slow my mind enough to meditate effectively. Well, by effectively I mean sitting still and drifting away on a mental cloud. At a centering workshop, I mentioned to my instructor that I cannot sit still long enough to mediate. She assured me, “It is not about stilling your body. It is about stilling your mind. Fidget all you want… simply let your mind slow down and drift away.” Really? A-W-E-S-O-M-E!! This gave me permission to be me and made me realize there is no perfect or correct way to mediate. There are actually several ways and the best way is the one that works for YOU!!
This fact brought me comfort, but I was still frustrated and discouraged. I told her even quieting my mind is extremely difficult. Right when I feel my mind is blank, thoughts just seem to start running around freely without any rhyme or reason. To which she responded, “If something or someone enters your mind at that time, then it is perfectly okay. The thought was meant to cross your mind at that precise moment because it has some sort of meaning. Sit with it for a while and perhaps the meaning will present itself as well. If not, then it will drift away. Let the thoughts come and go freely.”
WOW. Interesting!! With sooooo much running amuck in my mind, at a speed no one can keep up with, it all makes perfect sense … when I take the time to STOP and clear my mind then all of a sudden the important things have an opportunity to rise to the top, so I can FOCUS and pay them proper attention!! Ahhhhh, okay. Now, I get it.
Prayer is a way to talk to God. Meditation is opening yourself up to a higher power… allowing God to speak to you. You turn to God and God turns to you. The God source is within. He is no place else. He is within. You are coming to grips with yourself during the quiet moments. God is within you. Ask. Believe. Receive. Listen to your instinct. Trust it.
When it comes to this topic… I’m no expert and I wouldn’t even put me in the novice category (ha!). I’m more curious than anything, but here are a few of the things I’ve found along my exploration thus far…
For those just starting down the meditation path, breathing exercises are a quick and simple place to start. Take a deep cleansing breath through your nose. Feel your lungs open and expand. Then breathe out forcefully. Make a sound when you breathe out. Envision the positive coming in as you take your deep breath… hold it for a bit as to absorb every single ounce of the positive energy, then RELEASE all the negative with your exhale.
Again, envision all your stresses, worries and negative energy leaving your body as you push the air out. If you’re a visual person then as you inhale imagine a clean, white steam full of nutrient rich oxygen entering your body as you take in the air and then when you exhale imagine a dark, gritty smoke full of worry, pain, grief and strife leaving your body. Repeat this deep breathing exercise for a few minutes or more, if needed.
Some people find mediating easier if they do it in water (while swimming or taking a bath). Others combine meditation with a rhythmic exercise like walking, running, or while simply outside with nature sitting on a park bench – all are an escape from the everyday routine. Have you ever noticed when you’re driving and you zone out and all of a sudden you’re unsure how you got from point A to point Z because you cannot remember a thing? If so, you were in a meditative trance-like state during that time… so IT IS POSSIBLE! Start by taking a walk in a familiar area and let your mind calm down and unwind.
Often our mind shuts down when we are doing things we do daily… so if standing over the sink, hand washing your dishes is your thing, then let your mind drift into meditation while you’re doing this or other chores. It is a misnomer that you have to SIT STILL or listen to classical music to meditate. Do what works for you. Hell, I cannot sit still to save my life. It is about quieting your mind… not your body!!! If you can do both? Well, that is a BONUS!!
No matter what form of meditation you try, there are CDs which provide calming music for meditation. It is nice to put on a CD and simply listen to the instructor guide you or instruct you to breath in a certain pattern or simply aid you in techniques to center your mind. Many put the CD on right before bed and let the words seep into their subconscious while they sleep. This works too. Even while sleeping it all seeps in…
For me, I like to get up a little early… make a cup of coffee and sit on my couch in the dark with the morning light filtering through my balcony blinds. While sipping my coffee, eating my breakfast, and taking my vitamins I let my mind drift. I sit in the silence without my iPhone, TV, or laptop that are so much a part of the remainder of my day. I ponder what goals I want to accomplish throughout the day, how I want to feel (happy, radiant, optimistic, productive…), and things I want to do. In essence, “I order up my day” as Oprah has called it. At first I would get up after 10 minutes. Now? I find I’m still sitting on my couch 30 to even 45 minutes later. Sometimes I close my eyes. Sometimes I don’t. If an idea for a blog pops into my head, then and only then, will I grab something to jot down my ideas before I lose them. I have discovered I get my best thoughts and ideas while surrendering to the stillness!
Spending time by yourself may seem overwhelming, yet is it one of the best gifts you can give yourself. Enjoy the silence. Like me, many others start their day in solitude, in stillness, in meditation. Pick a time that works for you. Maybe your preferred time is during lunch, so you can refresh, or perhaps you prefer right before you go to bed. Whatever time you select… Sit. Quiet. Rest your mind. Soak in the relaxation. Let your mind wander. No matter what time of day you practice the mind-body connection or what type of practice you select… you cannot go wrong with providing your mind the daily TLC it needs to stay healthy and vibrant!!
© Renae Rossman and Candy Coated Reality™