I would like to start this post with one of my favorite poems from Jack Kerouac entitled ‘How to Meditate’,
fall, hands a-clasped, into instantaneous
ecstasy like a shot of heroin or morphine,
the gland inside of my brain discharging
the good glad fluid (Holy Fluid) as
i hap-down and hold all my body parts
down to a deadstop trance-Healing
all my sicknesses-erasing all-not
even the shred of a ‘I-hope-you’ or a
Loony Balloon left in it, but the mind
blank, serene, thoughtless. When a thought
comes a-springing from afar with its held-
forth figure of image, you spoof it out,
you spuff it off, you fake it, and
it fades, and thought never comes-and
with joy you realize for the first time
‘thinking’s just like not thinking-
So I don’t have to think
Meditation is the utmost essential ingredient to living a life Divine. If you are reading my blog then I believe you are, most certainly, walking a Spiritual path. One that is messy and confusing and at times quite daunting. But, rest assured it is for a greater purpose. One that I believe in and see for you already. One that I trust in for you. In order to get to the bottom of what it is that you are truly seeking, a healthy and complete relationship within yourself and with the God/Goddess/Spirit within you, YOU HAVE GOT TO MEDITATE. And I will say it again, YOU MUST MEDITATE. When people come to me with questions about their own spirituality the first thing I prescribe is meditation- 2x a day for at least 3 minutes in the morning and evening, if that is where they feel most comfortable beginning. It is imperative not only to meditate, but also that I help set people up for success and not failure. That I don’t recommend something that could potentially be another opportunity for this person to shame or use this shortcoming (not meditating longer) against themselves.
There are many ways to meditate, sometimes too many. And, there are many misconceptions about meditation. I can only share my understanding, so take what resonates and leave the rest here.
MEDITATION IS :
-A quieting of the mind
-A time to rest in stillness
–At times- an observation of the monkey mind
-An act of self love
-A space where we come time find clarity and peace
-A space where we come to shed what no longer serves us
-A space where we come to learn who we really are and what our truest hearts desire is
-A PRACTICE – something that takes time to master and can vary greatly from day to day
– A time of gentleness
-A time of grace
Meditation, according to me :), is where we go to connect to our true selves. It is a practice, and the states of consciousness that we may have access to vary from day to day, moment to moment. If you practice yoga you know that this is true in our physical practice- depending on how we slept, what we ate, our current life circumstances, etc.. our body can be different from day to day and the same is true in our meditation practice. No two sits are the same. Sometimes for me, the moment I close my eyes for meditation I enter into a realm of total peace and stillness, and there are other times when I have to keep coming back to my breath or my mantra or just simply allow the monkey mind to have its moment. Regardless of what is going on, this practice is something that I am committed to and rely on for my continuing Spiritual growth, connection to my Highest self, and my overall well being. It is as vital to me as brushing my teeth, maybe even more like drinking water and breathing.
MEDITATION IS NOT:
-A quick fix
-A space to beat yourself up because your mind won’t shut up
-A time for us to live out our need for perfectionism
-Something that comes naturally
-A space where complete and total silence is needed each time
Meditation is not, according to me:), something that is easy or that at first feels natural. In fact, it is the opposite. At first it is hard and feels unnatural, like this is not something someone should do, ever. ;-). At first it can actually be painful. And, if you are like me, you will want to give up before you feel any of the true benefits because a) you feel like you aren’t doing it perfectly- so you’d rather not do it at all and b)because it’s taking too long- both of these frustrations are actually lessened and resolved with more meditation. Meditation is not meant to be perfect. How the heck do you really expect for your mind to be completely quiet and this warm overwhelming morphine like sensation to overcome your senses when you’ve only been meditating for three days?!!? I know that we have grown up in a society where instant gratification is everything and quick results matters, but I encourage you to leave this mindset behind when you begin (AND YOU MUST BEGIN) your meditation practice. Instead, invite in a mindset of simplicity and gentleness. Patience and trust.
HOW TO MEDITATE
Begin by finding a spot where you will not be distracted. If you feel called you can light a candle and add a touch of softness or incorporate something that is sacred to you- maybe a crystal or a mala, a picture of a loved one, or a flower. If you would like, you can set a timer with a soft alert- beginning with a time period that sounds extremely doable for you! Once you have set your timer and have chosen a spot for your practice find a comfortable seat. I always sit on a cushion and cover my shoulders with a scarf. You want to be comfortable, you will be sitting still for some time. Find a comfortable seat with spine erect, but not straining. You want your spine in line with the sacrum. Hands can be placed gently on the knees or thighs palms facing up or down. Palms up is a gesture of receiving- and is great for those of us who give a lot. Palms resting down are a gesture of grounding and are good for us who are feeling like we need more balance. Softly close the eyes and if it is comfortable bring your inner gaze to the midpoint between your eyebrows. Begin your meditation by allowing your entire body to relax (paying extra attention to the neck, shoulders, and jaw) and taking a few deep breaths down into your belly so that it gently expands and exhaling so that it gently contracts. Do a few rounds of this breathing as you settle into your meditation. See if you can bring your full awareness to nothing but your breath- the cool air coming in and the warm air coming out. It is sometimes nice to have a mantra to rest your awareness on, especially on days when the mind is more active, or if you are just new to meditation. One that I love to you is Om Mani Padme Hum (meaning found here– when I use a mantra I try not to look to much into the meaning and instead I allow the energies that are held in the words and vibrations to do the work- I use the mantra as a place to rest my awareness). Allow the softness of your breath, the relaxation in your body, and the calm of the moment to wash over you. For the next few moments you have nothing to do but rest in this space. When thoughts arise, and they will, sweetly let them go and bring a light focus back to the breath or your mantra. You never want to be focusing too hard on any one thing. Think loose, flowing, light, peaceful, and gentle. In meditation we aim to touch these aspects of our self that are usually swept aside during the business of our day. Continue this cycle of coming back to the moment and allowing yourself to just be still in the sacredness of your own being. When the timer alerts you, bring your hands in front of your heart, give yourself gratitude for taking care of yourself in this new and beautiful way, with eyes still closed rub the palms of your hands together quickly, creating some heat, and softly cover your eyes before you flutter them open and remove your palms. Notice how you feel, in your body, in your breath, in your mind. Try not to escape back into your cellphone, but bring this calm and restored energy into the next activity for as long as you can. One really great app to try is called Headspace. You can give that a try if meditating on your own is too difficult.
I am always here if you have questions on meditation, if you would like recommendations on mantras to use, if you would like to book an appointment for a private guided meditation, meditation classes, or meditation workshops, or if you would like some Spiritual guidance.
It is my honor to be of service in this way I hope you enjoyed this post Sat Nam