Meditation: Cool Tool #52

I can’t believe I left mediation to last in the 52 Cool Tools series.

woman meditating

 

It’s one of my most treasured daily tools. That’s part of what makes it so hard to write a

bout.

That and the thousands of ways you can practice meditation.

 Is Your Meditating Device Broken?

I hear people say they’re not good at meditating. They’re either not sure how to go about it. Or they’re tried and they just can’t get their mind to focus.

I also struggled with meditation. It didn’t come easily. My mind moved. And moved. And moved.

One weekend back in the late 80’s I went to a weekend retreat somewhere in Ohio.. The meditation teacher devoted a lot of time to questions. Here’s some of what I learned from her. (Unfortunately I don’t know her name. Heck, I can’t even remember what city it was near.) 

  1. Set aside a regular time for meditation. With a regular time it becomes a habit. With repetition your body and mind start to understand what you expect. Giving meditation a dedicated times says it’s important.
  2.  Set aside a regular place. I claimed a space in my home. Then I added a few items that felt sacred to me, as well as a blanket and eye bag. Now I don’t have to think about where to be. I just head to my spot. Plus the energy of meditating in a space shifts the vibration of that space making it easier to meditate there.

 Achieving a Quiet Mind, Not!

One of my former yoga students used to attend silent retreats. The other students were curious and a little in awe. They belonged to the “I tried to meditate and it didn’t work for me” school.

One day someone asked him, “How do you get your mind to stop?”

The silent retreat dude laughed. “I don’t. I just aim for more and longer periods of silence.”

When I finally learned to be present with whatever happened during my meditation time I relaxed. Some days I go quickly into a deeply altered state. Some days I replay the conversation I just had. I think about an idea for an article I want to write, a class I want to teach. I make a mental to-do list.

 And still I sit.

Different strokes

I found trying various styles of meditation helpful. So many choices ranging from ancient spiritual traditions to cutting edge technology. Your best choice will depend on your goals and your personality. You can:

  • Focus on your breath.
  • Use a meditation cd like holosync or a guided visualization.
  • Chant a mantra. (A mantra is a sound, word, or phrase that you repeat.)
  • Try a moving meditation such as walking or yoga.

If you’ve tried meditation and given up I encourage you to explore other styles. I encourage you to make it part of your self care routine. 

 Why it’s now a daily part of my life

So what do I get from meditation? I feel soothed. My usually very active mind slows down. It even goes blank sometimes. I come back to my center. I connect to the divine. My problems and concerns melt away. I access the better, calmer, happier parts of me. I feel bliss and joy.

Yeah, it’s good stuff!

What’s your favorite style of meditation? Any pointers or tips to share from your experience?