Mindful and Merry - My personal journey to discovering meditation.
Meditation tips, my personal experiences, yogic ideals. All cultivated on my journey to incorporate meditation into my daily routine....
Meditation has always been integrated into my life from child to adulthood.
Even before I knew what it was! I can say it's most likely the same with my siblings, as the environment we grew up in together got pretty intense....
I won't delve too far into this topic, as to protect those we love and forgive.
But I will say, through stress, we automatically start to "power-clean" ( rigorous chores non-stop) , workout, sing, or just make it important to just BE with ourselves.
To quiet all the external chaos, and find peace, within.....
At age 9, during moments of distress I would find peace walking alone around my complex,, particularly in areas full of trees and nature. Praying and talking to myself about what I wish would change or better. I found happiness swimming with friends at our community pool or playing with the quija board in my best friends closet, but I was just as content, spending time with myself - the main attraction of meditation.
I remember at 13 sitting on my grandmothers patio, where my little brother and I were sent to live, while my family worked on relocating back to California from Reno. I sat there, closed my eyes and just listened to the wind.
This realization of this truth, and all other truths, can only come to us when the mind and senses are still and steady. This is the only way to make decisions with full clarity and not off any emotions or irrational thoughts. " The same dissipated rays of the mind that we use for external satisfaction can be used to focus inward, to illuminate the unknown." (Swami Vishnudevananda) channeling different corners of our mind we don't usually seek out. Your body is the temple for your living spirit. Through my yoga teacher training, I've learned that in order to purify the mind, you must first purify the body. I've learned and experienced this personally and its why I've been such a huge advocate for meditation, clean eating and gentle physical training - yoga! Positive thinking and meditation puts you in control to perfect ourselves physically, mentally and spiritually.
Below are some great tips that have been helpful, for me as I worked on making meditation a more consistent part of my life .....
1. A great way to start is to practice actively : while cleaning, reading, coloring,at the gym, or hiking.
- A benefit to meditating while hiking is it builds stamina! Don't think just do!
2. Use the 4 common poses : crossed at the ankles, sitting in a chair, lying down (with option to align legs up the wall) , sitting on your heels.
- If crossed at the ankles, it can be helpful to sit on the edge of a blanket to keep your hips higher than your knees. It can make the posture more comfortable since you'll be planning to stay there awhile.
- Close your eyes.
3. In sitting poses sit nice and tall, aligning head, neck, spine and trunk.
- Sitting poses are preferable if you want to stay awake
- A straight spine helps a steady flow of nerve currents and energy to flow through your body.
4. Practice mental exercises
- Choose an object in the room and for 10 minutes observe it uninterruptedly, appreciate every detail about it : any colors, shapes, patterns without judging them. Just see them as they are.
- This practice will sharpen your focus if you're trying to meditate and cant clear your mind.
5. Remove all distractions if possible, or if impossible accept these distractions until they no longer distract you.
6. Meditate to sounds if you're struggling on focusing when all is completely quiet.
- birds chirping
- yourself chanting the universal sound "Om"
7. Start with 5 minutes, increase to 10 min., 30min, and longer until you accomplish 1 to 2 hours a day.
8. Lastly, observe your breath. Visualize it entering and exiting your body.
- But don't try to control it, just let it flow, steadily.
Yogic ideals are that proper breathing is what channels the connection between mind, body, and spirit.
One of the greatest benefits I've experienced through meditation, is losing the need to label or judge everything. People, situations, criticisms, places. I've learned to just enjoy and accept the present as it is, without trying to figure out what to label it. Someone's reaction to you is neither good nor bad, that lucky scratcher you bought or that long time friend you ran into, wasn't a sign and had no deep meaning. When we learn to stop passing judgement on something or someone, nothing will ever offend or stress us. We will always accept things as they are.
Meditation brings mental rejuvenation and transcends our physical and astral body. It helps us make vital decisions with clarity, stay positive, and have better control of our actions. Once you've mastered the art of meditative concentration you control your mind to think and do whatever your heart desires. There will be nothing you can't accomplish!