Sleep is the best meditationDalai Lama
With all of the stresses associated with modern-day living, one needs an outlet for relaxation. When I read about all the health benefits of meditation, I immediately think I need to try this for myself. I believe the physical and mental benefits are vast and I plan to get on board! So I tell Alexa to start yoga music, light a candle, assume the pose, close my eyes, take some deep breaths, and then try to shut out my inner voice. The end result is anything but meditation!
Many internet health gurus seem to view meditation as an act that allows one to find clarity by unburdening the mind of past and future thoughts. They concentrate on breathing and mantras, guiding their students to exist in the present moment. For my discussion the goal of mediation is simply to create peace and calm in one’s mind to enhance health and well-being.
I’ve struggled for years trying to imitate what I thought was the proper way to declutter my mind, never actually achieving that goal. My thoughts meandered through an array of minutia during many individual and group hathayoga classes. I basically gave up, thinking my mind was too active and my anxiety level was too high to ever achieve success.
Don’t stress out about meditation
The good news is I recently realized there are no rules for meditation and it can be practiced in many ways. It all depends on finding a medium that works for you.
Some people are going for enlightenment. Others are looking for relaxation. I’m looking for that metaphysical out-of-body experience, similar to a hypnotic state. I want to shut out all thought of past and present, so I can focus on the moment and become self-aware in a positive light.
Sitting in the correct pose with the right music, in a dark room with pachouli incense wafting through the air is not for me, and that’s ok.
What! I have been actually practicing meditation all along, while not being aware of it?
As a youngster, I played the piano and flute for hours at a time, reading the written music in front of me. But when I drifted into my own melodies and produced music from my soul, I felt my brain light up with peace and joy. I was meditating. All the elements of meditation were there, including controlled breathing techniques that come with playing a wind instrument such as the flute.
As an adult I experienced a meditative breakthrough during a drum circle at a free-spirit festival. Participants alternated dancing around the fire pit with drumming on the sidelines. This went on for hours. I was so moved by the sound, motions and vibrations of the djembe drums that I bought my own the very next morning.
Walking in nature is also the perfect way to meditate. I was lucky to have spent my childhood on 36 acres of woodland nestled in the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York. It was a perfect place to walk and meditate.
Now I find that I am able to clear my mind by sitting quietly in my yard, overlooking the St. Lawrence River, where some of the most beautiful sunsets occur.
The sound of crickets while I’m grounding my feet to the dewy grass at dusk is another way I’ve been able to meditate.
Certain genres of music lend themselves to enhancing a meditative environment. Oddly enough, techno-trance dissolves outside stimuli and enhances mental coherence for me.
I also find using singing bowls and gongs to be helpful.
Dancing lends itself to a type of joyful meditation, if you like to dance. And I’m not talking about becoming a whirling dervish, just a fun little groove to help with centering your focus.
Now I’m on the prowl for finding more ways to meditate. The sky’s the limit!
Meditation has many advantages to include reducing anxiety and stress, promoting a more restful sleep and lowering blood pressure. So why not give it a try? Don’t give up on your first few tries. A good friend of mine once told me “the only reason you do not like wine is that you have not yet tasted one you like.” The same rationale can be applied to meditation. Find something you like.
I try to meditate early in the morning to get a positive start on the day. Sometimes it is just a matter of being thankful that I get to see another sunrise on this beautiful planet, and I say aloud “I am grateful for my life.” At bedtime I’ll meditate to promote a restful night of sleep. Even if I’ve had a rough day, I will reflect on the positive highlights. This just takes a few minutes, and has helped make me more peaceful and healthy.
Anyone can start reaping the benefits of meditation immediately and easily. Here’s a site that will help give you ideas on how to begin:
7 Types of Meditation Techniques + When to Use Each by By Devan Ciccarelli
Living on the peaceful shore of the St. Lawrence River provides a fertile environment for transcendental experiences. Nestled away from a world that is becoming increasingly vile, toxic and polarized, I have something I will never take for granted here – peace, clarity and solitude.
Thank you for hanging with me! – Barb, the River Blogger (Btrb)