O.k. so there’s no real mastering of meditation – I just happen to like alliteration. The truth is that meditation requires regular practice. Some days you can quiet the mind, others you can’t. And, to be honest I don’t think I have ever completely quieted my mind. My mind happens to be a bit chatty.
However, I have gotten much better at accessing a quiet, reflective state, which is a huge breakthrough for me. The past two days in particular have been pretty profound (more alliteration ♥ ) as I have been meditating in honor of the 11/11/11 energy shifts. I was aided by recently completing Level 1 – Emei Qigong which has helped me tap into my energy field. But, what I think really helped me reach a state of calm and relaxation was listening to healing music and performing a healing meditation – both of which had been shared by my sister Kristi. She has links on her website to the downloadable music and a recording of her reading the meditation. I’m not sure how long she will keep them posted, so get them while they’re hot! Here they are: Meditation Help (EraofPeace.org).
It has taken me over a year to get to this place where I can now sit quietly in peaceful relaxation for more then 5 or 10 minutes at a time. In fact, today I found a document I had composed from a Facebook chat with my nephew Brian that had a date of 10/16/10 on it. At that time he had given me tips as to how to help me find my inner zen. It seemed so easy at the time, but here I am over a year later and I am still a work in progress. His tips are too good not to share, so here they are :
- The general point is to gradually work towards calming yourself to allow your mind to settle down.When a thought enters your mind, don’t fight it just let it pass.
- Play peaceful music and then eventually try to block the music out.
- Some people also focus on creating a circle in their mind’s eye, then putting a box in the circle, then a triangle in the square, and repeating that imagery over and over.
- Others use a mala (a string of prayer beads) to help them stay focused. You can repeat a mantra while moving the beads to keep track of the number of times you repeat the mantra.
- Vocal meditation is also helpful. That is where you repeat a mantra (similar to a prayer) while remaining in Lotus position, or a comfortable seated position. Chanting Ohm Shanti is an easy and calming vocal meditation.
Right around the time of getting all of Brian’s help, I also began completing a master’s degree in Integrative Health & Healing at The Graduate Institute. The program emphasizes the integration of mind, body and spirit, making meditation a regular focus of our studies. As such, I have uncovered my own tips and techniques for calming my mind and realigning my energies through meditation. My favorites include:
- Meditating to a piece of music that moves my spirit. I absolutely love Heart’s version of Reign O’er Me. I just listen to the music and let my mind go. It is very powerful!
- Using a short guided meditation. LearningMeditation.com has some great meditations that are free and are only 3-5 minutes. I especially love the Healing Meditation.
- Simply focusing on deep breathing. I read a great tip from Deepak Chopra that said to breath in to the word “just” and breath out to the word “this”. It’s a great reminder that all we ever really NEED to do is breath. How freeing!
- Burning sandalwood incense. The scent alone puts me into a relaxed and clear-headed state.
- Wearing a sodalite necklace or holding a carnelian crystal. Crystals carry a powerful energy and just having them in contact with my body gives me a sense of calm.
Meditation is about the journey, not the destination. So, the most important piece of advice I’ve gotten about the practice came from my instructor Denise Romano who reminds all of her students to think “who cares!” That simple statement reminds us to let go, give up all pretenses and just be. And that is what meditation is all about – no mastery required.