2.11.2013

All Humans Do It: A Guide For Beginners Part 3

 For the last two weeks we've been talking ritual: what it is, how to use it, ways to get grounded, and ways to cleanse. In this installment, we're going to discuss my MOST FAVORITE RITUAL EVER!

 

Meditation

 You can do it anywhere you like. Anytime you like. For as little or as long as you like.

 

Why would you meditate?

I personally use meditation for physical relaxation, to control anxiety, to speed physical healing, as part of a goal-setting plan (also called manifesting), as a   free non-addictive sleep aid and to keep me from feeling like I'm constantly on fire. Here's a list of 100 reasons people meditate.
 

But I CAN'T Meditate--I can't think about NOTHING!?

I can't do it. I can't think about nothing.
Meditation is perfectly marvelous because you don't HAVE to think about nothing.

Before we freak out about not being a zen master, let's look at different types of meditations:

Zazen
When you think of the generalized text book definition of meditation, this is the image that comes to mind. Zazen is the "just sitting" form of meditation that was developed in monasteries. Usually the "sitting" is paired with intense focus on a piece of scripture or paradox. This technique works well if you are completely isolated and have a fair amount of time to devote to the practice.

AKA: I never use this form of meditation.

 Transcendental Meditation
A method of relaxation using the repetition of a mantra multiple times a day with the assistance of a teacher.  

I also never use this technique...


Techniques I do use: 


Walking Meditations
Walking Meditations, also called Spirit Walks or Prayer Walks are moving meditations. You can go to the woods, a labyrinth or around the block with a set intention. Sometimes while on a walking meditation you may pick up objects that you find to keep with you as reminders or totems.

Guided Visualizations
MY FAVORITE! For this technique you can have a friend read a meditation script or listen to an mp3 or video of someone else leading you through a relaxing visualization until you feel like pudding: laying in the sand on the beach, laying in a field enjoying the scent of flowers, mostly laying...

YouTube has thousands to choose from. Meditation Oasis is one of my favorite mp3 resources.

Breathing Meditations
Breathing or Heart Beat meditations simply require that you close your eyes and zone in on your heart beat or breathing. You can count backwards as you do so, or repeat a mantra, or not. Whatever you feel called to do will work.

Pro Tip: Kittehs are champion meditators.

 

Okay, I want to try it!

 Give it a whirl-- you'll feel better. :)

Tips for Meditating

Don't feel as though you have to do it for hours for it to be effective. 10 minutes will do. I'll sneak in a 5 minute recorded meditation during my lunch break.

It's okay if you think about other things while you meditate. Your meditation isn't ruined if you let other thoughts drift in.Just bring yourself back to what you were working on.

You don't need to twist yourself up into a soft pretzel. (Though totally delicious.) Be comfortable, lay in the couch, sit in a comfy chair, curl up in bed, spread out on the grass!

The goal of a meditation is not to think about nothing. The goal is to turn yourself off to outside distractions long enough to relax or get centered. You can't do it wrong. Do what feels best.

Do you use a meditation practice? Do you have a favorite type?
 Is there something you want to try?



2 comments:

Boho mom said...

rock on Molly!!! I meditate (er...try to every morning) at my altar - Buddha, mala beads, Himalayan salt lamp, incense.
My fav. though is walking meditation - I live close to the woods and love it!

Yvonne said...

Wonderful and helpful! I try to meditate every day.

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