I have negated, ignored, discounted, and just plain given excuses regarding the practice of meditation for most of my life. I come from parents who thought and taught anything they saw as “new age” was created or made up by “pot smoking hippies”.
“New age” to my parents meant anything or any practice that steered away from the conservative facts and beliefs they were taught. Any “spiritual or nonscientific bullshit such as meditation, astrology, alternative medicine, anti-bible, or the crazies that were involved in any of this.”
It is not that I believed this too, I just did not buy into the practice of meditation until I desperately needed something to calm my overthinking ADHD mind when I had cancer. Out of selfishness, I was grasping to feel a sense of control over the deadly disease in my body. I resorted to meditation and in I guess I joined the “crazies” my parents referred to in my childhood.
So, what do you do when you are a self-acclaimed “can’t set still” or “don’t have time” type of person? You own the fact you don’t know what meditation actually is and try it.
There are many different types of of meditations, from walking meditation to primordial sound meditation to guided meditation. Many people have the idea that meditation is only sitting cross-legged on the floor in a hippie infested decor, repeating “Om” a zillion time. It’s not. There does not have to be “pot” nor a “new age” free spirit guiding you into eternal bliss.
Meditation is not a religion; rather, it is a practice of becoming passively aware of your thoughts and feelings. Meditation is not “against the Bible”, believe it or not.
I like to relate a meditation practice to other healthy lifestyle choices. If your goal is to lose weight, prevent heart disease, control diabetes, or maintain wellness, you must become MINDFUL of what you eat, chemicals you expose yourself to, getting enough sleep, making time for exercise and cooking healthy meals, etc.
Meditation actually builds mindfulness!
It is an exercise to assist you in the realization that you actually can control your thoughts. There is not right or wrong way to meditate, you just have to do it! People will make time for what they feel is important to them.
I promise, beginning your day with meditation (intention of calmness) gives you a head start on your day and how you will react to your day. You break the cycle of beginning your day with fear, anticipation, dread, or negativity. Meditation allows us to control our thoughts instead of allowing others to control how we think and react.
Proven Benefits of Meditation:
- Lowers heart rate and blood pressure
- Lowers cortisol levels, which is associated with stress and weight gain (especially around your waist. Good-bye potbelly!) l
- Boosts immune function (who needs a flu shot when you’ve got meditation?)
- Improves airflow to the lungs, resulting in easier breathing, which is helpful not only for asthma patients but also for athletes needing to improve endurance
- Decreases the aging process, yes!
- Improves creativity, learning ability and memory, emotional stability, feelings of vitality and rejuvenation, mental clarity, and happiness
- Decreases anxiety, depression, irritability, and moodiness
- Can be done anywhere, anytime, and at no cost
Aside from these amazing side effects, meditation creates space, possibility, and relief in your mind, body, and life.
What is meditation?
Meditation is the simple, yet complicated (for some of us), act of sitting in stillness and silence for a dedicated period of time each day. As your mind is cleared of thoughts, you are connecting to the pure potential of your life and, as I said before, recalibrating your mind, body, and spirit. It can be used to calm the mind or as the first step to plant the seed of an intention of a specific purpose or idea. Meditating can help de-stress, help get through difficult times, and serve as way to assist us in the journey to find peace, self-control promoting the health benefits.
My Meditation Journey
I can’t say I meditate every single morning. I can say when I do not meditate, my day seems more stressful, chaotic, in disarray, my boundaries suck, and internally, I blame others for my bad day. If I take a few short minutes and restart my intention for the rest of my day, it helps me tremendously. When I introduced myself to meditation, I felt more comfortable listening to guided meditations. Will include in this article
Tips for Setting the Meditation Mood
- Pick a regular time you can commit to every day. Make a reoccurring “me time” appointment on your calendar.
- Set the timer on your phone so you will not look at the clock. Start with five minutes and build up to twenty.
- Find a quiet place and get comfortable, or as I like to say, “Just Get Your Butt on the Pillow.”
- Turn the lights down and light a candle.
- Take a whiff of lavender or your favorite essential oil.
- Spend the first few minutes asking yourself: “Who am I?” “What do I really want?” “What is my Dharma: How can I help; how can I heal; how can I serve others and myself with my unique and special gifts and talents?”
- Choose a mantra and repeat. In Sanskrit, the word “mantra” means “mind vehicle.” A mantra is just a short phrase that has no distinct meaning to help keep your mind free of thoughts. A popular universal mantra is SO HUM. On the inhalation, say the word “SO” silently to yourself, and on the exhalation, say the word “HUM.” When you find your mind wandering, come back to repeating your mantra.
- Pop in a guided meditation if that suits you better. Some people find it easier when they first start meditating to use guided meditations.
Interested in more? I would love to meet to you! Email or call anytime to schedule an in-person or virtual session. (817) 701-5438 | firstname.lastname@example.org
CRT, CCDC, CACC | Counselor & Life Coach
Empowering individuals, families and communities to grow and heal through advanced approaches in Creative Arts Therapy, setting the standard for treatment, practice and training within the field.