What is meditation?
The word meditation likely brings up many images or ideas about what that word means. The truth is that it means different things to different people. With that in mind, let’s take a look at meditation.
When most of us think of meditation, we think of stopping the mind, a meditation technique (such as watching a flame or repeating a mantra or watching the breath), or of a state of bliss. In truth, these things are part of meditation, but they are not the whole picture.
For me, the goal of meditation is twofold. It increases awareness; awareness of our thoughts, our bodies, our emotions. It also increases our awareness of the life around us . . . or our external experience.
Meditation is also a practice that reconnects us to our Calm Inner Presence. Presence is a valuable resource in our lives and includes the qualities of calmness, clarity, equanimity, compassion, creativity, and connectedness.
Meditation is not connected to or owned by any religious or spiritual group although many religious and spiritual groups include meditation in their practices. Therefore, meditation, in and of itself is non-denominational.
Meditation and the harnessing the mind
Have you ever tried to stop the mind? It really doesn’t work. The mind is like any other organ in the body. It has a job to do and its job is to think, just as the heart’s job is to pump blood and oxygen through our body 24/7. So, to try to stop the mind is a losing endeavor and we can become caught up in fighting with the mind, which is not helpful when “meditating.”
Yet, by sitting and watching the breath or a candle flame, we can create mini-vacations from the mind. In those mini-vacations, the mind is silent for a few moments or longer. Those gaps grow over time are helpful in allowing the mind, body and nervous system to relax.
Bringing your attention to a positive statement or mantra, helps us to break up the chain of habitual and life negative thoughts. Over time, those positive statements become part of our data base and balances the life negative thoughts.
Meditation builds patience and compassion
Initially when we sit to meditate, we will often lose our focus very quickly. At this point, most of us berate ourselves for losing our focus. But not to worry, losing your focus is part of the process. The important thing is that as soon as you notice that you have lost your focus, you simply bring your focus back to the technique. It is as simple as that.
This has a twofold purpose. Becoming aware that you are thinking again and have lost your focus builds awareness. Bringing your focus back to your technique begins to harness the mind.
What is the best meditation technique?
There are many meditation techniques and you may wonder which the best technique is. We are going to bring our idea of bio-individuality to meditation just as we have with all the other topics we have discussed. The perfect meditation technique for you will be the one that works the best for you. Period.
But, where to start? What meditation technique will work the best for you? Consider how you process life. Are you more visually oriented, mentally oriented or tactile (sensation) oriented? If you are visually oriented, you might want to choose a visual meditation technique such as gazing at a candle flame or imagining a particular image. If you are mentally oriented, you might choose a word, affirmation, or mantra that resonates with you. If you are tactile oriented, you might want to choose a sensation such as feeling the breath moving in the body or other sensations in the body.
Experiment with different techniques and see which one works the best for you. How do you know if it works? You will notice an increased sense of relaxation and calmness. As you continue your practice, you will notice periods of stillness or quietness followed by periods of activity. The periods of stillness or quietness increase, you may notice a detachment from your thoughts and even from the meditation technique.
Reclaim your Power of Choice
Meditation brings greater awareness of your thoughts, emotions, sensations, and spiritual essence. As your awareness increases, you have the ability to consciously choose rather than to unconsciously react to happenings within you and in your world.
You become more aware of how your thoughts, feelings, words and actions impact you and the world around you. As awareness increases, you begin to make more and more choices that will bring you back to a place of balance, calmness, relaxation, peace and harmony.
Connect with your calm inner Presence
Within in each of us is a calm inner Presence. That Presence is found in the gap between the thoughts.
Presence is our spiritual essence. The spark of God or Consciousness that lives within your heart and in every cell of your body. You can allow this part of you to guide you through your life and assist you in creating more harmony, health, groundedness, and peace in your daily life. It can become a trusted guide as you navigate life’s challenges. It can be your anchor during your ups and downs.
Once you have tasted balance, peace and harmony, you will want more of it. It will become more important to you than things that pull you away from inner peace.
How does this help fibromyalgia?
With meditation the body, mind and nervous system can relax. You can move from fight, flight or freeze into, rest relax and repair. This is the foundation for rebuilding your health. Your body knows how to heal itself. But is needs to be in rest, relax and repair mode to be able to heal the body. In the rest cycle, the body makes repairs, removes toxins and allows your whole system to reset.
Contemplation for this week:
- Are my thought primarily negative or positive?
- How busy is my mind . . . just notice the busy-ness.
- Am I able to redirect my mind to thoughts of my choosing?
- How do I naturally relate to the world? Visually, mental, or sensory?
- Try sitting for 5 minutes each day just watching your breath. What happens?
In truth, meditation is very simple, but not always easy. It is helpful to have a teacher or group to assist you on the journey. Believe me, the mind will draw you away and it is helpful to have someone or a group to pull you back.
Stay tuned. I am working on a group program to help with this process. Not just meditation, but many tools to reconnect to our body, emotions, heart and spirit. and begin the process of healing from the inside out.
May you connect with your calm inner Presence, 💗Bindu