Meditation 101

Congratulations! If you are reading this, likely you are someone who could benefit from, or is interested in, the healing benefits of meditation!

Meditation is No Longer a Luxury, It’s a Necessity

Meditating now is much like the social graces and norms of the past. We all agree that we will get up in the morning and do our basic cleanliness routines, perhaps shower, or brush our teeth, before we head out of the house. We also agree that we will wash our hands when we use the restroom, etc. In this day and age, it is also essential that we connect within.

If we wish to show up in the world able to meet others with compassion, love and grace, then we must check in to the reservoir within and fill up our cups, first. No longer just a luxury of those with free time, meditation is a modern-day necessity to connect well with others, and really could be looked at as an expectation. Just as I promise to show up clean and well, I promise that I have taken a moment at least, to go within and connect to source, so that I can give my best self to the world.

 How to Start:

To begin, simply set aside at least 5 minutes to start. A good beginning practice time is 15 minutes, but feel free to start with less, or more, it’s up to you. You can always work your way up to a time that feels sufficient for you. 15 minutes to one hour is an average time range.

Be in a space where you can sit in silence and not be disturbed. I love to sit in front of my altar and light incense and sit upon my meditation cushion, but if you are just starting, find a good spot for you.

You don’t have to sit on the floor in easy position (legs crossed) if it doesn’t work for you. Choose a chair with a straight back and plant your feet flat on the floor if that’s what your body needs.

The important part is to just get started, for as you reap the rewards of stillness and quiet, you will yearn for more, I promise!

What to Do During Meditation:

 There are many ways to mediate, and a variety of resources. Choose a CD to listen to, or follow these ideas:

 Breath at the Heart:

Sit. Close your eyes and follow the ebb and flow of your breath, at the heart. Breathe normally, and just notice your breath, when it pauses to change from an exhale to an inhale, etc. and meditate on the heart and breath at the heart. If you notice yourself thinking, simply return to the breath at the heart.

Mantras:

Choose a mantra to focus your mind while you mediate. A great one is Sat Nam, which means, truth is my name.

Inhale, Sat, exhale, Nam.

Continue to just breath and silently, to yourself, repeat this ancient and powerful mantra. A mantra gives your busy mind something to focus on and makes mediation easier.

Affirmation:

Perhaps you have a state of being you’d like to cultivate. Feeling sad? Choose something like, I am joyful.  Fearful about money? Choose: abundance now flows freely into my life. Struggling to receive love in your relationships? Try: I am loved, loving and lovable forever. Check out Louise Hay’s web-site, or one of her many books for an affirmation that feels expansive for you.

An affirmation works much like a mantra, but can also affirm for us a positive feeling that soon becomes ingrained and can transform our life.

Finally, perhaps you just want to sit and breathe regularly. Meditating can be that simple. The point of meditation is simply to quiet the mind, calm our nervous system and give space to our habitual though patterns, by taking time out to not react to them, but to watch them.  So, just notice that you are thinking and return to the breath. Stay with the breath and slowly, over time; you will train your mind to calm and quiet.

Walking Meditation:

For some of us, sitting isn’t going to feel good to our bodies. Feel free to walk, in silence, and notice each step as you go. Repeat to yourself, lifting my foot, placing my foot, any time we notice with full mindfulness each moment, we are meditating.

The benefits of meditation are enormous. From increased feelings of contentment, joy, happiness, and love to a sense of purpose, knowing and inspiration.

Take the time to care for yourself in this vital and healthy way and watch, as you, and everyone around you, reap the rewards!

*Note*

This is only a brief introduction for those of you whom may be new to meditation and are interested in beginning a practice. If you are ready to take  your practice to the next step, there are wonderful on-line resources, including Vipassana, which is a free, 10-day course, to take your practice to the next level.

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