Are you curious about meditation but feel you couldn’t possibly silence your mind?
Interestingly, this was my biggest hesitation in trying to make it a genuine practice in my
life. Turns out that silencing your mind is really not a deal breaker; in fact, if you are
able to simply witness your thoughts as they pass through your mind, without getting
swept away with them, that is a wonderful first step. And, if you do get swept away onto
a wild running train of thought, holding the awareness to come back to your breath is
growth, in and of itself.
When you look at all of the research showing the benefits of meditation, it is amazing
that anyone could choose not to! Decreased illness and disease, slowed aging
process, increased neuroplasticity of the brain, less stress, more genuine happiness,
deeper connection to life, release of anger, sadness, loneliness, feelings of inadequacy;
the list goes on and on. It’s a pretty hardy list, if you take a moment to really think about
it! I was certainly won over by it.
I recently began an eight-week training program called Mindfulness-Based Stress
Reduction (MBSR). In researching the credentials of Licensed Professional Counselors,
which is what I will be attending graduate school for, I discovered that a few therapists
were certified in this specific training. In learning more, I realized these methods are
definitely part of what I would want to integrate into my future practice, as well as, my
life as a graduate student. I am currently in week two and I am completely smitten.
This program incorporates many different aspects of mindfulness so that one can have
numerous tools to utilize, and ultimately share forward.
There are many forms of meditation, and finding which types work for you is really the
key. Personally, I’m a big fan of guided meditations. In fact, I realised the other day
that I have been leading guided meditations over the years with my massage students,
clients, and friends. This past Thanksgiving I was honored to lead a family member
through a guided meditation for stress relief, and she told me a few months later she
was still meditating!
In my spare time, I find myself writing guided meditations, and I plan to record them
over the next few months. I’ll be releasing them on my social media sites (Facebook,
Instagram, and YouTube), with the thought that if they help me, then perhaps they could
help others. You see, I love guided meditations because they give me something to
focus on, that lures me from my mind’s incessant ramblings about my schedule,
anxieties, or repetitive song lyrics. To me, the truly great ones can take me far into my
connection with spirit, and my deeper self, in a mere matter of minutes. It’s a reset, if
you like, and holding these visuals in my mind during general times of stress, helps me
to navigate those situations from a more grounded place within myself.
Admittedly, I am slightly obsessed with a guided meditation that was recently shared
with me. It is from Ram Dass, a renowned spiritual teacher, and was recorded in 1981.
His rich visuals lead me to enrapture my full being in a mere matter of minutes. Making
me feel like I’m growing, while also discovering, along with sharing that found love
outwardly. He has such an incredible sense of allowing the breath, and I never feel
rushed. He touches on the nuances that make the experience personal, and
meaningful, in such a way that only a humbled meditator can. One of my favorite
portions of this 20 minute session is the visual of an opening in your chest, where you
breathe in the formless, and exhale out your anger, hurt, and loneliness. It’s very
powerful to experience that raw sense of closeness to the Universe, while purging your
body of what no longer serves you. It’s a very cleansing and cathartic experience to
choose to free yourself.
So, what forms of mindfulness do you feel you practice? What tools do you implore to
express yourself, or remain grounded, or trust in life, or reach for your desires? The
magical part of going down this rabbit hole of discovery is that you soon realize how
many fellow seekers there are. I find that, in and of itself, to be very joyous and healing.
The idea that there are millions of others seeking to treat themselves, and others, with
love and compassion. It gives me hope in difficult times, and it also lowers those
barriers of hesitation and judgment.
I look forward to sharing more of my learnings with you. And I hope you will become
curious to discover what brings you true freedom and peace in your life.