In my last blog post, the Frenzied Mind, I listed some ways to help in these turbulent times. I thought I’d spend some blog time exploring each suggestion. Let’s start with meditation.
Meditation…how many eye rolls, shrugs, sighs did I get by mentioning this ancient practice?? There are many misconceptions about the rules of meditation. To me the biggest misconception is that there are rules. Yes, in some specific types of meditation there are steps to help guide you where you’re going. Let’s think about art for a sec. Almost any expression of self can be considered art. However, if you want to be recognized as a “traditional” watercolor artist that can enter certain exhibits you have to follow a certain set of guidelines. Such is meditation, without the exhibits.
Here are some, with brief descriptions:
Sitting, observing breath.
This meditation is typically done while sitting in a crossed leg meditation posture but you can really do it anywhere, anytime. I bet the astronauts could do it floating around their cabin in space. This method involves getting settled, then quiet, then observing your breath. When thoughts, worries and middle of your back itchies come to your awareness just observe them. Gently bring your awareness back to your breath. There are also many sitting meditations that involve focusing on an external object such as an object on an altar or a candle flame. The methods are much the same. While focusing on the object, your mind will wander and then you will bring it back. Remember, don’t judge the wandering as the beauty is in the bringing your focus back so in a way the wandering is a gift.
Sitting, with mudra.
A mudra, which literally means seal in Sanskrit is a way to complete the energy circuit within us. By completing the circuit we can maintain or allow the energy to stay within the body. There are many mudras. One of my favorite is the Gyan Mudra which is connecting the tips of the thumb and index finger together to form a full circle while leaving the other three fingers relaxed but straight. This mudra relates to expansion and knowledge. I do this sometimes when I’m in a meeting and my focus is wandering. It always brings me back when I remember to use it.
Walking a labyrinth.
I love walking a labyrinth. There are so many ways to approach the walk. Some people start the walk with a quiet meditation while other quiet as they walk. Some ask a question or set an intention while others walk and are sometimes inspired during the walk or after. Do what feels right to you. One thing that I have learned is that the walk after you reach center should be as focused as the walk to reach center. I’ve had some of my most meaningful experiences after center. There is a website https://labyrinthlocator.com to help you find one near to you.
You can bring mindfulness to any setting, task or experience. Mindful eating can be a nice place to begin. When entering into this practice, you want to remove all distractions so turn off the tv, silence your phone and perhaps take a moment to quiet your mind. When mindful eating you can begin by noticing how you feel before touching your food at all. Then, perhaps, bring your attention to your food. To the colors of the food and the dishes. Maybe give gratitude for the food. While eating concentrate on the sensations, tastes and any emotions you feel. Keep your focus with eating. Think about your food and where it comes from. How it was lovingly prepared for you. Some people find that they choose healthier food and eat less when mindfully eating.
There are hundreds, if not thousands of ways to meditate. I’ve listed just a couple here. I would like to do another post at another time and explore more ways. Try some and you just might find the ones that work well for you.
Peace, out …
This post is one in a collection of posts arising from the Frenzied Mind.