A couple of years ago, I used to teach a meditation class. These days, I only lead a meditation for our monthly PSYCH-K® practice group or the occasional networking meeting. Last week, I was given the opportunity to guide the meditation at one of the amazing Wild About Wellness meetings Simone Usselman-Tod organizes for health-care practitioners in Burlington, Guelph and Hamilton. Afterwards one participant said to me, “I really liked what you said about meditation because I have learned something new…”
What was it that I had said before starting the meditation? It was really quite simple and the answer to a concern I have often heard from meditation beginners. I have heard people say many times: “I just can’t quiet my mind to meditate. I don’t know what to do to shut my thoughts off!”
Meditation has nothing to do with doing. In fact, it is the exact opposite of doing! Meditation is just being in the moment. Meditation means letting go, letting go of all thoughts that go into the past or the future. It means gently bringing and keeping your attention on what is right now in this very moment in time, being present with whatever shows up.
Doing the dishes or pulling weeds can be a meditation, as long as you are fully present with what you are doing. Or, as my good friend Lisbeth Fregonese said in a radio interview the other day, “Maybe you are meditation walker, a meditation swimmer, or a meditation jogger.”
Walking, running, swimming, roller blading, riding your bike, dancing, singing and so on can all be meditative. All that is required is that you allow yourself to be fully immersed in whatever you are doing. Embrace mindfulness. Allow your mind, body and spirit to be in rhythm with the walking, running, or swimming. For me writing is meditative. When I allow the thoughts to flow through me and onto the screen, I am not thinking or feeling anything else.
One of the biggest distractions which prevents us from fully being present is our phone. Do we really need to be constantly available by phone, e-mail or text? What if we turned our phone off when we are having dinner with our family or when we are on an outing? What if we even turned if off for an entire Sunday to be fully present with the sunshine, to enjoy our back-yard, our loved ones, whatever we are doing? What if we gave ourselves permission to be fully present with our children, our partner, our family or friends? What if we allowed ourselves to give our full attention to whatever we are doing in each given moment, instead of constantly multitasking? What if we opened up to being mindful in each moment in time?
When we are totally here, no yesterday pulling us back with feelings of regret or resentment, no tomorrow pulling us forward and making us anxious, we feel calm, connected, and centred. When we think too much of the past or the future we are wasting the present. Yet, the present is the only thing which is real.
Osho gives a beautiful metaphor of how to quiet your mind which I used to like to read out to my meditation class participants:
“Thoughts settle on their own accord, you need not jump amongst them, you need not try to put them right. It is as if a stream has become muddy… what do you do? Do you jump in it and start helping the stream to become clear? You will make it more muddy. You simply sit on the bank. You wait. There is nothing to be done. Because whatsoever you do will make the stream more muddy. If somebody has passed through a stream and the dead leaves have surfaced and the mud has arisen, just patience is needed. You simply sit on the bank. Watch, indifferently. And as the stream goes on flowing, the dead leaves will be taken away, and the mud will start settling because it cannot hang forever there. After a while, suddenly you will become aware – the stream is crystal-clear again.”
Another misconception people have is that—unless they have a certain amount of time—they do not need to bother meditating. It is not necessary to sit and meditate for an hour every day. Once you start meditating you might want to meditate for an hour because it feels so good but even allowing yourself to be still, relaxed and mindful for ten minutes at a time makes a big difference.
Relaxation, Meditation, Subconscious Belief Changes
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