Meditation has made my life so much richer in so many ways. It is a refuge, a play of discovery and a place of peace. If you Google “studies on the benefits of meditation” you will find over 9 million pages come up, including scientific research conducted by The Mayo Clinic and Harvard. It’s getting pretty difficult to doubt that meditation will make a positive difference in your life.
So I suggest that today is as good a day as any to play with some meditation. Let’s start with a simple definition. Meditation, as defined by Merriam-Webster online dictionary:
1: to engage in contemplation or reflection
2: to engage in mental exercise (as concentration on one’s breathing or repetition of a mantra) for the purpose of reaching a heightened level of spiritual awareness
I love this as a place to start. Mainly because most people I talk to say they think of meditation as something that takes a really long time, is hard and, generally, say they think they can’t do it.
So, let’s clear that up. First of all, yes, some people meditate for really long stretches of time. There are yogis who live in the forest and meditate every day, all day, for years and years. And there are people with families and very intense work weeks who manage to meditate for an hour or more a day. Both are very impressive. And both can feel very out of reach to most people. But, it still counts even if it’s not for days or hours. Notice there is no time requirement as part of the definition. And, even the briefest moments of quiet contemplation or concentration can bring a heightened level of spiritual awareness. Peace can wash over you in an instant. It can happen as you watch your child laugh or as you take a moment to appreciate the new bloom of a flower.
The second two concerns I most often hear are actually intertwined. People generally think it’s hard because they don’t know what it is. And because they don’t know what it is, they think they can’t do it. I like to think of mediation as a path. It’s a path to seeing yourself and the world with peaceful awareness. It helps to dissolve automatic reactivity. It is a place where you can start to separate yourself from all the thousands of thoughts your mind churns out with or without your conscious awareness. It is a simultaneous focus and letting go – and when you do this it feels great. And the more you practice, the more often you can find yourself in this place. And the paths to this place are infinite. There is no “right” way to meditate. And I highly recommend playing around with several different types of meditation to see what resonates with you. It can change from day to day. Let it. And while there is no “right” way to do it, there are things you can do to ease yourself into a beneficial and enjoyable daily practice.
So, I promised you something easy. And here it is. You drink water every day… yes? I hope so! So, let’s pack a little extra LOVE punch into every sip! Every time you take a sip of your water, close your eyes for just a moment. Keep your eyes closed and after you swallow take one slow, deep breath. As you breath, feel the coolness of the water permeating your entire body and being. Like a dip in the still water of a beautiful waterfall for every sip. That’s it! Go ahead and give it a try. Over the course of a day this could easily add up to over 30 minutes of quiet contemplation.
I’d love to hear your experience with this practice.
And remember, You are LOVED.