As we continue our series on Spiritual Practices in Times of Crisis, (the previous post on Gratitude is here), this ancient practice has the power to transform everything in our lives.
Today we take a closer look at:
Meditation is one of the most direct tools we can use for awakening our spirits and welcoming more calm and joy in our lives.
By sitting in stillness, we discover that there is an ocean of peace that is always available just under the surface when we turn down the volume of our thoughts and allow ourselves to be with what is.
It’s not a cure-all for our challenges, but we become less ruled by them when we experience our thoughts and feelings as being transient - not solid and permanent as they seem to be when we are resisting them.
Divine wisdom, guidance and intuition rise to the surface when we take the time to quiet the mind and soften the heart.
In the first few breaths of a seated meditation, you realize how loud your mind really is and it can leave you feeling as if you are not doing it right or that meditation is not for you.
No worries. Me The Thinker is just doing her job and trying to run the show. And she can be very persistent. She's got some serious control issues.
Just stay with the practice.
Gradually, the mind chills out a little and takes a back seat, and increasingly more time is spent in a restful state of calm.
You return to the day feeling refreshed, clear, calm, mindful, aware, kind.
All that when you just breathe.
Decades of scientific studies have linked meditation to profound health benefits. These include:
Lengthening attention span
Mayo Clinic studies confirm that meditation enhances emotional and physical wellbeing by reducing negative emotions, increasing imagination and creativity in addition to assisting with anxiety, cancer treatment, depression, headaches and sleep problems among many other health issues.
And here's my personal favorite benefit: You know those times when you get so much done in a short period of time because you feel "in the flow?" Meditation brings more of that into your life. The time you devote to the practice is repaid with clarity, focus and flow.
The benefits trickle down to all parts of your life, including your health, your relationships, your connection with your higher wisdom and your ability to show compassion to yourself and all beings.
We've known about the positive effects of meditation for decades.
So now is the time for all of us to write it into our spiritual practice time and reap the rewards of becoming more healthy and awake in our own lives.
And it doesn't have to be hard.
Preparation: Set your timer for 1 to 5 minutes, but don’t start it yet.
(No rush to add time. Keep it short and focused until you are feeling more solid in the practice. It’s the quality that counts.)
Choose a quiet setting. Take a comfortable seat with a straight spine. Eyes are softly closed and hands rest on the thighs, palms up or down. Relax your face. Smile slightly.
To slow down, it's helpful to begin with three deep breaths, making the exhales longer than the inhales. If it's comfortable for you, exhale with an open mouth and a "haaah."
Then just breathe normally.
Start your timer.
Breath Awareness Meditation:
Be present with your breath as it goes in, and goes out.