Ordinary Legacy Mantra: Thank you for this day and everything in it.
They tell me that meditation can be practiced by anyone, anywhere, and that you can focus your attention, produce a deep state of relaxation and a tranquil mind. Do you know me? During meditation your attention is focused and your ricochet rabbit thoughts can be eliminated…really? You can achieve calm, peace and balance that are beneficial to both your emotional and overall health. And even when your meditation session ends your benefits just keep on keepin on.
The Mayo Clinic gives the following emotional benefits from meditation: Gaining new perspective, stress management, increased self-awareness, reducing negative emotions and focusing on the present. Ok, I’m listening, I could use a little of this and a little of that.
They go on to inform us that certain medical conditions that can be worsened by stress might find meditation useful. Of course the jury is still out as their disclaimer clearly states (meditation isn’t a replacement for traditional medical treatment) but perhaps anxiety disorders, asthma, depression, heart disease, high blood pressure, pain and sleep problems could be eased by integrating meditation into one’s life. I happen to have a few of those…
The numerous ways to meditate range from guided to mantra to mindfulness to transcendental meditation and can include some physical practices like Qi Gong, Tai chi, and Yoga. There are any number of Gurus, both on line and in the community, willing to impart their wisdom…seriously? It’s a business? Honey everything is a business…
Several years ago I took up the practice of daily affirmations and this seemed to me the next logical step. Here’s what I’ve learned so far:
With all the talk of deep breathing and letting all those invasive thoughts float by like clouds I thought my head would blow off and I would hyperventilate. First of all it is nearly impossible to stop your thoughts, if they stop you stop. And deep breathing when forced becomes the hardest thing ever and really loud in your head.
Repeat a mantra…seriously the mantras that are most often associated with meditation are in a completely different language. I don’t know, nor do I wish to know Sanskrit, or whatever.
Make sure you’re not disturbed. Use a candle at the beginning if it is too uncomfortable to keep your eyes closed. Meditate first thing in the morning before anything else when your mind is at its most quiet. I have dogs, the first thing that happens in my house is a dash for the door with all the accoutrements of the morning walk to relieve…it all. Not disturbed…with dogs? One eye is always opening to see what those two are up to especially now that Lina is in treatment. Where exactly does one put a candle with two dogs roaming around you as you’re cross legged on the floor, which in itself is a bit of a thing, to say nothing of the smooches on the face because you are after all at eye level. And you know they’re watching you even if they’re not right in your face…
Notice small adjustments and do NOT stress. Meditation is what it is, they say, and just do the best you can at the time. Ok, it may be what it is to you but my epiphany came when I realized the single only thing in your life that is always in the moment is your body. So I put my body where it’s comfortable, in my chair. They say it’s ok to sit in a chair but your feet should be on the floor, eh not so much. I do a body scan, which they actually recommend, to see how everything feels and make small adjustments so nothing is falling asleep or twitching or numb. Just so you know, your nose will itch as soon as you close your eyes.
I tune in to Pandora calm meditation channel, set a meditation timer (there’s an app for that) pick up my coffee, and shut my eyes. I know, the coffee isn’t really a step in any guru’s teachings but I love the feel of the warmth through the cup and when my mind wanders I can either bring it back to my body (which is always in the moment remember) or take a sip and feel that velvety hot liquid going down my throat and warming me all over. I am now practiced at the art of finding my lips with my eyes closed and not spilling a drop. I catch on quick…just sayin.
If one of the dogs puts a paw up on the chair, they now recognize that the slight opening of one eye means get the hell off and somehow they do…energy is indeed powerful.
The moral of this story is that it seems to be working. Not in any formal sense that the meditating community would recognize but I find myself coming back to my body and closing my eyes during the day too. I find my mind is a bit slower, when I ask it to be, and that my shoulders have somehow found their way down my neck. When I’m in a stressful situation I tend to breathe differently. My breathing regulates and I don’t need to think about it anymore.
Liz Gilbert of Eat, Pray, Love fame talks in these terms about meditation, “It’s not necessarily discipline. Discipline can become a prison. When your spiritual practices become another thing for you to be anxious about, they’ve lost their usefulness. I try to be limber with it and soft with it”. Amen Sister. I too am being soft with it but I think I might actually be doing this meditation thing, kinda.