To meditate, or not to meditate… that is the question. Or is it the answer?
Here is a little blog post for those of you who are new to meditation, or would like to start.
For many years now, I have experimented with the power of meditation. I have gone weeks meditating every single morning. Then I tried only in the evening. I let up for 3 days and then started again. I went a month without doing it at all. On one day, off the next and so on for 30 days. I nerded out on mediation in every way I could think of. I also tried every form of mediation I could think of to see if my outside life reflected any change because of meditating, or during the periods of no meditation. I did this because I am a believer that I am no longer allowed to practice “contempt prior to investigation.” Which I used to do a lot. I would reject anything I thought was stupid, or unnecessary without having any real experience with the subject. So when a friend recommended that I start meditating when I was 19 years old, I did what my best was at the time. I laughed at her and then went away and tried it in secret.
I had no idea what I was doing, and there was no such thing as the internet back then to help me figure it out, so I did what I thought meditation was. I tried to sit quietly and “clear my mind.” This seemed to do the opposite of quiet my mind as my mind became a raging crowd of negative self talk which would bring anyone who would have heard it to tears. You see, I hated myself. I hated the world. I hated life. And as I tried to quiet my mind, all I could hear were these words telling me how worthless, ugly, stupid, etc. I felt like I was.
I went back to my friend and told her that I had tried it and it didn’t work.
That’s when I first learned about Mantra Meditation. She was very kind to explain it in a very simple way. She said, repeat something to yourself that you want to believe. Or just one word which makes you feel happy. Or make up a word that means something to you – it doesn’t even have to be a real word – it can even be a sound. So long as you associate that sound with something that calms or makes you feel happy. So I chose the word “LOVE.”
She said to try it for only one minute – repeating it over and over again out loud. Then she said I could increase it to 2 minutes, 3 minutes, etc. I did this and the most amazing thing happened. My mind got quiet for the first time in my life. Eventually I would change these Mantra meditations to sentences, and other phrases which are in other languages that I didn’t speak, but held the meanings I wanted to embrace.
I moved on to other forms of meditations. I made my own up. So long as I was sitting in silence and able to release my thoughts, it was a good experience.
I came up with one that I truly love. I am a big fan of Classical and Orchestral music. This one I did at night. I would light a single pillar candle and set it in front of a speaker. I turned off all the lights and then put the music on loud. I would watch as the sound waves caused the candle to dance, and I would just sit as an audience for this moment and appreciate the movement the candle made. I said no words, repeated no sounds in my mind, but it too quieted my mind and brought me a feeling of peace.
I started doing mirror work with affirmations as well. Although this is slightly different than meditation, it’s worth mentioning here and I’m sure I’ll do a blog post on it some day. 🙂
Then I got in to Guided Meditations. Oh, how I love Guided Meditations as well. Now in this modern day and age, they can be found all over the internet. I even have a few posted on YouTube which I posted for myself, but it seems others have found them to be helpful as well. (Except for those who don’t like my voice… haha…. you’ll see the comments, I’m sure.) But back to the question at hand. To Meditate, or not to meditate. The short answer is YES.
Meditation is a powerful way to change the way your mind reacts to the stimulus around you. Not only in meditation, but out of meditation as well. I have found that on the days I meditate, I walk around with a lighter feeling in my body. I am more patient. I am more interactive. I am quicker to be loving and happy, no matter what I’m faced with.
As for all of the different meditation intervals I mentioned in the beginning of this article, when I chose to meditate in the morning, whether it be 1 minute or 20 minutes, my inner being was affected and my day was always better. I can’t explain it – you’d just have to experience it for yourself.
At night, if I’m honest, I had to start doing it in the bath because if I did it in my bed – I’d fall asleep. But as I end my day with my nightly bath, I would do a Gratitude Meditation. I would sit and begin with “I’m grateful for this water” and continue with my immediate area and then backtrack throughout my day with people, moments, wins, problems (yes, I express gratitude for my problems as well – because I am alive to learn from them still) and end with the gratitude for another day alive.
One of the most powerful forms of meditation ‘for me’ is that of Visualization of my desired future feelings. I sit wherever I am and I imagine the future with people around me and a feeling of excitement, joy and gratitude. I have conversations with these people out loud in my immediate space (you may want to do this with no one around, lest you look insane). But I tell those around me how excited I am to be in some wonderful and beautiful place (currently Maldeves) with them and I talk about the great things we did that day, or our flight out there, or about the ideas I have for our vacation home. Yes, it’s a manifesting meditation. These are so fun to try. Start small, with a current win you are desiring, or a current dream you’d like to manifest – and just keep imagining yourself there. End it with a gratitude list of things in your current life if you want. That’s what I do.
Either way, start meditating now. Whatever time of day or night. Feel free to message me after about 2 weeks of doing it and tell me how it’s going. Or ask me any questions you’d like. I love connecting.
Author: The Five V’s: A Guide to Empowerment & Happiness; Written by A Modern Day Spiritual Warrior