Meditation: A Journey
Meditation was one of the first spiritual practices and tools that I adopted upon recognizing my spiritual awakening and accepting and starting my spiritual journey. There are scientifically-proven, positive benefits and effects from meditating including reduced anxiety, depression management, improved cognition and overall health. However, similarly to eating a healthful diet, simply knowing the benefits doesn’t necessarily equate to employing practices and habits that are best for us. I’ve heard colloquially from others and have personally experienced how developing a regular meditation habit or practice can sometimes be something of a roller-coaster ride. I liken it to yo-yo dieting. I’ll have several days, weeks, sometimes even months of consistent meditation practice, and then I may fall off, again for days, weeks or even months, though the latter less and less so.
There are many different kinds of meditation so don’t get discouraged or give up if at first it doesn’t stick. Try different methods, locations and types of meditation to see what works for you. Meditation is not the absence of thought, nor the absence of action. Meditation is about being aware and simply staying in the presentness of each moment. You can consider some subtle activities such as cleaning, exercising, journaling, writing, yoga or walking as mindful practices into which you can weave more meditative techniques. Remember that there is no right or wrong. Meditation is about observation. Sitting with and noticing our thoughts and feelings - our minds and bodies; not judging anything, but rather, learning to judge ourselves, and thus the outside world, less and less...
Cleaning or Cooking as a Meditative & Spiritual Practice
Have you ever noticed a sense of peace of calm come over you as you vacuum or mop the floor, make your bed, scrub the bathroom, organize a pile of books or bake or cook a dish? This is because activities such as cooking and cleaning can be therapeutic, particularly if we’re fully engaged in the present moment while performing the task. My morning as well as pre-reading routines usually incorporate some element of cleaning, not even necessarily intentionally. I’ll make the bed and do the dishes almost instinctively most mornings, and I always cleanse and clear my workspace before engaging in a reading. Many activities that do not require vast amounts of mental attention or focus can be great for practicing mindfulness as well as meditation.
Movement and Meditation
Exercise is an example of another such activity. Walking meditation is a personally preferred activity and one of my favorite methods of meditation. You can listen to music or a guided meditation while you walk. Obviously, you may not want to follow all of the guidance in a guided meditation while walking, like closing your eyes, but you can day dream or perform visualizations in your head, or you can reflect on whatever signs or synchronicities you may come upon during your walk, especially signs from nature like birds or butterflies, feathers, flowers, coins or stones or words that may be appear in an ad or graffiti. When I commuted more regularly for work, I used to meditate both on my walks to and from the subway, as well as on the subway - or on occasion, in the car. Movement and meditation go hand in hand. Likewise, dance is not only great exercise, but also a grounding activity that can provide for reflection and introspection. Remember, do whatever speaks to and feels right to you.
Music & Meditation
Music is another great tool to incorporate into meditation. Many guided meditations use music in their soundtracks, and listening to music while walking or working out is a great way to more fully “tune in,” and “be in the flow.” My own spiritual gifts include clairaudience so I often receive messages and downloads through music or other audible messages or sounds. Music has always been a personal passion of mine, and I plan to incorporate it more into these messages, readings and other online content. I’ve also been doing research around binaural beats, which are musical, sound frequencies that elicit certain feelings, including those that can lie “dormant” in the subconscious. Do a quick google, Spotify or YouTube search to find binaural beats for creativity, focus, healing, productivity and more.
The primary tool that I’ve always used throughout my meditation journey is guided meditation. I was introduced to my first guided meditation through a friend, and I’ve since listed several of my favorites to the resources section on my website. I’ve also filmed a couple of my own guided meditation and visualization exercises on the YouTube channel and plan to perform form. In addition, I’ve used meditation apps such as Calm and Headspace. Guided meditation is great because it completely takes the pressure off of you. Again, with meditation, less is always more. Following the prompts and allowing yourself to freely follow the flow and guidance of the meditation - wherever it may lead you - is one of the simplest and yet most beneficial gifts you can give to yourself.
You can also incorporate other items and tools into your meditation habit and practice. In addition to music, many folks like to use aroma or color therapy, crystals - either by carrying or holding them, or placing them around you or in your meditation space. There are also many different forms of meditation, all of which are worth researching. I’ve simply listed some forms of meditation and other tools I’ve used that have helped me personally.
As a final thought I want you to remember that meditation only takes a moment. You only need one small moment in time to sit quietly with yourself and honor yourself by observing your feelings and your thoughts. If you’re having trouble, start with a super short period of time such as 15 or 30 seconds, or if you can stand it, perhaps tack on a few more minutes. From there you can build and grow. And remember, that your meditation practice may wax and wane. That is the nature of life and of time. Honor your journey at all times. Wherever, and whenever, that may be.