Be mindful, meditate! It's everywhere, CNN, Huffpost, Buzzfeed, your doctors, yoga studios, your friends and yes even we therapist have decided...you need to meditate! The benefits sound glorious. A Psychology Today writer, Dr. Emma M. Seppala shares that is can boost your:
- Social Life
- Self Control
- Brain Power
- Productivity (yup, by doing nothing)
Pretty fabulous right? Need more proof?
Studies from Harvard University found that long-term meditators have increased amounts of gray matter in the insula and sensory regions, and the auditory and sensory cortex.
Wait...what? Um, that's right, the ability to physically change our brains is a real thing.
So, we take all this information in, read posts (thank you:-), articles, watch videos and maybe even try meditating at home or attend a class. But, reality sets in and we end up falling asleep while trying to be mindful in our comfy chair or recliner.
Like many people, I loved to talk about meditation and wanted it's benefits...like right now! It was really difficult for me to just sit and be quiet and I tried many different ways:
- Listening to waves and singing bowls on Youtube (I still do this while writing)
- Sitting super still for long periods of time in uncomfortable positions
- Vegetarianism (not really, but I know people who have)
- Throwing things away
- Abstinence from the pleasures of the world
Hmm...still wasn't getting it. Then, one day while in a session with a client who was also having difficulty with the idea of being present, I suggested she look out the window and notice a branch moving in the wind. She said, "How about that pretty flower?" "Yes," I responded, "just repeat that phrase over and over, imagining the peace and beauty of the flower". A window into her soul opened that day. In mine too, as I began a similar practice of taking in one phrase to help me focus my attention inward and assist me in quieting the chatter of my mind. In future sessions and in her group therapy, she shared how unaware she had been of her way of breathing. That simply slowing down and focusing her mind a few minutes a day had actually caused her to change the way she breathes. She had started down a pathway~opening her awareness to an inner sanctuary, a place of safety and wisdom from within.
Over the years, I've used this approach with clients with pretty darn good results. Recently, wanting to up my own meditation game, I was introduced to Vedic Meditation, which is basically what I was doing, but with, oh, 5,000 years of instruction, methods and practice behind it. Vedic wasn’t designed for people whose spiritual path involves being super solitary or detached, but for people who are fully engaged in life. That is, multi-tasking people with hyperactive minds. People with jobs, relationships, families and stuff. In other words…people like you.
To practice Vedic Meditation, you sit comfortably in a chair with your back supported and your eyes closed. You allow your mind to settle down to increasingly quieter levels of consciousness by utilizing the sound of a mantra. There is no focusing, concentrating or contemplating involved and you don’t have to control the mind in any way. The technique feels natural, simple and effortless because you never have to ‘try’ to meditate. You never feel that you have to try to push thoughts away or concentrate on images. The time will often fly by, and over time you’ll learn to meditate almost anywhere, no matter how noisy or busy or bright it is.
Talking about meditation is the easy part; actually creating the space in your day requires a bit of planning.
Would you be interested in a meditation group in this style? If so, please click the button below to let me know or leave a comment. I would like to create the group you would enjoy attending!