Mantra or Contemplation

This morning I tasted two separate kinds of meditation.

The first kind was mantra meditation. In this form of meditation, there is generally an introductory thought expressed by the facilitator, followed by a mantra to be repeated as a focus. I appreciate this form of meditation for its simplicity. I find that it is much more difficult for my mind to wander during this meditation. In large part I believe this has to do with my unfamiliarity with the language. When I have attempted to use English as a form of mantra, I do not have to focus on it as much and my mind wanders off.

The second kind was a meditation on being present and non-reactive. In this meditation we were asked to consider, from the safe place of meditation, a situation where we reacted to a person or event. We were to examine the feelings associated with that reaction in order to learn to recognize those feelings as they arise, and thus develop a plan to accept and move through those feelings when they arise. I do not get the same calm feeling of centeredness from this meditation but I think that is, at least in part, the point. I do appreciate this form of meditation as well, though it is more work.

Who are you?

In order to be who you are, you must be willing to let go of who you think you are.

Michael Singer

 
Today I spent 10 minutes in a meditation where I focused on my breathing. I used a free app, Insight Timer, which I highly recommend. With your permission, it turns off the notifications on your phone while you are using it which helps to avoid distractions.

After that, I practiced a focused meditation upon the above quote. I love short quotes like this because there are so many ways you can take something like this. After some contemplation, I decided that for me, in this moment, it means that you must let go of your own pre-conceived notions of self, those established in your childhood, youth, teens, 20s, and however far past that you have gotten. It means disregarding the labels, good and bad. In letting go of the labels, yours for yourself and others for you, you will be able to find your own self of the moment.

Learning Mindfulness

I have been meditating on and off for years. It has been a part of my yoga practice for the last 20+ years, but I will be honest, it was not my focus. About six months ago, I promised myself I would take 5 minutes a day to meditate. Everyone says even that little will help. Two months ago I moved to 15 minutes a day. It was hard. It was hard to make the time; to justify spending my time ‘just sitting.’

I would like to point out that I have no problems at all sitting and watching TV, or sitting and surfing the web, or sitting and answering email. I know that about myself and yet it was difficult to commit to spending 15 minutes sitting with me. Upon realizing what a hypocrite I was being, I took the plunge. I found an inexpensive course online that would last 40 days [they say it takes 30 days to build a habit] and be less than 15 minutes a day.

I am going to detail my experiences from here forward so that I will remember why I need to keep doing this.

The first few days were about paying attention to the breath. This seemed really silly at first. I mean, breathing is something we all do, but they explained that by connecting the autonomic nervous system with the somatic nervous system it forms a connection between your entire nervous system, bringing them in sync and creating a connection. It is also incredibly hard to do! Try it. Try focusing on your in and out breath for say, three complete breaths…without wandering. At first I just could not do it. Now I can, and I am feeling so much more focus in my life.

Stay tuned!

Attachment

Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.

Dr. Seuss

Some truths we know but struggle against. The good Doctor was right. We need to smile because that wonderful thing happened at all, but instead, most of us, end up crying because it’s over. We do our best to keep it alive even as we watch it fade. We are so attached to that wonderful feeling that we just can’t bear to let it go, not even if something even better is on the horizon.

I am working now on appreciating, valuing, and loving, while not being attached to any particular outcome. In order to do this, I am using mindful meditation several times a day, as needed. I am starting to find some peace.

Surrender

To the mind that is still, the whole universe surrenders.

Lao Tzu

I have been known to rush headlong through my day getting caught up in every hiccup and inconsistency the world throws my way. On days like that, it feels as though I am fighting my way through life, each moment an epic battle to create form from the void.

Other days, I find a peace within. I float through the day addressing each thing that comes up as it arises, not anticipating, not mulling over what was…just in a state of recurrent now.

It’s on these later days that the universe surrenders…maybe because I have too.

stillness

To the mind that is still, the whole universe surrenders.

Lao Tzu

feel the air as it enters.
cool breeze touches your nostrils.
lungs filling and warming the chill.
breath catching with full lungs.
warm air leaving.
easing the nip of cold.
lungs becoming empty poised.
breath catching with empty lungs.

moment

emotions are strange things.
i have every reason to be happy
but instead i feel numb.

meditate. close my
eyes and drift. allow here and now
to suffuse me. no yesterday.
no tomorrow. hear the thoughts
parading by. no attachment.

return. back to the day…the now.
feeling happy for this moment.
it is enough.