What is meditation?
I have been talking with many of you about meditation lately and how you might bring it into your life on a regular basis. Meditation is one of those practices that may take some special planning to make time or space for it at first, however my hope is that it eventually becomes a regular part of your daily life. In addition to, or even rather than, spending a seperate 30-mins a day for “meditation,” you may find yourself regularly checking in with your breath, taking a couple of moments to “go within” and identify your feelings, or becoming more aware of bodily sensations that are sending intuitive signals for you to pay attention to.
As I discussed in the blog about yoga, I’ll give you a brief history of my meditation practice and experience. I actually began to explore meditation as an extension of my yoga practice. During Savasana, the final relaxation pose in all yoga classes, I enjoyed the quiet place in my mind that I encountered when I would allow my body to settle down and accept that I didn’t have to DO anything in those few moments. I noticed that insights, clarity, and deep knowing would come to me during that quiet time. As well, emotions that had been suppressed due to having a young child I was responsible for and a billion other things on my plate, would come up and oftentimes, spill right down my cheeks onto my yoga mat!
So I thought to myself, “there might be something to this meditation stuff!” Over the past 6 or 7 years, I have sought different ways to learn and experience more. My hypnotherapy training included regular meditation practices to help keep our minds and bodies clear as we dug deeper into unconscious studies. A couple of friends of mine and I decided to meet a couple of times a month to meditate together and experiment with different forms. Then my yoga teacher training enhanced my other learning and experience and deepened my understanding. Meditation was an obvious benefit to my clients, so I began to talk more about it in my private practice and eventually created the meditation CD that is now a free download on this site, offered classes for a couple of years, and am now in the process of making it more accessible to all of you online through my newsletters and blogs.
Today, meditation is a way of being for me, rather than an event. If I need a few moments, I just close my eyes, breathe deep, and I’m there. If I prefer guidance or need inspiration, I’ll listen to a guided meditation. This does not mean I exist is a zen state 24/7! Far from it!! But when my thoughts take off, or I feel that uneasiness in my stomach or my heart, I reach for a few quiet moments with my breath. It has become a life-raft of sorts that can pull me out of a confusing place much more quickly than in the past when I would sit in my thoughts and try to “figure it all out.” What a relief it is to not have to place such a heavy burden on myself!
I created the video below to give you a brief introduction to meditation and outline the common benefits. This is a foundation for you to begin to find a practice that fits your personality, lifestyle, and needs for peace, calm, and clarity in your life. So whether you struggle with overwhelming thoughts, distractibility, busyness, fatigue, spiritual disconnection, or self-neglect, giving meditation a try will benefit you, even if you doubt in your ability. For more information on creating a home meditation practice for yourself, click here.
As with any new behavior, practice helps to improve your performance and your experience. Start small, just 1-5 minutes as a time, and gradually add in more time and more frequency. The benefits build on themselves, so once you experience the shift in awareness that comes with relaxing and focusing on your breath, you will want more. Try not to limit yourself with too many rules. Allow your meditation practice to evolve as a reflection of your own unique self. The only requirements are breathing and allowing your thoughts to pass on through without judgement or attention. Add in music, movement, guidance, scenery, or a focal point, posture, or word. Whatever helps you to relax, just BE, and enjoy it. Have fun!
Click here to read the full transcript of this video
What is Meditation?
Hello, I’m Wendy. I am a Marriage and Family Therapist in private practice. With many of my clients, I talk about meditation and the benefits that it can have when incorporated into your life for stress management, as a part of a self-care practice, and really learning to take time for yourself, take a time out, and learn how to deal with all of the stressors in your life.
So what I wanted to do today is just talk for a few minutes about meditation. Many of you have questions about it and wonder what it is and how you might incorporate it into your life. So, I just wanted to give you a little introduction today of the techniques and the benefits and how you can use it in your life.
Then I will be posting more meditations on my site that you can practice with me and really begin to incorporate it. So for today, I want to help you understand what meditation is. Basically, the goal of meditation is to begin to spend more time in the present moment. And how we do that is through some sort of anchor, usually with your breath, or it can also be a particular word that you use, or a guided meditation. Or focusing on a visual or creating a visualization in your mind. [These tools all help] to begin this practice of detaching or observing all of the thoughts that run through your mind, all day long, that we all experience, that can seem to take over at times. And begin to be the observer of that process by coming into the present moment and spending more and more time there so that you begin to see those thoughts as “just thoughts,” and having more power to make choices about what it is that you would like to do regarding those [thoughts], and what would be the direction that you want to take your life in? Also, as you go back out into your life and all the stressors that you deal with, having that experience of coming into the present moment, being right here in the “now,” you can have access to that out in your life even more often than you normally would if you didn’t have that meditation practice going on for yourself.
Many benefits occur with meditation. It helps develop clarity about what it is that is really true for you, it helps you develop a stronger spiritual connection, it helps you get more in touch with who you really are, and experiencing again that present moment awareness of what is happening right here in this moment, what is it that I really need to be doing, or thinking about, or feeling about right here in this moment versus being focused on the future or the past, which tends to fuel most of our depression and anxiety. So, in beginning to release some of those old patterns, meditation can be a great way to just practice something new and different and free yourself from the prison that we can sometimes put ourselves in with all of our worries or all of the things that we regret, or wish we had done differently.
Meditation doesn’t take very long. You can do it in 1-minute, you can do it up to 30-minutes; you can do it every day or a few times a week. It’s really just about starting, and incorporating that practice in whatever way works for you. I hope you will give it a try, meditation can be such a great way to just bring that joy, that present moment awareness, and that clarity for yourself all into your life and put you on a path to be more empowered and more in a place to make good decisions that are really true to you. I hope you will give it a try! Thank you so much for watching!