Leavenworth – The Bavarian Village 17 – Meditating Frog in Window by starmist1
Meditation is a wonderful gift of tranquility, happiness and joy that I give myself. Yet time and time again, I find myself putting it off and doing other things. I spend too much time on other projects, looking at just one more web site, reading just a few more pages of my book. Why if this quiet inner reflection makes me feel calm, peaceful and more in touch with myself do I repeatedly skip it in favor of other things?
Part of it is simply habit. When something is a daily habit you tend to do it regardless of what is going on around you. It is an ingrained practice. For instance, I don’t need to be reminded to eat, take a bath or brush my teeth – I do it without thinking. I also read every day without fail –it’s a habit. But some of the things that make me feel good and improve my life are not fully established daily habits yet. I still forget to exercise, meditate and complete my gratitude journal every day. I’m getting better, but I haven’t mastered these 3 things that give my body and mind a lift.
My definition of meditation is simply quiet time by myself, where I slow my thoughts and concentrate on one thing; my breath, a mantra, healing energy, or relaxation. Because this habit is not yet instinctive, I use various techniques to block out the sights and sounds that distract me. As any part-time meditator recognizes, when you slow down and look inside yourself, those little outside noises and bright lights can pick at your concentration and disrupt your focus.
Here are a few techniques and products I use to help me keep my attention from straying:
- Lavender eye pillow: This is one of the greatest gifts I’ve ever received. I don’t remember now where I got my first one, but these eye pillows are great. They are filled with flax seed and lightly scented with lavender. When placed on the eyes they block out the light. The soft, gentle pressure on your eyes relives eye stress from reading, computer monitors and other types of eye strain. I find these are great to help jump-start my relaxation, the cool silk feels great against the forehead and helps keep your eyes from popping open when hearing any distracting noises.
- Headphones with soothing music. Putting on headphones helps immensely by keeping out various environmental sounds like closing doors, running water and cars driving by. There are many restful and relaxing sounds to listen to. Starting with nature sounds like bubbling brooks and the soothing ocean surf, as well as soft, calming classical music (make sure it’s for relaxation and not the upbeat tracks found with some of the top composers). I also enjoy musical compilations’. Two of my favorites are Garden of Serenity which I find very soothing and highly inductive to a meditative state, as well as Medicine Woman which is a louder tune and great for cutting down on outside disturbances.
- Meditate Online. Many of us spend a bit too much time the computer. Since time is what keeps us from our meditation, a quick 5- 10 meditation while online could be the solution to achieving the daily meditation habit. There are many great sites out there, with both voice-guided meditations and musical relaxation. Whatever you prefer, these are great ways to take a mini-vacation from your feelings of stress and tension. These short trips are like practice sessions, reminding your body and mind of their natural state of deep relaxation and calm. Use them to give yourself a few minutes of peace each day.
- Meditation Room 5-10 minute meditations
- Belief Net Guided Meditations
- Meditate with your eyes open. I have done this myself with mixed results. When done in a quiet, slightly dim room like a waiting room, in your car, or break room at work, it can often be effective. This is also a time when a mantra like “Let the light of God heal me, the strength of God protect me, the love of God fill me,” can be very useful. Simply breathing deeply and thinking calming or happy thoughts can also be beneficial.
What techniques and ideas do you use in your meditation practice? What products or practices have worked for you that you’d like to share with others? Feel free to leave your comments here.