Bring Meditation into Your LifeKristen Schneider
“Meditation: because some questions cannot be answered by Google.”
There’s an old fable about a hardworking man who carried a huge boulder home from work. The boulder was cumbersome, burdensome, and weighed him down. The huge rock represented all of his troubles and woes. The man decided he didn’t want to bring his burden into his home to share with his wife and kids, so he made a commitment to leave the gigantic boulder near the front door. He assumed he could pick it up again when he left for work the following morning. He went inside, hugged his kids, kissed his wife, and enjoyed a wonderful evening. To his surprise when he walked out his front door the following morning, he couldn’t find his boulder anywhere. He searched high and low. How did a huge rock just disappear?” he wondered. Finally, he looked closely and picked up a tiny pebble. “Is this my boulder? It has become a pebble,” he thought.
Sometimes problems seem consuming. However, give them space, shift your perspective, and more often than not, you realize it was a pebble all along.
Meditation helps me realize I often mistake a pebble for a rock.
“Meditation means to record the positive things of your life. When insults, hurts, flattery, and negative things are recorded the brain becomes a trash can. Train your brain to record the authentic.”
I practiced yoga for many years before I became interested in meditation. Initially, I assumed meditation was an illusory blend of boring, intimidating, and somewhat frightening. I couldn’t be more thankful that I finally moved past that and made meditation a part of my daily life.
The actual act of meditating is relatively anti-climactic, or at least it usually is for me. There’s not a glorious light show of radiant colors, concert of angelic string instruments, or parade of epiphanies and proclamations of wisdom. It is usually just me, sitting there nice and still with a cascade of thoughts, and a few occasional gaps between the thoughts. As the gaps become longer, I feel more and more peaceful. “That’s it?” you ask. “Then why bother?”
Mediation has been proven to spark cellular regeneration. Meditation reduces the effects of aging, memory loss, substance abuse, and stress. Meditation helps us recover gray matter of the brain. Meditation increases focus and cognitive function. Research indicates that meditation aids in psychiatric disorders, mood swings, and sleep patterns. Meditation calms the nervous system, boosts the immune system, and enhances our ability to come up with creative solutions while allowing us to harness our energy all day long. Meditation really does all of that. Even if you only accessed a fraction of those benefits, it would be well worth your time. Meditation has allowed me to feel more composed, trusting, and even-keeled in my energy and mood patterns.
There was a woman sitting under a tree and a man walked up and said,
“What are you doing?”
The woman responded, “Nothing.”
He said, “You should do something.”
She said, “Why?”
Clearly they were on different pages.
He said, “So you can make money.”
She asked, “Why?”
He said, “So you can buy a house.”
She responded, “Why?”
He said, “So you can have servants.”
She inquired, “Why?”
He said, “So you can relax.”
She laughed and thought, “But that’s what I’m already doing.”
“If you have time to breathe, you have time to meditate.”
I am fortunate to teach yoga, and own an Ayurvedic clinic where I have the pleasure of talking with all sorts of people about meditation on a daily basis. The most common comment I hear is, “I’d love to, and I just don’t have time.” We all have a lot to do, but your meditation practice really doesn’t need to consume much of your time. In addition, meditation will promote your ability to function from a place of deeper clarity. Meditation will actually enable you to be more efficient, thereby saving you time. I was at a conference where a world-renowned meditation teacher named David Ji was speaking on the benefits of meditation. David has worked with all sorts of celebrities. He has taught meditation to everyone from Bono to Oprah. He said, “Oprah runs a show, magazine, radio station, and philanthropy projects among other things. Perhaps the busiest woman on the planet – she has time to meditate. But you… you don’t?” It wasn’t until I started meditating that I realized it seems to glide into my day quite seamlessly, and makes the hours around it much easier to process.
“When we meditate we slow ourselves down into stillness and silence so we can finally hear the whisper within our heart.”
The world is a candy store when it comes to styles of meditation. There is no need to feel overwhelmed by all the schools of thought and options. You can do no wrong. Whatever lands at your feet, whatever you hear people talking about, whatever you seek out, whatever you resonate with–essentially whatever form you choose–is correct. For some people, the breathing and Mantra (affirmation) exercise are meditative enough. Other people might explore transcendental meditation, prayer, guided meditations, or Yoga Nidra (guided sleep meditation). Some people like walking meditations, drawing meditations, mindful eating meditations, or even just plain old sitting down with the eyes closed meditation. I’d encourage you to look into Apps on your smart phone. I tend to be archaic in my way of thinking and operating in the world. I still use a paper planner, I write my consultation receipts on Post-it notes, I track my finances in a journal I call my “abundance log,” but when it comes to meditation, paradoxically I embrace technology. There are several free Apps that offer wonderful resources and tools for relaxation and meditation.
“We have to develop simplicity. Love is simple. Awareness is simple. Perception is simple. If you think in complications, life will be complicated.”