When I used to think of meditation, I was absolutely convinced it was totally beyond me. After all, I believed that meditation required a quiet, calm, very disciplined mind. Let me be very honest here, not one of those adjectives would be used to describe my noisy, active sometimes scattered mind.
Imagine how relieved and excited I was when I learned that meditation comes in many varieties, there is no ‘one size fits all’. This led me to re-think the entire meaning and to discern just what meditation is for me.
When I asked myself a couple of questions, it really became quite clear.
* What allows me to become so absorbed that I am both energized and deeply relaxed at the same time?
* How do I feel after engaging in this activity?
That’s it; there really were only two questions for me. Remember that busy mind I mentioned earlier, well the simple fact is that two questions were quite enough. I was off and running with this idea that I could be a Master Meditator. By the way, there’s no need to look it up, I made up that term. 🙂
I asked myself, what absorbs, relaxes and energizes me? Gardening, being in or on the water, walking my dog. To name a few. How do I feel after any of these activities? I feel refreshed, relaxed and just plain good. I get lost in these activities, lose all sense of time and often have little or no interest in what is happening around me. This my friends is meditation.
These activities allowed my mind to rest, and that is very therapeutic. However, I have found that other forms of meditation serve me in other ways. Listening to guided meditation relaxes me anytime I listen to it. If I’m having a stressful day, I often will simply put on a guided meditation and let it run in the background. Whether I am deliberately focusing on the meditation or not, I notice that my stress level begins to dissipate.
In December of 2010, my 23-year-old son took his own life. To say that suicide is traumatic is perhaps one of the greatest understatements of all time. The stress was pretty much off the charts. One of the ways my body and minds responds to stress is insomnia. This has been an issue on and off for me for many years when stressful situations would occur in my life.
I admit that it took quite a while for me to remember after losing my son that I had tools at hand to help myself. However, when I did remember and when I was able to begin using the tools of meditation, I began feeling better. Not fixed, not healed, certainly not over it. But better. And that mattered a great deal.
It’s only been a bit over a year since losing Mike and I readily admit that I frequently need to remind myself that meditation is helpful for me. Sometimes it’s simply too much for me to get out and walk the dog or participate in one of the activities that usually bring on the calm, restful state. However, for me listening to guided meditations helps tremendously. Particularly when I am experiencing insomnia. I use either an mp3 player with headphones or a simple cd player to allow the meditation to play. Sometimes I try to concentrate on the words, other times I simply trust that the meditation will guide me to a relaxed state and a gentle sleep usually follows. If I’m having a particularly difficult time with sleep, I usually put the meditation on repeat and let it play.
Our mind, our body and our spirit all need rest and calm if they are to serve us well. Meditation facilitates this rest, healing and rejuvenation. The more one practices, the easier and more effective it is in bringing on that healing rest. However, rest assured that the benefits are there for the casual user and beginner as well.
I strongly encourage meditation for anyone. Particularly for someone who is experiencing illness, trauma or stress, meditation can make all the difference.