Some people get all squirmy and nervous when you talk about meditation. There’s concern it’s not Christian, it’s cult-ish, it’s hippy, it’s New Age, prayer gone astray, it’s drug related, it’s ….whatever.
So, I thought I’d do a pictorial post on what meditation means to me.
First of all, I am not trained in any specific method of meditation. I have no teacher.
I meditate in order to be present and at peace with this one moment. Not looking backwards or forwards, but being here now. I do this because it quiets my mind from the internal dialogue which makes up crazy stories filled with drama and unreal worries and anxieties. I get tired of thinking ten steps ahead of myself, worrying, planning, anticipating. I get lost in the past, I miss my mother, my father, what if I had done something differently, regretting a choice or decision, feeling disappointment and hurt.
I meditate to become grounded, centered. To focus on what I feel is important and worth pausing to recognize and to give thanks for those things. By expressing gratitude I am warmed and softened. I become open and giving. I am humbled and reminded of how many blessings are in my life. Every single moment.
I do, on occasion go to a retreat center. I do, once a week participate in a meditation group. I do, at night in bed, often listen to a guided meditation. I do, with effort and deep conviction try to bring mindfulness into moments of my day. I do read books from a broad spectrum of authors on meditation, religion and spirituality.
Here’s a sampling.
Sometimes I sit here, in a small bedroom upstairs. It is Evan’s old bedroom and it is full of tender memories of childhood and love. When I sit Bruce is often sitting near me. I close my eyes, breathe in and out to quiet myself. To stop the beginnings of “mind chatter” I silently say, as I breathe in and out, “I am breathing in. I am breathing out.” This leaves no room for those thoughts to have a voice. Sometimes this is all I do. Sometimes I just take in all the sounds and sights….just letting them be. Sometimes I let thoughts bubble up, but place no judgement, value or comment on them.
Yoga as meditation. I do Svaroopa yoga which is a specific style of yoga. No pretzel poses. It helps ground me. Literally. My body becomes one of the focuses of this practice. My mind the other. Rather, the quieting of the mind.
The children I work with are often my meditation. Here we are a community being gentle and loving with each other. Learning to be soft and trusting. Learning to give and receive.
Cooking and eating as meditation. Slowing down enough to appreciate and have gratitude for the food we eat. And not just for the food, but for all the people and all the work other people do so that I can buy, prepare and eat the food. Gratitude and respect for the planet Earth which is after all, what allows any of this and us to even be. Gratitude.
Meditation as in pausing and looking up, down, around. Being aware and being grateful.
Meditation as in being fully present for someone else. Looking into their face and eyes and loosing awareness of anything else.
Meditation is about being still. Unmoving. Silent. Being where you are.
Meditation is about seeing beauty in all things. A friend commented she had never noticed the heart shape inside a walnut shell.
Walking as meditation. “Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.” Thich Nhat Hanh
Meditation is sometimes deeper in a place that nurtures your heart and soul. Springwater provides a place to focus on awareness. Time slows down here. Noise disappears.
Meditation is about understanding that you are one small part of something significantly larger than yourself. And finding beauty and peace in that.
Meditation is about creating a sense of and a commitment to peace and sharing it. Peace candle.
Meditation is about having a sense of humor and being able to laugh.
Meditation is about trusting in love and working to grow love.
For me it is about learning how to never take anything for granted. To be planted in the moment and alive and aware. It is about separating from things, thoughts, fears and worries that are done, over with, or not even real. Meditation is about opening, allowing, inviting, accepting, experiencing. It shines light on life and the moment at hand. It fills me up and warms me deep inside.