by Florence R. Gaia, RN, M.Ed.
Our lives are often hurried and harried with little rest for mind or body. Meditation is a healthy way to slow down bringing a dose of stillness and peace to the cacophony in and around us. But sometimes we feel meditation is not working with runaway thoughts and strong emotions rising up in that “quiet” time.(2) Good news – forget struggling to silence your mind or have no emotions – that’s when you’re dead or enlightened. We can learn to discipline our monkey mind and emotions by changing our relationship to both. Meditation is a gentle way to arrive at unconditional self acceptance, self compassion, self love. It is holding your self literally in a soothing embrace. It’s like being in the back seat of a car with your thoughts and emotions sitting in the front monopolizing, arguing who’s more important…. your Higher Self pats them on the shoulder saying “there, there, you’re OK. Let’s pull over and take a minute.”
Meditation can also be a natural part of your day like sipping your coffee or brushing your teeth, not another chore on your To Do list. Routines can be meditative in nature if you taste the coffee; enjoy the clean feel of freshly brushed teeth.
Here are guidelines. Experiment.
TIME OF DAY: early morning, mid-day, end of day? When is it easy and feels right? Where it fits nicely into your day? I do it after my morning stretches before I start my day, unless I’m rushing off to work at 6am. It’s OK to skip a day or 3 rather than feel bad cause you can’t fit it in. You will get to the point where you miss it if you don’t do it.
POSTURE: what is comfortable, sustainable? Does the traditional meditation pose work for you? Fine. It doesn’t for me due to hip arthritis. I sit up in bed with my legs straight out in front of me, propped up with pillows with a back roller on my back to release back/shoulder tension. Find what works – sitting in a chair, having good back support so you are sitting up straight. Let your open hands rest comfortably on your lap, up/down? One hand over your heart, one on your tummy?
HOW MUCH TIME? Start slow, 4 minutes, gradually increase to 8, 12, 16 minutes or more. Adjust to how hectic your day is. Use a timer to alert you when your time is done. I add the # of seconds of my Birthday – just a little fun.
MUSIC OR NOT? Your choice: Many Solfeggio tones on YouTube, other meditation music, meditation apps OR nothing, total quiet. I like Solfeggio tones as they help stabilize mood/emotions and are geared towards specific intentions: release inner conflict/struggle, anxiety cleanse, stop overthinking, activate higher mind, unlock true potential, cleanse self doubt, deep healing and self love. These tones are specific vibrations of sound, 432hz, 532hz, 852hz, some attuned to the very vibration of the planet entraining your brain. When your brain synchronizes with the tone your sense of well being, peace, being grounded increase and a clarity of mind follows. (8)
INTENTIONS, SPIRITUAL GUIDES, CANDLES, ETC: Again your choice. Yes you can “pray” to your spiritual guides/God, ask, have an intention if that’s what you feel called to or NOT. Let yourself BE where you are. Have whatever meditation objects feel good to you: light a candle, Tibetan bells or singing bowls to start/end your time, burning sage, mala beads, crystals, any special object that has meaning to you, a stone, shell, picture that inspires you.
NOW WHAT DO I DO?
The simplest form is breathing. Yes you do that already but now focus like a laser. Start with hearing the sound of the air passing through your nostrils. Let your jaw relax (oh pretty tight, clenched?) drop a little, your lips part. Feel the way your rib cage expands and contracts with each breath, all those little intercostal muscles stretching getting a little workout, the way your belly rises and falls. Keep attention on your body. You are tricking your mind to focus on something other than thoughts, worries. If thoughts take over again, be gentle, coax yourself back to focus on breathing. If you fall asleep, it’s because you are tired and need rest! (9)Try making the inhale a little bigger, longer while relaxing the exhale completely. No blowing out, no pursed lips. Now you are breathing deeply! (7) Bringing in a mother lode of oxygen to your whole body… oops that locked closet of suppressed emotions is opening…. sadness, fear, anger, love – the body has been holding now wants to release. Hug yourself in a comforting way, breathe. “We need to be willing to work with our disturbing emotions, the ones that feel entirely dark.” (2) You may yell, curse, pound the pillow, cry – keep breathing! You are OK….. Timer ringing….. but I’m not finished…. Add 3 more minutes and BREATHE deeply. If these emotions become more than you can handle alone, please talk to your counselor. This is truly taking care of yourself and realizing you need extra support.
After the release is spent there will be space within you to feel calm. You are accepting all of you without judgment or criticism. You may hear Inner Guidance/Higher Self – maybe not today or tomorrow but it will come. You may even feel an electric energy moving up your spine, down your arms, legs, a tingling in your hands. This is simply your vital life force, your Chi rising up, energizing you. This awakening energy is a natural phenomenon to support you in reaching higher states of spiritual development.(10) Welcome to YOU becoming more fully you.
Meditation as self care will mitigate burn-out, control frustration, think more clearly, get better sleep (6):
- Be kind, gentle, patient with yourself.
- Drop your perfectionism and self-judgment.
- Let go of striving to get somewhere or achieve something.
- Trust the process
1. How to Meditate with Solfeggio Music and use Solfeggio Frequencies
May 13, 2017 No author listed http://meditativemind.org
3. Music Medicine: The Science and Spirit of Healing Yourself with Sound, Christine Stevens, MSW, Boulder CO, 2013, Sounds True, p.32-34
5. Meditation Offers Benefits for Patients and Nurses, Cathryn Domrose, www.Nurse.com, 2/ 22, 2010.
6. Top 5 Benefits of Meditation for Nurses, No author listed, www.nursebuff.com, 9/16/2016
7. Mindfulness of Breathing, No author listed, www.thebuddhistcentre.com, 3/2019
8. Brainwave Entrainment And How It Helps You Meditate, No Author listed, mindvalley.com, 1/6/2018
10.Kundalini Awakenings: Symptoms, Process, Benefits, Kara-Leah Grant, www.karaleah.com, 10/25/2018