Wednesday, December 9, 2015
By Nicol Schnitzer
Meditation …the new buzz word.
I once had a man tell me that I would not be able to achieve the art of meditation. Huh? At the time I did not realize how offended I was by his critique and I wondered if he “achieved the art of meditation.” I decided that I would prove him wrong. Ok, not really. I did not have that much invested in what he thought of me. However, his comment did spark my curiosity and I did go out and buy “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Meditation, 2nd edition.”
What is meditation?
According to my trusty idiot’s guide, “meditation can mean many different things to many different people. So what meditation means for you depends largely on who you are, what you learn, who your teacher is, and on what tradition you base your practice. Many cultures consider meditation an integral part of life, but what form that meditation takes varies widely. For example, many people consider prayer and meditation to be the same-regardless of what religion they practice and to whom or what they pray.”
So what could meditation look like for you? How could you actively use meditation to help get thru the holidays?
There's no time like the holidays to start something new. Trust me, this will be an easy one and will add to the joy of the holidays, not the stress. Some of you might already have a great meditation practice that you have incorporated into your daily routine, and that is awesome. For those of you who feel like I am talking gibberish, stay with me. I believe that everyone can achieve the “art of meditation.”
The main idea for meditation is to learn how NOT to think. This idea can provoke hours of conversation, but for the purpose of this message, please try not to over think not thinking. I like to consider this the meaning of being present in the moment. This can also be mindfulness. For me being present means completely focusing on what is in front of me...not the past or the future.
Meditation is not always about spending hours in the lotus position chanting “om.” Scheduling in 10 or 20 mins for meditation is a great start, keep in mind that the idea of meditation is to create a clearer more focused experience. Taking your daily meditation on the road with you creates the activity of mindfulness. This does not mean that in order to “live your meditation” you need to go thru your day in a fog or out of touch with reality. So often we set ourselves on autopilot and sleep walk thru the day, preoccupied by routines and obligations, never really taking the time to notice where we are, how we feel, or what we are doing. Practicing mindfulness prolongs the effects of your meditation session providing guidance throughout your day that will result in a more focused experience. You will notice where you are, how you feel and what is going on around you. As the card of the month reminds us that “in today’s busy world, it becomes even more critical to set aside time for sanctuary- even if you have to schedule it.”
Starting a meditation routine does not need to be intimidating, there are many ways to meditate. Start simple. Create a space where you can focus on being quiet. Start by noticing your breathing. Allow your breathing to receive all of your attention. If you hear outside noise, understand that this is part of the moment, and not a distraction. Continue to focus on the rhythm of your breathing. The only thought you have at this moment is on the rhythm of your breathing. Now drop your attention a little deeper. Notice your emotional energy. Don’t fall too deep into any one emotion. . With each breath release the negative emotional energy, creating an aligned, positive relationship between your emotional energy and physical body. Simple, right?
I start my day out with a combination of a breathing meditation using my oracle cards. Oracle cards are a great way to receive a message that is for you, and lends to the activity of mindfulness throughout your day. There are so many great resources and ways for to create your daily “art of meditation.” So while I initially took offense to that man's comment, it turned out to be a great motivator that lead me to a very rewarding life activity.