I had an opportunity to meditate with a group of senior citizens today. It was part of my class at a local assisted living center. We sat for a few minutes and it gave them a chance to be with their thoughts and breath and in the stillness of the space, hopefully find some peace.
I have reconnected with my meditation practice a great deal over the past week. I’ve found that it’s giving me a chance to connect to faith. I don’t mean “faith” in a religious way; it’s more of a sense of believing that things will happen. I’ve also found that my meditation practice has given me a chance to connect to some of the not-so-pretty feelings that I sometimes have. You know, things like fear, uncertainty, jealously, anger. I remember in recent Women’s Wellness Group, we were talking after our meditation session and the “ah-ha” moment of the night was from one of the women, who exclaimed,” I feel angry!” This to her, was a revelation, because although she acknowledged a particular situation was upsetting her, she hadn’t yet identified why it was so upsetting to her. Once she could realize it was making her angry, it gave her a chance to begin to move forward with processing the emotion.
We all know what it’s like to throw our feelings under the rug. We also know what it’s like to run through life, too busy to acknowledge how we feel, unless of course, we let things get to the point where we are forced to our knees, the proverbial “breakdown” we knew was imminent but we refused to do anything about until our body just fell apart. While many think that meditation is a way to clear the mind, I’ve found it’s also a way for me to sit with my feelings and acknowledge them. It’s helped me realize how I can be with my feelings without having to necessarily do anything about them. Rather than attacking everything from a place of reactivity, it’s given me a chance to process my feelings or just wait for them to fade. As we all know, things can change in an instant and that feeling of jealously can be replaced with one of pure confidence and self-assuredness within a brief period.
I also love meditation for its ability to help me connect to a feeling of optimism. In the silence of my breath, I find that I’m able to relax and visualize. I’m able to see things clearly and even dare to plant a few seeds of intention. It’s one thing to map out a plan and strategize but it’s another to sit with your breath and visualize your future without the trappings of your laptop or lists, but with the powerful energy of your intention and focused attention.
I’ve also found that having a mantra can be a very effective piece of meditation. There are Sanskrit phrases, like, “Om Namah Shivaya” which translated, means, “I bow to Shiva, who represents the inner self. “ What a wonderful phrase to repeat to oneself as your meditating as it reinforces your sense of inner confidence! Another thing I like to do is use a word that represents something I’m focusing on in that particular moment; it could be “forgiveness” or “peace” or “faith.” But having it as a mantra, repeating it in my mind while sitting with my breath, only allows me to further make it part of my being.
If you aren’t sure you can meditate, try using a CD, i phone application or even just set your alarm clock for 5 minutes. This will help you relax, knowing that you don’t need to worry about how long or when to stop. Don’t deny yourself this powerful tool because you think you can’t do it. You can! The only place to start is where you are, which is right here. And, that’s the place you’ll start from tomorrow and every day that you come to your seat. The only place you can start from is where you are right now. See, now isn’t that a relief?