"Try a little harder to be a little better. Your goals/dreams only work when you do. The Lord helps those that help themselves."
My quest for health and happiness has taken me farther from these philosophies and closer to peace. I used to pray with earnestness and goal-set like the world depended on it. For I thought that it did. I thought my personal accomplishments kept my little earth on its axis and the survival of truth in orbit.
|My focus is no longer on Becoming but simply Being|
And then I learned to meditate. All my life when learning about prayer I'd heard the addition to wait and listen and to meditate and quietly ponder as well. But did I do that? Not well. I was a Do Do Do-er and not much of a listener, I now acknowledge.
But gratefully at about year 35 I finally had the necessity in my life to do just that and it's made all the difference in feeling okay with the present. Not just forgiving myself for the past or making hundreds of goals and wishes for ways I can be better, but really being grateful for this very moment.
It's had to be a matter of practice and discipline, and quite honestly works best when forced upon myself with a timer :). I started with 10 minutes and have worked my way up to 15. It is my own personal practice which is a combination of yoga stretches that release tensions particular to my body as well as slow deep breathing and flow of thoughts. I let them come and I let them go but I keep my mind clear. It was hard at first, but so comforting after the first few minutes when anxiety and ruminations have gone.
I have found myself to be happy with right now. With me right now. With where I live and sit this moment and the geographic location we spend our daily lives in. It is all very good, it is a blessing and we are thriving in this moment.
When I have insights that seem like pure light I write them down in my journal. Do you want to meditate? Here are my tips to find your personal practice.
- Take a yoga class or several.
- Rent or borrow or watch on YouTube different styles of yoga. I especially enjoyed the ones tailored to older adults or those with limited mobility because they stripped it down to the simplest techniques.
- Notice the parts of your body that feel particularly tense or feel particularly relieving when stretched.
- Write in a journal your prayers, or if you aren't religious write your dreams or your wishes or the things that cause you pain.
- Write regularly so that the thoughts that take up space in your mind can find a new place to live and your mind can have clear space to start to sort out solutions.
- Observe your "self talk" and steer it towards supportive sayings you would use to kindly support someone else if it was an outside conversation.
- Make a playlist of music that makes you want to dance or puts a smile on your face.
- Read books about meditation
My purpose with this list is for you to have an information gathering phase to see what ignites your spirit, or calms it, or gives you insight. Over time, through this discovery you will find what speaks to your soul (as well as what grates your nerves--that's good to know too!).
In kindness to your busy self start small. Even 5 minutes can feel like a long time if you are used to bustling about in busy-ness to accomplish tasks all day. But 5 minutes is a place to start. Set a timer on your phone or wherever you have one and shut your eyes to begin your meditation. Since I am physical I have found that I need to stretch and feel my physical space while my brain shuts off. For some, holding an open hearted posture brings the stillness. This is one of the many things you will determine as you practice day to day by trial and error.
I am still in the early phases of developing my meditation practice, but I am up to 15 minutes. Woo hoo! I resist it for all the same reasons I resist other things that are good for me but when I discipline myself enough to do it I have every single time been grateful afterward. Many times I have insights that feel like small miracles. But even on the days I don't I have a peace that I am okay and I am enough and I can't seem to get that without it.
So I encourage you onward! Meditation is learned, but this process is really a self discovery and so worth the practice.