Friday, January 25, 2008

Ah, meditation

I am having a good, if sleepy, day today. The rain is a nice backdrop for me to work in, creating a soothing, meditative state. I got up early this morning so I would have time to do my morning pages before making a yummy breakfast (vanilla-cinnamon french toast using whole-grain bread and real maple syrup -- yum-o). I've been trying to cook three meals a day lately, and I find it to be a timing challenge to finish my morning practice before putting breakfast together by 7:15. Starting my morning practice after Sean leaves for work, however, means it's the only thing that gets to utilize my most productive hours of the day. In seeking balance, getting up earlier appears to be the best solution.

Today worked out so well I almost even had enough time for my meditation, but it would have been noticeably short so I held off until later in the morning. And I'm really glad I did -- I got in a couple of hours of freelance work and still had a full hour to dedicate to meditation before lunch. This full hour is something I've been trying to fit into my schedule for over a week as I've been wanting to try out a new meditation recording I picked up -- Kelly Howell's Awakening Kundalini. Oh wow, it's a good one. I was already loving the brainwave techniques she uses and most frequently meditate to her Retrieve Your Destiny "Side B" meditation. Awakening Kundalini uses the same theta-wave meditation music found on Retrieve Your Destiny but adds a guided meditation to it. It starts with an introduction to the concept of Kundalini and instructions on how to use the meditation and what the different breathing techniques are, so the first use is a little time-consuming but let me tell you, it's well worth it. I'm looking forward to seeing how it opens me up over time.

I love meditation. I know for some people it's something they "should" do, something they're "supposed to" do. But for me it's something I truly love with all of my heart. I love the feeling of connection it leaves me with, the sense of cleanliness and purity inside and out. I finished meditating today and I was hungry, but at the same time I felt very FULL. I've spent the past couple of hours almost in a daze because my meditation brought me so into the present moment I'm really looking at things, really absorbing my surroundings. It's a little like being high, but an all-natural, totally reattainable high.

If you have trouble committing to a meditation practice, I really recommend listening to something while you are meditating. First of all, it's a natural timer so you know upfront how long your meditation will be depending on which recording you select. You have no excuse to peek at the clock to see how much time is left -- if the meditation is still playing, you still have time left. I typically shoot for 30 minutes because I like how it makes me feel, how it gives me enough time for that sense of connection to really sink in. In addition to Kelly Howell's meditations, I love the gong meditation on Music for Deep Meditation: Tibetan Singing Bowl. If I'm really crunched for time, then I'll do a 15-minute meditation. For that I typically use the "Deep Trance Meditative Music" track off of Caroline Reynolds' Soul Stretch.

The other reason I recommend listening to something is that it gives the layers of your mind something to do, especially when you're just learning how to meditate. If you think of your mind like a pond, your thoughts usually dance around the surface, causing ripples as they plunk down onto the water. Meditation pulls you down beneath the surface where it's still and quiet. Having something to listen to gives that surface-layer something to be distracted by and allows the rest of your mind to sink into the depths. Or at least that's the way I think of it.

All I can say is that it's the best way to spend 30 minutes each day. AND it makes the rest of your 23 hours and 30 minutes go so much more smoothly, gracefully, and presently. Namaste.

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