Learning to Meditate – Daunting but Doable​

Queen Ann's Lace

Some people love the idea of sitting in one place and emptying their mind of all thought but for me, the task seemed daunting.  How could I possibly not think of anything for twenty solid minutes?

For a while, I was going to throw in the towel on meditation but it’s getting easier.  Like many disciplines, it is one which requires some serious patience with self.  It also has many styles and methods and it takes time and a little research to figure out which works best.  Because we all have such different restrictions and phobias, the process can be tedious.  I’ve been at it for over two years and finally I’m settling into a bit of a routine.  I have in no way mastered it yet.  My mind still flutters about but I’m actually beginning to enjoy and look forward to it as well as finding it of some benefit.

Part of the issue is making it important enough to put in the routine and when you have a busy life and a busy home it’s not always simple.  You need some quiet time away from distractions and a good set of headphones.  I’m settling into a bit of a routine and have made it a priority.

I’m sure the great yogis could tell all sorts of great benefits but for me, the most notable advantage is the very slow learning to live “in the moment”.  Some added benefit is new tools in my proverbial toolbox to deal with the anxiety which arises in me so easily.  If I don’t get control of anxiety it begins to rule me and leads me down a path toward depression and dark places I no longer want to go.

When I first heard the phrase “In the moment” a few years ago while reading a book by Echart Tolle, he and the book took flight across the living room.  I just could not grasp the concept and that made me so angry I threw the book.  Now, a few authors, teachers and some different approaches later it is beginning to sink in.

Perhaps those of us who live with mood disorders have a little more trouble learning to live in the moment.  Our minds are so busy racing backwards and forwards that most of “the time we miss “the moment” entirely.  Hence the promotion of this concept in mental health treatment.

Now that I’m beginning to get it I see the benefit though I’m still a long way from mastering “the moment”.  It is becoming easier to concentrate during a conversation.  I used to walk away from an uncomfortable conversation feeling trampled on and often it took hours or even days or weeks to sort out why.  Now I am better at being right there and working through the emotions and the logic during the meeting. Sensible responses are not quite as long in coming as they used to be.

While Oprah’s friend Tolle made no sense, similar teachings by Thích Nhất Hạnh seemed to hold my attention and appeal to my understanding.  Thick Nha ‘t Hanh seems to speak my language. It is worth seeking out other teachers until you find the one who speaks to you.

It seems just meditating on my own is almost impossible, at least yet.  I seem to require some sort of guided help and have found quite a few I will share below.  The better teachers don’t allow you to get stuck in having to “clear your mind” but rather emphasise that when you drift off in thought to just bring it back, usually by using your breath as the focal point.  They treat it like it is part of the normal process and since I found that way of teaching it I’m less likely to beat myself up and give up the whole thing.

Below is the list of guided meditations I have been using recently.  If you are interested be sure to be kind to yourself.  Start out with shorter meditations and work up the longer ones.  Take note of the ones which work for you.  Some will be better in different situations and times.  Recently I’ve been trying meditations for sleep which is better than taking medication to make me sleep and they are working.

(If you have sites that you have found helpful please share in the comments in Word Press so anyone who reads this can have access to them.)

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About Peggy Guiler

You just never know what show up on my blog. As the name implies it is about the stuff of life just like Spilt Milk. Everyday events spark thought and contemplation. Special events in the community, the country or the world may strike a cord and get me talking. Sometimes it's about people in my life or circumstances, sometimes about my garden, sometimes about a book or a political issue. Always it's about something I am passionate about. In my business, River of Hope Enterprises, I work as an "Associate Certified Coach" (International Coach Federation), a trainer, consultant and speaker. and soon to be, spiritual director. I also drive a school bus to keep the wolf from the door while I build my business. I love the kids on the bus (most of the time). My family is grown and I have three grandkids who thrill my heart but I don't get to see any of them very often. Circumstances of life have made "family" difficult. My son died by suicide at age 16 in 2000 and the strain on our family relationships since has been huge. Mental health is a field where I worked for almost 20 years and where I still do some consulting and training. That combined with my own battle with depression and my son's death weave together to form some of my greatest soap box items: suicide intervention, suicide bereavement and peer support in mental health are right on the top of my list. Social justice is an underlying passion. Keeping the wolf from the door as a single parent was full-time work and my career path as a journalists was augmented with cleaning contracts, cooking, retail clerk, and bartending. I have known hard work and am grateful for the experience and perspective it has given me. My own passion for learning has now taken me toward a new field as a Spiritual Director. I am studying with the Ontario Jubilee Program. This new field I believe puts all my talents with people into one place which and may​ become something I can continue into retirement. Supporting people is what I do best. Woven into all of this is my love of writing. Trained as a Journalist, and having worked in the field as a freelance news writer for many years, I have a great love for writing. This blog is a new beginning for me. As I hone my skills and begin to form a daily discipline of writing I hope it will lead to more writing in the future.
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