During my junior year, a teacher, unknowingly changed my life by introducing me to meditation and mindfulness. She taught our adult roles class. She shared a guided meditation with us. We did that meditation in class and then she asked if anyone wanted a copy of the tape that she had used. I took one and have been practicing some sort of meditation, on and off, ever since. Today's list discusses five ways that I use meditation as part of my morning routine... or at other times throughout the day.
1. The garden of my mind - This is the meditation that I use the most. When I am teaching 'relaxation techniques', this is the one that I use. This meditation can work with soft music, nature sounds or white noise. I've even been able to use it while working at a busy restaurant when I needed to take a break to get myself centered again. This is the meditation shown to me in high school, which is probably why its the most common meditation that I use.
Here is how it works. You imagine that you're walking into the gate of a garden. Once you are through the gate, you are in the garden of your mind. You create this garden. It can be any kind of garden that you want. It can be a really manicured and symmetrical garden or it could be could be a garden that is full of wild flowers and trees. Once you've created the garden in your mind, then you spend some time enjoying the garden. It is important to pay attention to the sounds that you might hear and the things that you feel if you were really in your garden. Imagining the heat of the sun hitting the skin of your face and relaxing your facial muscles can help your body to relax. After you've spent a little time exploring your garden then you leave again through the gate and come back into your full consciousness.
I really like this meditation because its simple and because as you practice it, your body learns to relax very quickly. At least that's been my experience. This practice has allowed me to remain calm and peaceful even when there are stressful situations going on around me.
2. Getting in the Gap- This is a meditation program that Dr. Wayne Dyer did about ten years ago. It consisted of being comfortable and imagining a certain phrase. I think he focused on the first sentence of the Lord's Prayer. As part of the practice I pictured the words on the screen of my mind, then I would focus on the empty space between the two words. I can't say that I had any grand epiphanies but I always felt refreshed and energized after doing this meditation. I lost the cd somewhere or I would still do it on occasion.
3. Focusing on a Scripture - I have not done this super often, but when I really want to ponder on the meaning of a passage of scripture, or a powerful quote from a book, then I will do this. Basically, I just put on some soft music and repeat the phrase over and over in my mind. I allow my mind to be open to impressions of what the passage means for me, and/or how I need to apply it in my life.
4. Meeting With Someone - This is probably a little confusing, but I have seen some powerful things come from this method. I generally add this into the The Garden of My Mind. Once I am feeling nice and relaxed, I imagine that I someone meets me in the garden. This is a chance for me to have a conversation with someone important to me and have it go exactly the way that I want it. I have imagined talking with my dad, historical figures, and Christ. As always, I keep my mind open to receive epiphanies.
Whenever I am teaching 'relaxation techniques' to a class, I add this piece. This whole idea might sound cheesy, but I've seen many kids be very moved as they imagine speaking with old friends, grandparents, or deceased parents.
5. Acknowledging Emotions - We've all lost control of our behavior in the wake of intense emotions. I've learned that it is fine to feel any emotion, just not act on it. How do I manage those emotions? The secret is to acknowledge those emotions, accept that I am feeling them and then choose my behavior in light of the emotion. I am far from perfect at this, but on occasion I am successful and being mindful enough to manage my behavior, even if I am angry, depressed, or whatever. I think this is a form of meditation, to be mindful of what you are feeling.
What types of mindfulness and meditation have worked for you?