I do no remember learning how to meditate, yet I have always been able to meditate. I compare it to languages. I do not remember learning to speak or read. Yet if I try to read or speak in another language it is difficult. The most difficult thing about learning something new usually isn’t the new concept – it’s getting started on the journey of the learning process.
One of my earliest memories of meditation was during a round of the original Super Mario Brothers. My friend Heather had made it up to world eight – the fire world – almost rescuing the princess. I wanted to help her win, but I sucked at video games, so I suggested we meditate to gather our energies before completing the fire world. How lucky was I never to get bullied thirty five years ago? I had some extremely tolerant open minded friends. I say this because meditation was not mainstream.
My Meditation History
Since I was 16, I have religiously used Dick Sutphen’s White Light Meditation to try to tame my insomnia. This taped meditation incorporates guided imagery and sound. I love that meditation went mainstream in the last twenty years. The older I get, the more it is accepted. In just this past five years, I have been able to meditate at yoga sessions, sound bowl meditations. Some of my favorite meditations were on Oak Street beach and at the Sears Tower with Vacation of the Mind.
I prefer to meditate to sound – music or chanting. For me, it is a restful vacation if even for an hour. I’ve also become so relaxed – I’ve fallen asleep and woken myself up snoring. I just completed (most) of a 21 days challenge with Dr. Monique Spence using Deepak Chopra’s 21 Days of Abundance. The more I meditated, the more I welcomed the relaxation and clarity.
Week 2 of the yoga journey was to practice meditation. Students were to practice three mediations. I chose:
1. Breath Meditation (10 min)
2. Walking Breath Meditation (10 Min)
3. Metta Meditation or Loving Kindness Meditation (A form of Mantra Meditation)
Even though I had plenty of meditation experience, I still learned something. It was still challenging, and I was not always successful at achieving the outcome I expected.
I liked this meditation. I tried it sitting. I usually meditate laying down. This was so much different. I felt more distracted by the noise. I could feel every muscle in my legs. It was not comfortable at first. The advantage to this meditation was that I liked being out of my comfort zone of laying down wearing headphones. There was no way I would fall asleep either. It was not easy. Without music or imagery to focus on, my mind raced outside the meditation down the rungs of my to do list into total anxiety. Flashes of Did I remember to turn the stove off? to random, did I lock the front door? worries automatically occurred. I ended up repeating a mantra until I could concentrate. The other difficult thing about this meditation was I didn’t set a timer. Gauging time broke some of the concentration of meditation.
Walking Breath Meditation:
I chose to meditate on the way to a Photowalk. It didn’t really work. There were too many distractions. I tried repeating a mantra, but could not concentrate. I tried just noticing things and concentrating on my breath, but that did not last long. But just trying to meditate did distract me from the fact I was running late and helped calm me down a bit. The other cool result, was trying the meditation affected my photography. Instead of taking aerial / large shots, detailed shots were popping out at me.
In this meditation, you wish yourself, someone you love and someone you don’t love happiness, freedom, joy and peace. I’ve done one of these meditations in the past, and it was not successful. I tried it again for this assignment. This meditation really doesn’t work for me. My head said – I don’t feel like wasting any of my time on enemies or people whose behavior I don’t care for. I also felt that thinking about people I didn’t like would bring them back into my life. Even to bump into accidentally. But my heart said try it. Maybe I need to practice more, because I did not feel anything afterwards. I started this meditation again using the half-smile technique. I still felt nothing. Maybe this is something that needs repetition.
Variety is the spice of life. While I have experience with meditation, I am no expert. I enjoyed all the meditations. Breathing meditation is my favorite. I will keep practicing the Metta meditation. And the walking meditation – I want to try again on a treadmill.