Meditation is sometimes deceptively simple and while SIMPLE is indeed a major component of the practice, the question of “AM I DOING IT RIGHT” is always there. So that’s the best thing for any of us to be able to answer and get it “out of the way.”
The most reassuring things include: going to a simple class; reading a book; listening to audio instructions. In my book: YOUR PERSONAL STRESS ANALYSIS I include easy written instructions for both meditation and relaxation/visualization exercises. And if you’re in Kansas City and want a FREE learning experience, check out the meditation sessions at Unity on the Plaza.
And meanwhile, here are a few ideas to get you started as you reflect on the HOW. And on the RIGHT.
“Monkey mind” is guaranteed. Our minds wander and race around. That is not going to stop but it does begin to quiet down. One of the best descriptions of meditation I’ve ever heard: imagine you are in the back of a truck with no windows. There are 25 noisy chickens flying all around you! Your task is to get all 25 chickens to sit down and be quiet! The biggest point is: don’t expect TOO much consistent quiet. Even if they are temporarily quiet, they will move AGAIN. Consequently, what do you do?
The most simple instruction is to breathe normally and observe the breath by counting silently. Breath in at your own pace to the count of 4 and breathe out to the count of 4 or if works better, to the count of 6. You can also use a mantra or statement you are drawn to. A simple example: repeat to yourself — “I am” as you breathe in and “relaxed” as you breath out.
Then use: The Four R’s of Meditation. They come from Tom Jacobs. He and his wife Beth own and graciously operate TIMBER CREEK RETREAT. You can go there for a day, a weekend, even longer for quiet reflection, instruction if desired, and many other wonderful experiences, including amazing food prepared by an amazing chef….. it’s just an hour away from Kansas City…just google for directions. But I digress.
THE FOUR R’S OF MEDITATION……
-RESIST none of your thoughts…. that means don’t push thoughts away
-RETAIN none of your thoughts …. that means avoid dwelling or holding thoughts
-REACT to nothing; let emotions come up …..that means let yourself fully feel all emotions that arise
-RETURN to your breathing and/or your mantra…..that means when you hold or dwell, just return
And if this is not enough to get you started, just shoot me your questions!