Friday, March 10, 2017

Why Meditation is Amazing

Back in the day, I taught Transcendental Meditation as part of the popular trend at that time when the Beatles had moved on from drugs and decided to pursue a spiritual path. Many followed their path in their own journey. Between teaching it to hundreds of people in Pasadena, California, I was able to go on retreats where we would meditate and do yoga extensively. Three years before that I was given the book Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda, and learned about meditation then. Over the years I practiced various forms of meditation. In recent years I had gotten out of the regular practice every day.

It was not until October 2016 that I finally established a regular meditation practice twice a day for about 24-30 minutes each. Before then it was sporadic and not regular. Now it is a regular practice twice a day. If you feel that you want to meditate and yet everything else gets in the way, who is allowing things to get in the way? That was my epiphany.

Meditation is a perfect practice for everyone, especially seniors and baby boomers, as life can become one of reflection in middle age, and going deep might work for some folks. For others, maybe not. We each have our own choices as to what we enjoy.

Why can meditation be amazing? Deep, Silent, Relaxing, Subtle, Opening, Insights, Breath, Awareness, Releasing, Joyful, Peaceful, Stillness, Being, Health benefits, Spiritual inspiration, Consciousness growth, and Creative ideas to name a few.

There are many different types of meditation techniques. We seem to be guided sometimes to what we need to learn about anything, meditation included. If it becomes too structured then it may not allow that spontaneity of Spirit to open up. It may be a combination. The structure of setting aside the time and space and length of meditation and what the intention or purpose is can be helpful in our busy lives. We need to be gentle and loving with ourselves and how we approach meditation. It is usually in meditation that we receive insights into different areas of our life, including creative ideas about our life, our work, our relationships, spiritual inspiration, or how to let go of those busy thoughts and use subtle thoughts, mantras, or words that resonate with our soul on deep levels.

A meditation may take on a “life of its own” and we may only be a witness to where it leads us, even though we had thought before the meditation started that we knew where we were going with it. That is a fun part of the journey.

A few things that I enjoy doing during meditations in general are acknowledging the reality of the Divine Spirit, acknowledging the oneness of my spirit, using subtle or quiet thoughts at deeper levels as affirmations, prayers, various mantras, and gratitude. I also enjoy feeling love opening up as I do this, love of myself, my body, my life, of others, sending love out to certain people, leaders, countries, love of the Divine Spirit, and forgiveness of myself and others that may come to mind that need forgiveness. Certain prayers, either spontaneous or favorites can be used. By mixing it up, and also allowing for spontaneity of letting go of a structured or planned meditation, it opens things up and sometimes allows for a deeper experience. 

Being open to a deeper experience are those moments of meditation in which I am not “doing” anything, such as those things listed above, and just “being in the moment” without thoughts, allowing the silence and stillness of the perceived or known or mysterious presence of the Divine Spirit to reveal itself in whatever ways without expectation and sometimes with expectation.
Another type of meditation that may be included as a part of the experience is visualization. This can be subtle and specific, or a planned story. There are so many types of visualizations and creative ideas about the how, why, and what that it is like a menu of visual possibilities that you can create to use in meditation.

A theme or focus for the entire meditation can also be another approach. For example, a love meditation would only focus on feelings and thoughts of love during the entire meditation. Any thoughts or feelings that come up that are not related to your intention of love can be loved and then let go. A visualization of anything related to love can also be used such as seeing yourself loving your life, the different areas of your life, another in your life, family, friends, co-workers, everyone.

Forgiveness is a powerful process and when done with love will allow for release of energy that you may have had about another person and have carried for years. A "forgiveness meditation" would focus on just that - forgiveness - on anything that comes up that needs to be forgiven. It can be  amazing on how something can be released when recognized as it is coming up in meditation, with love and forgiveness about anything that was said or done. It is a healing process to love those things that are being held in your heart towards any person, political leader, different beliefs, events, or anything that comes up that needs to be loved and forgiven and let go. Another theme would be gratitude. A meditation combining love, forgiveness, and gratitude as the main focus can be powerful and healing.
Meditating in nature can be a powerful experience


Prayers for yourself or others, affirmations, visualizations, and just being still are some of the various ways that we can meditate. It does not need to be structured, or even timed. I use a timer for 24 minutes. Today I did not use a timer at all, and just let go. Sometimes with a timer, I have reset it after I have had so many random thoughts that when they finally settled down, then I started from there.  Being flexible and spontaneous with meditation is always a good balance to the structure and planning of it. 

An Ancient Practice- Yoga and Meditation
The essence of the yoga of meditation is experiencing or acknowledging the oneness or yoga-union of our spirit with the Divine Spirit. It is a celebration of creation happening in the moment, of the eternal love and light that is already here and now, beyond our perception. It is joy, bliss, awakening, and a type of devotion that is unique to you and your relationship to the Divine Spirit. It is an ongoing journey of going deeper into the heart of God. This and many other benefits is why meditation is amazing.