June 10th, 2015
A couple days ago I read a great quote in the book by Jean Shinoda Bolen called “Crones Don’t Whine” ((I LOVE this title – and that is a WHOLE OTHER BLOG Post in itself)) The quote I want to talk about today is about meditation. She says:
“Long before the gurus came to America with mantras and meditations, women… found time and ways to meditate. It may have been called ‘washing the dishes and staring out the window,’ or ‘folding laundry and thinking,’ or ‘daydreaming,’ or ‘doing nothing.’ It may have begun as having a quiet cup of tea or coffee before the household awoke (or after family went to sleep), it may have been what you did while taking a walk….”
Since December I have been coaching a sweet friend of mine on how to meditate. We met in a Master Mind class. I was surprised to discover how many of the women did not have a meditation practice, some never having even attempted meditation. Equal to my surprise was my admiration of those who spoke with raw honesty. They could have easily not responded or pretended when asked, as I know many others do. Yet these women really wanted to enhance their lives. And they saw through others experiences that meditation works. But where to start? They questioned how do you get your mind to tune in to a different signal when it is so busy with thinking and processing a lifetime of data -All -The -Time?!
The simple answer is – Meditation is only as complicated as you allow it to be or want it to be.
We can train our minds and our bodies to do most anything.
And I also promise that the most profound moments of meditation can occur in the most simple practices. Which is why the above quote by Jean Shindoa Bolen spoke to me.
Sure we can cultivate an in depth, truly ceremonial, practices. And I admit that an observer to some of my solitary and group rituals would see elaborate displays (chants, mantras, invocations, drumming, bells, even tools used from my altars) and feel the power emanating as a result and likely question my statement about great power in simple meditations.
So I will tell you the secret –
- – the secret is that meditation, at least as best as I can tell, is not as much about tuning to a different channel, as it is about hearing and feeling the constant hum that is already present.
It is our signal and direct link to the Universe, to the Divine.
When we begin to remove the layers of noises that drown out this signal, it becomes clearer. And the good news is that once you have uncovered the signal, once you recognize it and understand it is always present, that you are indeed always ‘tuned in’ – you can in any situation identify it, feel it and use it to recharge your power.
To help my friend begin to meditate, I shared with her some simple videos.
The ocean is something she resonates with. So I emailed links to short clips of the ocean in motion. And invited her to sit quietly and watch for 25 seconds, then 60, then two minutes, etc. Just watching. Breathing in as the wave approached, breathing out as the wave receded.
She began to understand that like us, the ocean, is always in motion. Even when it appears still, there is movement, connection, energy and power all expanding. Even in that moment when it looks like the ocean has paused – the moment just before the incoming wave touches the shore and begins to roll back toward the ocean – beneath the surface the wave is still in motion, rolling. Our breathing can be the same. We can hold our breath in that pause, or we can begin to train our breath to roll in time with the inhale and the exhale.
So continuing Jean Shinoda Bolen’s thoughts about “what is” meditation, I give to you:
- Watching the ocean waves for a few minutes is meditation.
- Staring at the vastness of a mountain is meditation.
- Running your hands over the bark of a tree or lifting your eyes to observe the wind through its branches is meditation.
- Following the flight of sparrows and seagulls is meditation.
- Seeing your children play as they go from flower to flower in your garden or up and down a slide in the park, is meditation.
- Counting the varied plants and animals you see on a hike through the woods is meditation.
- Shoveling the snow or mowing the lawn in gratitude for the home you own is meditation.
- Swinging on a swing is meditation.
- Sitting anywhere at anytime and mindfully breathing in and breathing out is meditation.
I encourage you to find something you already love doing and have it become your practice in meditation.
Relax into your body as you quiet your mind.
As you do, you will more and more readily be able to distinguish the hum of connection you have to the Divine within you.
The tone of the frequency, the weight of it, the location it vibrates most clearly in your body.
This resonance will be something you can amplify and oscillate at will.
I also encourage you to try new things, perhaps at first uncomfortable things and you may discover that:
- sitting at your altar chanting “Om” or “Ateh” or “Malkuth” is meditation.
- developing and reciting a daily mantra is meditation.
- participating in the routines and rhythms of a Yoga class is meditation.
- drumming in a circle with friends in sacred worship is meditation.
- dancing to ecstatic music is meditation.
Aho, Namaste and Blessed Be.