When I first experienced the crippling effects of anxiety and depression I learned about chanting from my Buddhist friend. I was so desperate to not feel the way I was feeling I finally gave in to trying it out, although I thought meditation and chanting were only for “spiritual people.” She took me to a gathering where I did my first group meditation, collectively we chanted. We chanted for longer than I even realized. I was surprised and amazed at what I beautiful experience it was. The sense of peace and power I felt by hearing and feeling the voices vibrate at the same time. It was magical.
I then decided I would try out this “chanting thing” on my own since I had such an eye-opening experience. I started by doing it every night by lighting a candle, sitting crossed leg on my bedroom floor, closing my eyes and chanting, “Nam-myoho-renge-kyo” over and over… and over. It was so hard to stay focused and “keep my mind free from thoughts.” I am by nature a restless person with a very active mind. However, I kept at it. I even started chanting when I felt super anxious. Breathe, observe your thought and let it pass, re-center, I kept telling myself. I read something that stayed with me and kept me going at the time. The quote said something to the effect of, to become clear your murky waters (of the mind) must settle. I found this similar quote for you online.
“If you let cloudy water settle, it will become clear. If you let your upset mind settle, your course will also become clear.” – From Buddha’s Little Instruction Book (Kornfield: Bantum Books, 1994).
I did this over and over again an endless amount of times. Before I knew it I was able to put myself in a meditative state. I was able to control my thoughts, not let them control me. I was able to sleep much better. In time, it has helped me in so many deeper ways that I will not get into here. It was not an overnight process. It took time, commitment, and effort as most rewarding things in the life do.
While there are many practices, theories, ways to meditate and place yourself in a meditative state, this was where my journey started. If you are new to your spiritual journey, or you are looking to deepen your practice by expanding into mediation or recommitting back to basics, I encourage you to try it out. Commit to it. Commit to your practice, commit to yourself!
Here is some info I have learned over the years about mediation. This is my understanding and summary of some points to help you. I won’t go into studies, research or numbers because that’s not how I want to use this time, but please know there are tons of studies and science backing it up that is easily accessible for you to research.
What Are the Benefits of Meditation and Is It Easy to Do?
Meditation is a tool or practice to help you bridge your conscious, subconscious, and unconscious mind.
Meditation can help you with manifesting and attracting what you want in your life, remove things from your life and inner being, and bring awareness of your resistance or blocks to allowing these processes to happen.
Some of the benefits of meditation I have experienced, and you may start to notice too, include (but definitely not limited to): healing, an increase happiness, manifesting my dreams, increased self-awareness, decrease in the effects of stress, relief from depression and anxiety, improved energy, improved sleep, improved performance, more self-acceptance, self-love, and self-control, aided weight loss and healing from medical issues, feeling more peaceful, feeling empowered, feeling fulfilled, and feeling a connection to the universe and all beings.
There are many forms or types of meditation. The ones I use in my daily practice, alone and in groups, include visualization, guided, mindfulness, breathwork, chanting, and prayer. My favorite type is guided because it is easier for me to listen to someone’s voice and bring my awareness back when my mind starts to drift. I am also a visual person with an active mind so I vividly visualize throughout the guided mediation. Or I use guided meditations for sleep. It is easier to listen to while I relax. Guided meditation before sleep is also great for reprogramming your subconscious mind. When you are relaxed in the theta state right before sleep you are more susceptible to new information. I teach more on reprogramming/retraining your brain in my online individual and group coaching.
Where to Start?
I found a good place to start when learning and practicing meditation is by focusing on your breath. Breathwork by no means has to be complicated.
It can be a simple practice that can be practiced at any time anywhere.
Another simple, yet powerful, practice to start with is Mindfulness. Mindfulness helps to bring deep awareness into the here and now so you are fully able to experience the present moment. Many of us get too caught up in the grind of life, the have-tos, to-do lists, and chatter of our minds that we are not truly present in the moment. We often operate on autopilot mode.
I hear some people say that they can’t meditate, or they don’t like it. While I believe everyone is capable and can benefit from meditation, I also believe you should use what works for you and what you enjoy. Mindfulness is a practice that can be used anywhere anytime. It is about being conscious of yourself, what and who is around you, observing it, taking it in. If you are focused on stress relief, healing, and growing in mind, body, spirit then you might enjoy practicing mindfulness and breathwork on a walk at the end or beginning of your day.
I do this before or after dinner time with my son. We go for a stroll and consciously breathe into our bellies as we point out what we see, smell, and sense on our walk. Sometimes we would even play “I spy with my little eye” game where one person describes what object they are looking at while the other player has to look around and guess.
These are just two simple, practical methods to start with and add to your tool belt of techniques and coping mechanisms.
I now incorporate many different meditations and breathing techniques into my practice and with my clients. I meditate every morning to set my intention, align my energy, and fill myself up. With my clients I typically have them participate in the “Ha” breath before a Reiki or coaching session to move stagnant energy out and get into a relaxed state. Depending on my clients’ needs, I will teach them other meditation and breathing techniques.
Hope this gives you a few good ideas to help you start incorporating meditation into your daily life with yourself and kiddos.
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