My goal is to quiet the restless mind briefly now
and then build to a more sustained practice later.
I have had an on-again/off-again affair with meditation. I’ve read about its benefits. Talked with people who have practiced and praised it for what it did for their emotional, physical and spiritual well-being. Closer to home, my bride, Laurie, meditates.
I have gone through spurts of meditating. I have awakened at 4:10 a.m. to meditate for 20 minutes prior to going to the gym. I’ve used tapes. I practiced while sitting and reclining. Walking in the park across from our home or on the beach provided an opportunity for moving meditation. Most of the time I suffer from restless mind.
I’m a work in progress—and I don’t want to give up. I keep coming back for more.
Quieting The Mind
Usually a mantra accompanies a mediation session. It helps with concentration. Focusing on the breath and the mantra (the theory goes) will help quiet (or, at least, slow down) that restless mind. In my renewed quest to become a dedicated meditator, I have come up with my own set of words (my mantras) to use during my meditation sessions. The list appears in the table below.
There’s nothing magical about the words. I purposefully chose positive, encouraging, and emotionally energizing words. Obviously, you could substitute any number of words. The first four (A-D) came to me one morning as I stood at the ocean’s edge at sunrise. The list moves from the mundane to the obscure. Each works for me. Find what works for you. (BTW: “Xerophile” refers to an organism that has adapted to dry conditions to survive. I like the idea of adaptation in difficult circumstances. Again, use what works for you.)
I remembered a mediation strategy I learned years ago. Not sure who suggested it or where I found it, but it helps me quiet my mind while focusing on the positive concepts for the day.
- I slowly repeat each word four or five times. I typically use three or four words, no more.
- I then slowly spell each word by quietly saying the first letter on an exhale. The next letter on an inhale. And so on until I complete the word. I then go to the second word.
- When I have completed the spelling exercise, I slowly repeat the words one more time to complete my meditation.
Yes, elementary. It works for me at this phase of my practice. Perhaps it would work for those considering getting into meditation but are not sure how. I don’t worry about how long I’m meditating. My goal is to quiet the restless mind briefly now and, then, build to a more sustained practice later.
Jill Taylor’s words (in her book My Stroke of Insight) resonated for me. While she was not specifically speaking about meditation I found the words a reminder of what meditation can do: “I welcome the reprieve that the silence brought from the constant chatter that related me to what I now perceived as the insignificant affairs of society.”
Video recommendation for the week:
Listen to Deepak Chopra and his strategies for effective meditation.
Make it an inspiring week and H.T.R.B. as needed.
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My books Choices for College Success (3rd edition) and Study Skills: Do I Really Need This Stuff? (3rd edition) are published by Pearson Education.
(c) 2016. Steve Piscitelli. All rights reserved.