Psychology

Learning To Meditate

With all that’s going on, I’ve ordered both a book on meditation and a book on chair yoga. I’d never even heard of chair yoga before I saw it online.

It hurts me now to get down on the floor. So I need to find something to replace the yoga stretching routine that I did for well over 20 years.

An Impulse To Try Meditating:

Yesterday I was sitting here with Charlie in this recliner. He was sleeping. It was quiet. And after reading a blog post on meditation, I decided to just try it and see what happened.

I closed my eyes and focused on my breathing, slowly breathing in and out. And decided I would also focus on the ticking of the clock. The clock ticking normally drives me crazy. But this time it didn’t. I found a rhythm with the steady ticking meshed with my breathing.

After breathing in and out for a bit (I didn’t time it), I heard the maintenance man doing something outside by his shed. Instead of letting it distract me, I gathered that into my focus as well.

Mentally Gathering Beads On A Needle:

What came to me was when I used to work with beads when embellishing crazy quilts. I recall slipping the beads on the needle one at a time. So what I did, in my mind’s eye, was imagine taking up the sounds of the maintenance man to be another bead to gather on my needle.

I found it very effective. Then I heard a truck in the alley and I mentally gathered another bead onto my needle.

I don’t know how long this went on, but when I opened my eyes I felt so calm and collected. My body was relaxed. I felt settled and at peace.

This feeling went on for hours. So I decided this should be part of my daily schedule, this mental gathering of beads while I focus on breathing.

A Blog Post On Meditation:

I had just read this blogger’s post on meditation. She said that sometimes intrusive thoughts about something that’s worrying you might enter into things. But she said instead of worrying about it, just let it go. Look at it, she said, like drifting clouds and let it drift on by.

In other words instead of giving up, just move on and don’t let your meditation be ruined by thoughts of chores or the pandemic or whatever.

This time is for you alone. It is for your health and mental well being, which can be in short supply these days.

Do you meditate? I’d love to read your thoughts.

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12 Comments

  1. You brought yourself into meditative awareness so beautifully! I loved reading how you focused on each sound as it appeared. And your analogy of putting one bead on at a time is wonderful. I’ve meditated for 25 years, and was trained in Buddhist meditation, and this is exactly what Buddhist mindfulness is: letting your awareness focus on the ‘now’ moment, take note of it, and let it go. So happy for you! And yes, meditating regularly opens one to a calmer mind all day long. Namaste!

  2. Dear Brenda,
    meditation is a wonderful help for many stresses. I recite the rosary several times a week and find it to be calming. I hope your hands feel better quickly.
    Susan

  3. I 2nd Dan Harris’s book and also the app Calm and Headspace. (I think Calm app is a one time fee). The cloud analogy you mention is a common one…. yes, you will have thoughts creep in but watching them float away works for me. Mediation does benefit your mind in so many ways… the nice thing is you don’t need anything special, just a bit of time and the willingness to do it. Even a single minute can be effective. I like your bead on a needle analogy… I also do beading and actually it’s very calming for me. A new idea to add to my meditation tool box.

  4. I began meditation in 1981. It definitely has changed my life for the better. After 40 years, I can remain calm now most of the time without effort. You might like the app from Deepak Chopra. And perhaps beyond feeling calm, you’ll also discover beautiful new levels of inner forgiveness and discovery about yourself. We are amazing and often mystifying souls, we are.

  5. I have never tried meditating but the way you describe how you meditate it sure sounds relaxing. I am going to try it !

  6. I started meditation this year when I felt like I was losing my mind to stress. I’m a caregiver to my disabled husband and 2020 has been a year from hell even without Covid. I discovered Dan Harris (the newscaster) through a book he wrote called 10% happier. The book is about his journey into meditation, his skepticism about it, his fails, life challenges such as anxiety attacks, his first retreat with Joseph Goldstein, and how the benefits changed his life. He wound up starting a meditation site to download also called 10% happier. Its not free, but it includes what I think of as a meditation version of Ted Talks from many different teachers that he interviews along with their guidance in each session. I pick up something new from every session with each teacher. It also includes sleep meditations. Well worth the money paid in my opinion.

  7. I practice meditation just about every day. I find it hard to do on my own, so I use a free guided app on my phone call Insight Timer. What I like about this app is that you can choose from different subjects (sleep, anxiety, stress, etc) and also time, depending on how much you have, or how long you want to go. There’s also guided meditations on youtube.

    Oh yes, chair yoga has been around for a long time. The yoga studio I go to (or USED to go to – haven’t been since Feb!) offers a chair yoga class. Most do. You can also find youtube videos to follow in this regard, too.

  8. Hi Brenda!
    I’m so crippled up now by my Ankylosing Spondylitis that I can no longer participate in activities that I so used to enjoy. Just 10 years ago, going for my 5K run was my way to unwind and meditate, allowing me to rid myself of stress and tension. I also participated in yoga classes on a regular basis.

    I very much missed those activities. As one runs along, it is very easy to get into a meditative state as you hear each footfall. At least it was for me. So what did I replace these activities with now that I walk with a cane (on a good day) or a rolling walker (on a bad day)? Chair yoga and meditation!

    I suggest you go to Youtube and search on the site for ‘Chair Yoga’. There are so many different videos available for free that you can use to start your yoga practice. You will find some are better than others depending on your own physical needs. I used to attend chair yoga classes at a local center near me but the classes have stopped due to Covid restrictions and rightly so. There is no need to gather people together who are beginning to get up in years, especially since we are more vulnerable. I have to take weekly injections of a biologic drug that actually turns my immune system down since it is actually my immune system that is causing this particular form of arthritis. In other words, I can’t afford to come in contact with Covid. With all the wonderful Chair Yoga videos available online, I have just continued my practice at home and combine my meditation with it.

  9. I meditate regularly. I started a few years ago with an app called Headspace, but after a year’s membership, I let the subscription lapse and started using a free app called Insight Timer instead. It’s nice to have a variety of teachers guiding your meditation (or you can choose non-guided, sounds, just a timer, etc.), and if you don’t gel with any one of them for whatever reason, there are hundreds more to choose from. I especially like Tara Brach, Joseph Goldstein, Jon Kabat Zinn, Sharon Salzberg (and more whose names I can’t recall at the moment). I think it really helps to see your thoughts as arising and passing, and that you don’t have to respond or react to them, you can just watch them come and go and return to the breath. I really like your image of gathering beads.

  10. I do, Brenda. I found a free app on the phone called Medito which is very good. When I was young, I did TM, Transcendental Meditation. It was helpful, but I drifted away from it.
    It does calm me down, although intrusive thoughts sure do happen. I very much like your adding a bead process.
    Mary