This quote, from the introduction to The Artists’ Way by Julia Cameron, is one of my favourites on meditation. It sums up why I meditate and what I get out of it.
The first person I ever saw meditate was my mother. She came home from a trip abroad laden with books on Buddhism and took up the practice, sitting on a mat in her room. She told me it calmed her mind and helped her feel less attached to what other people did. These are still two of the best reasons to meditate, and my main motivation for meditating to this day.
Learning to meditate
There are so many books, audios, videos and tutorials on the subject, just finding the right one can be confusing. The good news is, there is virtually no wrong way to mediate, so if you’re looking to start or continue, you can trust that whatever draws your attention will be fine. Just sitting with the intention of meditating is enough. As the great meditation teacher Gurumayi Chidvilasananda put it: “Whatever happens in meditation is meditation.”
There are many ways to meditate
Sitting cross-legged on the floor or a cushion is only one of the ways. Although it may be the most popular and best known, it’s the way I personally use the least. I prefer to meditate lying down or sitting up in a chair. You can also meditate while taking certain actions, for example looking into candlelight or at a Mandela, or even everyday actions like washing (your hands, dishes) or eating something. (Meditating on a piece of chocolate is truly the most delicious experience ever.)
My dh and I recently made a commitment to meditate together daily, which has been a great bonding exercise. The other evening I realised we’d gotten busy and forgotten to meditate together. When I reminded dh he responded: “What do you call that hill walk we did today?” Yep, walking is a great way to meditate too.
Connecting with our inner selves
Nothing brings more clarity to the inner workings of our minds than sitting alone in silence. I am constantly amazed at the insights that arise during or just after meditation. While I sometimes struggle with longer meditations, ten-minutes twice a day is easily doable for me, and the benefits are worth infinitely more to me than ten minutes watching tv and chatting aimlessly. That’s why I meditate first thing in the morning and last thing at night. (I also journal daily, which is another form of meditation.)
It’s becomes increasingly problematic to ignore the inner calls that can arise in and through meditation; those whispers to try this or do that. It was through meditation that I reconnected with my deep yearning to spend more time in the Caribbean during the winter months. Although at first this seemed out of reach, it shifted in time to merely difficult and then to possible with effort.
Never too little or too late
In the world of meditation, it’s a common joke that if you think you don’t have time to meditate, you definitely need to. A little time spent meditating can bring so much focus to other tasks, it’s rarely time wasted.
If meditation isn’t a part of your daily self-care practice, why not try introducing it little by little? There are loads of apps that offer free trials – my current favourite is Calm. Or just search online, on YouTube for example, and try a short sample. I’m sure you won’t regret it.
©️marla bishop 2019
Marla Bishop is a writer and relationship coach. She lives in London UK with her husband and youngest two children, plus Ellie the collie cross & Sparkle the goldfish. You can read more of her writings here: Lilith