Saturday, December 19, 2009

Curious about Meditation: Have You or Do You Practice It? How Does It Work for You?

Definition of Meditation: Close or continued thought; the turning or revolving of a subject in the mind; serious contemplation; reflection; musing. Thought; -- without regard to kind.

Meditation is painful in the beginning but it bestows immortal Bliss and supreme joy in the end.” - Swami Sivananda, Indian philosopher

Yoga is a great thing and meditation is also great to get connected to yourself more.” - Ziggy Marley, American musician

Both of the above quotations could be credited to me. If you had asked me a year ago if I meditated, I would have answered with an emphatic “no.” Even though I have heard and read how healing and important meditation is, I felt it was not for me. However, a large majority of those mentors I revere and follow practice meditation daily. And swear by it and its benefits.

Swami Sivananda’s reference to “pain” describes my first real attempt at meditation. I was attending a storyteller’s retreat and every morning before breakfast we would meet in the large front room of the lodge for 30 minutes of meditation. We would take our places on large floor pillows and were then expected to rid our minds of thoughts (totally impossible). I found out very quickly that this practice was terribly painful for me, even though I was and am fit and flexible.

In the past two years, I have been teaching a Yoga class for Seniors that has not only become quite popular, but has also convinced me of yoga’s power to make me and the other
participants feel wonderful, relaxed, and, yes, has also helped me “connect to myself” more. I am convinced that it results from the deep breathing and the meditative effect of the positions.

And then, two weeks ago I found the audio version of Mark Thornton’s book, Meditation in a New York Minute: Super Calm for the Super Busy. Wow! I am following his rules and techniques for meditation – and I am meditating with joy. I now know why so many sing its praises.

While hunting through the meditation quotations, I found it interesting that the originators’ names were unfamiliar for the most part. Let’s share some:
  • This life that has been given to us as a gift, as such a precious gift. To really try to understand it, really try to recognize it, is the greatest meditation. Through the media of this Knowledge we can tap into our inner sources that are so beautiful.” - Prem Rawat, Indian yogi
  • Yoga introduced me to a style of meditation. The only meditation I would have done before would be in the writing of songs.” – Sting, British musician
  • Meditation is the soul's perspective glass.” - Owen Feltham, British author
  • The affairs of the world will go on forever. Do not delay the practice of meditation.” - Milarepa, Tibetan yogi
  • Meditation is the tongue of the soul and the language of our spirit.” - Jeremy Taylor, British clergyman
  • No great work has ever been produced except after a long interval of still and musing meditation.” - Walter Bagehot, English author

And three more for good measure:

  • The execution of any thing considerable implies in the first place previous persevering meditation.” - William Godwin, English writer
  • The seated lotus postures are an amazing way to go into meditation, or simply just to take a moment to ground oneself.” - Christy Turlington, American model
  • The more intense the nature of a man, the more readily will he find meditation, and the more successfully will he practice it.” - James Allen, British author

If you have meditated before, or are just interested in trying it out, I suggest getting a hold of Thornton’s book. Let me know how it works with and for you.