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A Little About Meditation

Meditation by the sea at dusk

The importance of meditation has been known for hundreds, possibly thousands, of years. Many ancient cultures and spiritual practices have incorporated meditation into their daily routines. A great example is yoga. Some types of yoga have a simple meditation like starting and ending the practice with a series of Om’s. Some types of yoga have more extensive and longer meditations called mantras. Kundalini and Kriya yoga are well known for mantras and meditations. Martial arts experts also incorporate meditation as part of their practice.

I believe it is important to have a daily spiritual practice. A daily spiritual practice helps us connect to our Higher Power, God, Source, the Conscious Universe, the Divine Matrix, whatever name you choose to give the Source of all Life. Meditation, prayer, contemplation and mindfulness are similar ways to connect to our Higher Power. I find that I use them all at different times throughout the day. 

Mindfulness is the easiest to use. Anytime you are taking a walk, cleaning the house, or preparing a meal, it is a good opportunity to be mindful. Mindful does not mean that your mind is full, of thoughts or to do lists, or anything else. Being mindful is being fully present with whatever you are doing. An example is drinking a cup a tea while sitting still and doing nothing else. Focus on the tea, really enjoy the tea. Allow those thoughts that arise to drift away. Make sure your phone is not within reach. 

Contemplation is also relatively easy. Contemplating is when you sit still and look at something, really seeing it and appreciating every detail. When you are contemplating something, the thoughts that seem to bombard you drift away easily. You can look at just about anything, the flame of a candle, a flower in bloom, a drifting cloud, a tree, even a blade of grass. 

Meditation in motion is useful to people who like to be moving all the time. People who like to run often talk about a place in their mind that they go to that allows them to focus solely on the run. This place allows them to let their thoughts drift away as the distance drifts away beneath their feet.

Prayer is talking, meditation is listening. I find that the best times to pray and meditate are first thing in the morning and last thing before bed, but any time is ok. Find the time that works for you and be consistent and persistent. It’s like a muscle, it takes practice to build it up. I  prefer the morning time. It helps me get grounded and centered and begins my day on a positive note. Whenever challenges arise, as they often do, I can always revisit that feeling of being grounded and centered and respond in a more positive way. The day seems to be easier to navigate when I start out in this way. On the days that I skip meditating, I notice the day seems to be more challenging.

Susan Duke