I’m a bit late to the meditation game. It always seemed a bit whacky to me. To me, enlightenment involves googling a subject of interest, not trying to understand myself. As a true product of the 80’s, things like life balance and living consciously just weren’t on my radar. I did get my aura cleansed once after a massage, which I found fascinating but not exactly life-changing. So, sitting still doing absolutely nothing seemed like a humongous waste of time in my jam-packed day. That is until I tried it. Wow. Now I’m H-O-O-K-E-D.
WARNING: HEAVILY MEDITATED
To clear up any confusion, I’m not considering taking a vow of silence or becoming a monk. But, as I get older, I do find myself more interested in the connection of my body and mind to feelings of calm happiness. Meditation is like a mini mind vacation gushing with healthy benefits, plus it’s really enjoyable. So, here are a few favorite meditations of mine, a totally unlikely meditation fan.
1. Mental Noting meditation
Mental Noting is a great meditation technique for learning mindfulness. It simply asks you to recognize and note what is around you. As I’ve mentioned, I have ADD to the MAX. This means that my mind wanders, making mindfulness difficult. Instead of taking in the atmosphere, I’m assaulted by disjointed thoughts: I should do my roots. I need to wash the dog. I think I have Turrets. Do coyotes mate for life? Mentally noting my surroundings helps me stay in the immediate atmosphere. Plus, it’s easy. I just note what I see: desk, pen, books, picture. What I hear: birds, kids, water. What I smell: tea, cinnamon.
There is no analysis or judgement in this exercise; just recognition of what is. Yes, it seems a little silly. But it brings my jumping mind right into the present; ready to experience this moment, which will never come again and could be missed.
2. Box Breathing meditation
Box Breathing Meditation consists of four breathing steps of equally measured length. Go through each step for the same number of seconds. Here are the 4 steps:
- Breathe in for 5 seconds.
- Hold for 5 seconds.
- Breathe out for 5 seconds.
- Hold for 5 seconds.
3. Visualization Meditation
This technique combines visualizing the good things that give us joy and peace, then meditating on them. I find this type of meditation is a beautiful way to connect with God. I visualize God holding me in his huge hands, blessings raining down on me until I’m soaked and floating in a sea of gratefulness.
4. Best Self meditation
I’m only human. I don’t always handle every situation perfectly. So, when I find myself acting like a complete lunatic, Best Self Meditation helps me to get a feel for how I could have acted in a way that feels more genuine to the real me. I settle into a comfortable position and repeat the scenario in my mind, this time acting in a way I like better. This is not to berate myself or guilt myself into better behavior. This reminds me of who I am and improves the odds I will act differently when given the chance again.
5. Walking Meditation
Ah, this is my favorite – meditating in the great outdoors. Find a beautiful spot to walk and meditate. Start by checking in with your body. How does it feel? Notice your surroundings using your senses. What do you smell? What do you see? What do you hear? What effects do these things have on your body? As you walk, the rhythm of your steps provides opportunities for affirmations, if you’re into that kind of thing.
The list of meditation benefits is long and impressive. By lowering stress levels, it calms anxiety, brightens depression and improves sleep, not to mention lowering blood pressure, chronic pain and heart disease. YOWZA! Now is a great time to get in touch with your inner Yogi. If I can do it, ANYBODY can!