PART 3- Meditation
There are no hard and fast rules to meditation. I consider all practices means to the way, and mental stillness is the only goal. Meditation is a vehicle to intuition- a bike, a skateboard, crawling, can all get you to the same place. So can different types of meditation.
Meditation is a lot like what I was told about personal flotation devices- the one that saves your life is the one you do.
Breathe, release, allow.
But even if your mind never settles, even if you can’t be still- it is the act of trying that will improve your life. Really.
I have chosen meditation to be the basis of and center of my faith, but all meditation is good meditation. Prayer is meditation, there are many kinds of active meditations.
Each day for a short time, however, I do whatever I need to do to get as close as I can to only doing these three things: Breathe, release and allow.
I like to make it special, sacred. I like it fancy, because it’s important to me, it is a ritualized sanctuary I have built for myself and continue to renovate.
Each meditation starts with grounding myself. I light a candle with my intentions first off. This is an action for creating the world/life I want. I set it and let it.
I spray myself and the air with Lavender Spray. This does a couple things. It is a strong association for me at this point, and it lets my mind and body know that it’s time- for the next while, this is all that’s happening.
Lavender is a natural soother- stress calmer, from the mint family and rich with phenols. Before I started distilling Lavender, I would use plain water in a spray. You can infuse water with cucumber, (non-toxic) flowers or herbs, crystals (make sure they’re water safe, non-reactive). The key is to build your body a practice. The gymnast chalks their hands, the runner hears the gun go off, the brain goes into mode. It’s preparation.
The strong association and portable nature also give me a defense from anxiety at other times. The spray instantly builds a moat- I am protected in a sanctuary I carry with me. I have access to this with or without a spray, but as my goal is as much peace as possible, I give myself all the tools I can find- why not take all the advantages possible?
The candle is lit (I use an extra wick, or a stick of bamboo, I don’t like to use a lighter directly), the mist is misted. These are all extras that work for me- but the next three steps are the only required actions.
1.Breathe. The first breaths of my meditation time are just that- breaths. Some days I am conscious of my breathe for several deep breaths in through my nose and slowly out through my mouth. Often, I forget to count, and have just melted into my breath. Other times, it is a concerted effort to keep my mind still, or I’m fidgety, and I will spend the entire time consciously breathing innnnnn and sllllowwwwwly out again. *In through the nose out the mouth might not feel natural at first, but there’s a reason for it. The breathe in cools the hypothalamus and soothes the vagus Nerve. The longer slow breathe out the mouth allows it to stay cool, and further soothes the throat, neck and again, the all-critical vagus nerve (read up about
Either within the breathing or later, I will become aware of my body, either consciously or because of some discomfort, an itch, or something. When this happens, I do a body scan. This is the second key component of my practice
2. Release. The body scan is another piece that helps me immensely outside of formal practice times. As much as possible- and certainly with the scent of lavender, I release my jaw, unclench my teeth, let my shoulders fall. I was given some very good advice to not let my teeth touch. You can’t clench if your teeth are gently and consciously held slightly apart.
This leads to a super key to the sanctuary, releasing the lower spine, the pelvis, the belly and the groin. I was in a constant state of sucking it in since I was about three, and I don’t know when I started with the near constant Kegal- but releasing it all, consciously, regularly and intentionally has eased my migraines, eradicated “normal” back pains and improved the condition of my legs. It’s amazing what allowing flow throughout the body will do!!!
3. Allow. I do this by listening for the Om.
The Om is being broadcast for all who listen. It is nothing more or less than the very sound of the Universe. It’s vibrating silence, and you are tuning yourself, an instrument of all that is.
Sometimes I imagine I am listening for the space inside the atoms- the distance between all matter. It’s a bit like listening to a seashell, or holding a mason jar to your ear. Other times, I listen to the fan of the refrigerator, or the hum of the heater.
Outside of “regular” meditation, I look for glimpses of that temple wherever I can find them. I listen for common sounds of the universe.
Most of the time, I will add some modified tapping, or some other form of bilateral stimulation, often with affirmations, but this isn’t required.
I always end with several deep cleansing breaths. Often, this will include an Om to release, to affirm my connection and to give a final burst of relaxation to the nervous system. Then, I do a last cleansing spray, reinforcing the associations and refreshing myself.
If I’m leaving, I snuff the candle- but more often, I like to keep it going as I work. I’m able to live in the moment, the candle is still vibrating my intentions, doing the work while I chill and allow.
Letting it come is an active pursuit of stillness.
Spending 10–20 minutes a day practicing is the best advice I have for anyone. Even if it never “works” because you can’t quiet the mind or body. Just keep doing it. It’s about the only thing in life I recommend forcing.
Sometimes meditation pisses me off. It’s okay, I keep at it.
Sometimes I never get still. It’s okay, I keep at it.
Many times, there’s not a big experience, it’s okay, I keep at it.
Often, it’s later than I’d planned because I put it off, it’s okay, I keep at it.
It’s tough to remember to carve the (tiny!!) time out when I have guests, or when I am traveling, but that is when I miss it the most. It’s okay, I keep at it.
Thank you for hearing my story, and I look forward to hearing yours.