Last summer, when I first started meditating as a form of healing, I was talking to a family friend, Leo, about yoga. It had become part of my practice to do a short routine every day, and he was an avid bikram attendee. I was curious, so I asked him, “When you do yoga, are you able to quiet your mind?” He responded something along the lines of, “No! Of course not. I don’t want to lose my personality.”
In talking to others who are not so familiar with meditation, I have actually found this to be a common misconception. Some seem to believe that by having the ability to monitor and control your thoughts, you must become boring. However, I do not believe this is the case. (Obviously, because clearly I am not boring.) Meditation can bring calm and stillness to your life, but I have also discovered the ability to tap into some incredible energy.
I first started meditating after I listened to Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now last spring. He offers several different methods in his teachings, and there really is no wrong way to do it. Like in yoga, each individual’s practice is uniquely perfect.
The man behind the text…
Like I said, there are so many simple ways to meditate. While you are doing the dishes, simply pay attention to the water running over your hands, the sound that the glass makes when it hits the sink, your feet planted firmly in the ground, and breathe. Observe, free of judgment. By doing this, you may find that your mind was clear of thought for a little while.
Through my own meditation, I have opened myself to the endless energy that this world provides us with. Some is healing, other times it’s just fun. For example, months ago I traveled with my team to San Francisco, and on one particularly rainy night, we did some bowling. Hannah and I were partners, and we were taking on two of our teammates…
I had not bowled in awhile, but I figured I could not be too bad. I was athletic, and that had to count for something, right? So, I got up there, probably overconfident, and immediately hit the gutter. Not even close to a pin. I came to realize that all of the other times that I have bowled have been with the bumpers (and I rock with those). I thought I could redeem myself, but I simply blew. I think I hit a totally of nine pins in the first seven frames. All of my teammates were giving me pity high fives and half smiling to attempt to ease my pain. This did not sit well with my inner competitive spirit. So, I sat back for a minute, and I decided that I was going to look within, and find the inner bowler. I repeated “I am a bowler, I am a bowler.”
All of a sudden, I felt this excited energy flowing through me. I knew I had tapped into something powerful. I stepped up to grab my ball, slid in my long fingers, and cleared my mind. I let the energy take over my movements. My arm swayed backward and then propelled forward, seemingly with no effort on my part. I did not even look at the pins—I knew I had bowled a strike.
From that point on, every time I stepped up to bowl, I channeled that same energy. I found that when I relaxed and let it take over, I did incredibly well. When I started to struggle with it, I hit fewer pins. I nailed strike after spare after strike. I loved it! Hannah and I went from a very deep last to first place, and I ended with a modest 132 on my last round, coming from behind to beat the next closest competitor by one. What could have been a seriously embarrassing evening turned out to be so fun!
Alright, I will get to the point of the story. By relaxing my mind and my endless thought processes, I was able to allow the energy to flow through me. This is something that happens to me at times when I go through my meditation. I will calm myself, focus on my breath, and feel all that is keeping me alive.
I challenge you to try bringing meditative moments into you life. Take the time to observe your surroundings. We are constantly moving around and focusing on getting from point D to point H without enjoying where we are. I made the bracelet below last summer to remind me to remain present in each moment and to be grateful for the opportunity to simply exist.
For you to try:
When I do my meditations, I like to focus on something I am asking for in my life. Say, I am in an off mood, and I want to dig myself out of it. I will follow this general procedure, more or less:
- Sit in a comfortable position, with back straight. Can be in a chair or seated on the floor with your back against the wall.
- Gently close your eyes.
- Focus on your breath. Feel how much air your body needs in this moment.
- Simply observe, do not judge.
- Bring in your affirmation. Breathe in and say in your mind “I am happiness.” (Insert your own intention)
- If other thoughts come in, observe them, and then let them go. Do not be too hard on yourself. Focus on your wish.
- Repeat this affirmation as long as you would like, and feel free to change it up as you so choose.
- When you decide to ease your way back, be gentle. Make your movements slow and precise.
When I am having trouble sleeping, I like to say to myself “I am sleep.” Works every time!
Speaking of sleep, I should probably get some. So, I suppose, that in this moment, I am sleep. Goodnight!