I know very well that meditation is good for me. It’s an art of balance I need in my busy, crazy life, with my volcano-like nature. It helps me compose myself, soothe nerves, get creative, heal myself and feel joy without reason. I know meditation is necessary for my better understanding of the surrounding world but, most of all, for achieving inner peace and self-acceptance and radiating unconditional love for all. I know meditation makes me feel rested and powerful. It helps me believe in my dreams and justify my choices. I know all that and yet can go months without meditation.
Over the years, I learned so many ways to practice meditation and, still, it can happen that traveling, moving to another home or getting preoccupied by an exciting project makes me put aside my routine. So I want to share those ways so I can recall them better, and you can learn as well how to practice mindfulness even when your schedule is crazy busy like mine.
And remember, meditation serves the purpose of stopping our crazy drunk monkey mind from running with thoughts all the time. What we think about most of the time doesn’t serve us. We meditate to quiet our mind enough to connect with ourselves and get back to the source of our being.
Wake up with a Stretch
After your alarm rings, take a minute to stretch as slowly as you can. Say hello to every part of your body, being grateful for your toes, feet, calves, working knees and strong thighs. Be appreciative for your butt, stomach, liver, lungs and heart. Get excited that your arms are long and that you have both hands and each end. Turn your neck from side to side and top to bottom and take a deep breath. Say: “Good morning, life! I love you!”
Breathe It Out. You Can Fake It!
Deep breathing is one well-known meditation practice and is especially recommended when you get stressed out! What you need to do is to fake that you are meditating for 10 long, slow breaths—that’s all! Do you think you can do that?
Give Thanks for Your Blessings
Before the first bite of your lunch, take a moment to be grateful for the food you have in front of you and abundance of nourishing meals you eat every day! Think about how this meal will help rebuild your organs and tissues. Think about the loving power of the planet feeding you and then enjoy your meal, knowing you are taking care of your body well with the best food!
Before Going to Sleep
Think about the whole day you just had, what lessons you learned and what would you like to improve in time. Be thankful for all that happened. Then pick one of your dreams and add another exciting, colorful detail to the picture. With that thought, drift off to sleep.
All those simple practices are part of my daily meditation—even after a busy and exhausting day—because I know this is especially when I need to cleanse myself. It takes just a minute or two, after all. I understand many think meditation requires sitting in a quiet room for an hour while trying to empty your mind, and that’s true, too. Still, I want you to recognize, that simply breathing and trying to fake it for 10 long breaths is a great way to start!
Now, if you would like to explore other ways to meditate, here are some of my other favorites. I often pick whatever I’m able to put my attention to, depending on what sounds fun at the time. Otherwise, I would never meditate! Are you ready to have some peace now?
This is one of my favorites! Over the years, I’ve amassed a great collection of recordings designed to take anybody by the hand and, step by step, bring him or her to a state of relaxation in which visualization is such a pleasure. With soothing and hypnotic music in the background, it is very easy to fall deep inside, so external sounds and affairs become distant and almost unreal. With some practice, you soon will become a master of meditation!
One thing to remember is to chose guided meditations that take you for cosmic, wonderful journeys inside yourself or to meet your higher self, instead of meditations that double as lectures. The reason being is that during guided meditations, we become vulnerable to any suggestion and, in my opinion, teachings should be listened to with your critical and open mind on. Exploration of the inner world, however, is totally freestyle, and following well-designed guided meditation is risk-free because you are the creator of your own truths!
Most guided meditations are designed to respond to certain intentions. So you can meditate for health, loving relationships, abundance, career success or to increase your psychic abilities and take a quantum leap on a cellular level. You can meet your spiritual guide to ask a specific question, share a problem or clear some blockades you know don’t serve you anymore. You can also meditate to increase your energy flow by clearing traumas from the body’s energy points. Intentions are limitless, and it all depends on what you need at the time and what you would shift your attention to.
Ahh Meditation—the Creation Meditation
This is a very special guided meditation, revealed by Dr. Wayne Dyer, who shares the secret of the ancient “Ahh” meditation technique, known as a meditation of manifestation. In all languages and religions, the sound of the Creator is the same—the “Ahh” sound (God, Buddha, Jehovah, Krishna, Rah). Meditation connects you to the Creator. You’ll learn the power of the “Ahh” sound to connect to the abundance of the Creator and the Universe and to manifest miraculous change in your own life.
During mantra meditation, you repeat a calming word, or mantra, silently or aloud. This is a great way to quiet a busy mind and replace thoughts with the repetition of the mantra, which will replace all busy thoughts and help you shut out the outside world, thus calming your mind and body. Choose a calming or exciting word or phrase, depending on your need. Repeat it over and over to yourself to prevent distracting thoughts from entering.
Say things such as:
- “I smile and impact someone’s day positively.”
- “Every moment, I’m getting better and better!”
- “I release all things out of my control.”
Try mantras with everything—while eating, having a conversation, taking a shower, driving or even having sex.
Two of the Most Famous Buddhist Mantras
Om Mani Padme Hum:
It is very good to recite the mantra Om mani padme hum, but while you are doing it, you should be thinking about its meaning, for the meaning of the six syllables is great and vast. The first, Om, symbolizes the practitioner’s impure body, speech, and mind; they also symbolize the pure exalted body, speech and mind of a Buddha. The path is indicated by the next four syllables. Mani, meaning jewel, symbolizes the factors of method—the altruistic intention to become enlightened, compassion and love. The two syllables, Padme, meaning lotus, symbolize wisdom. Purity must be achieved by an indivisible unity of method and wisdom, symbolized by the final syllable, hum, which indicates indivisibility. Thus, the six syllables, om mani padme hum, mean that in dependence on the practice of a path which is an indivisible union of method and wisdom, you can transform your impure body, speech and mind into the pure exalted body, speech and mind of a Buddha.
—H.H. Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama, “Om Mani Padme Hum”
Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo:
Ong Namo—I bow to the subtle divine wisdom
Guru Dev Namo—I bow to the divine teacher within.
Also, listen to Tibetan monks chanting Om. Try with your eyes closed.
During a walk, keep your head up, look at the sky and all around instead of continuing to follow your path with your nose. When you look down at your feet, you are closed to your inner dialog. Instead, open yourself to the world and be grateful for the trees, birds, sun and air you breathe. Say thanks and let your mind fly high! I promise, it’s easy once you keep your head up (in the clouds).
I mentioned giving thanks for your food already, but it’s worth mentioning praying again because it’s one of the most-common meditation practices in the world. For this short moment, when we send our thoughts to the other being—call it God, Buddha or your higher self—you are getting in touch with the force that’s bigger than this whole world we live in. This is a sincere meditation.
Who would have thought that dancing can be a form of meditation? It is—and it’s so efficient! It’s by dancing we often “forget ourselves,” right? It’s a freeing form of bodily movement that wakes up all your joints and lets energy flow through your body. It’s also so much fun!
I have quite a bit of experience with exercising, and I will tell you, if not practiced thoughtfully, the results are not as good. I get bored easily, but my shopping list is the last thing I think about. Instead, while doing my stretches or body lifting, I tune to my inner rhythm and stay focused on the workout sensation of my muscles and tendons. I imagine as they bend and stretch. I breathe slowly and deeply, while my movements are careful and precise. Often tired afterward, I feel rejuvenated, like I just connected with my whole being. This is my meditation, too!
Many have heard about yoga’s wonderful benefits for the body. How amazingly supple, strong and beautiful a yogi’s body is! Did you know the practice of yoga was developed to excel in meditation? While performing funny-looking and often very challenging positions, we reach to the depths of ourselves to harmonize and balance energies in our bodies. What is impossible at first shortly, with persistent practice, brings not only posture and balance improvement but, most of all, calms our minds and brings harmony to our lives. This happens thanks to designed movements that unleash stress knots and trauma buildup in our bodies, but to reach to that point, we need to stay focused and practice letting go. This is a dynamic meditation that will keep your mind sharp and body elastic if you devote to it. You can start at any age!
Tai Chi and Qigong
There are other arts of meditation and energy (chi) balancing forms known in the Eastern world that we’ve started to appreciate more lately. I can’t say much about Tai Chi, as I’ve never had the pleasure to experience it, but, similar to Qigong, there’s a set of positions you move to and from in a very slow and focused way to clear out imbalances and bring your sacred self home with collected chi, the healing energy. Only once did I have an opportunity to practice Qigong, which was instructed by a shaman who gave our group a sequence to follow to clear and boost energy flow in our emotional and physical bodies. I can tell you, in the words of Picasso, “Everything you can imagine is real.” Things happened to me afterward that were close to miracles, thanks to a simple Qigong meditation!
There are hundreds of other ways to meditate such as staring at a bonfire or burning candle. Or just sit in a quiet room with your eyes closed, letting all thoughts fly through your mind, letting them go. If you feel like trying something like that, I recommend listening to one of the greatest teachings I came across: Alan Watts’ teaching meditation (full version and short version). Once you discover your own technique, don’t forget to share it in the comments section below! Peace.
All cartoons are from DharmaDoodles.com.
Enjoy Fruitarianna’s Complete Meditation Series
Story 1: This Is My Meditation
Story 3: Practicing Awareness with Words
Check out Anna’s transformation interview!