Meditation is a powerful practice that many people want to perform regularly, but have serious difficulty following through on that goal [me included!]. Like all habits, regular meditation comes from consistent practice and a clear understanding of what you are really trying to accomplish.
My definition of meditation is anything that pulls you firmly and positively into the present moment. As such, I believe there are three forms of meditation:
Absolute silence • Voice of God • Active Meditation
- Meditation to achieve absolute silence: The basis of this form of meditation is most heavily associated with breathing. By sitting in a comfortable position [on the floor or in a chair], your focus is solely on the flow of your breath in [through your nose] and out [through your mouth]. Your goal is to tune out everything and empty your mind. I find this meditation works best when you view your breath as your life force [which it is!] and find peace, joy, and thankfulness in the fact that you are alive and breathing. Regardless of any perceived problems in your life, you have these moments to experience peace and emptiness. Try to empty your mind and keep it clear for as long as you can by focusing intensely on your breathing. Start with 10 minutes and work toward increasing this time as you can.
- Meditating until you hear the voice of God: This form of meditation is very similar to the first; however, after you experience the silent moments, you start hearing a voice coming from inside of yourself. You can view this voice as your subconscious or divine spirit or God, but I believe this voice connects us with the entire wisdom of the universe. It is that piece of us that has been left by our Creator. You must be so quiet and still to hear it because it comes only at that time. This voice won’t be going through your laundry list of problems or complaints [that's your mind at work, not your heart!], rather it will bring you peace and give you guidance. You must be patient with yourself and, again, work to tune out all of the noise of your daily life. Follow the same practice as above [and start with 10 minutes], and allow yourself to be open to hearing this voice.
- Active meditation: While the other two forms follow the more traditional view of meditation, I believe there is a third practice which is often overlooked. Active meditation tracks back to my original definition of meditation as anything that pulls you firmly and positively into the present moment. This could be singing along happily to your favorite song, dancing, washing dishes peacefully, or having a long belly laugh. When your attention is focused on only one activity and your mind is turned off, you can also achieve the kind of peace and joy that comes with stillness. Again the goal is to stop your pattern of thinking and just be. Even prayer can be considered a form of active meditation. By taking time to thank your God for all that you have and being full present during that conversation, you are actively focusing your energy on something beautifully positive.
I encourage you to give these methods a try. More importantly, keep trying daily. Don’t think too much about it…just give yourself permission to let go of your worries and have at least 10 uninterrupted minutes of me time. I recommend practicing first thing in the morning [and/or] the as the last thing before you sleep. This will help you to get your day started on the right note and/or close your day in peace. If you miss a day, no worries…try again whenever you can and view this practice as something healthy and positive for you.