Thoughts of a Meditator

Just after I returned from the Chopra Seduction of Spirit event in the summer of 2013, I began a daily meditation practice and it was beautiful. The days were warm, sun rising early, I was focused and dedicated and felt a methodical rhythm.

Despite my knowledge that things zig and zag and don’t just stay the same, somehow I didn’t realize that principle applied to meditation (yes, naive!!). I go through ups and downs with working out, relationships, and even favorite outfit of the month. But MY meditation practice?

I was totally caught off  guard.  Slowly but surely, I started to drift. The days were cooler – I made excuses left and right. I don’t have the right meditation cushion and my back hurts. My apartment heating (or lack thereof) does not support my early morning practice – it’s just too cold! The stories went on and on.

I knew there were amazing benefits from meditation and I wasn’t going to give up that easily! It also helped that solutions arose for all my ridiculous excuses (thank you, universe!). I moved into a new place and created a mini meditation nest in an extra room with supportive pillows and a zen-like feel. Spring was back again, the weather was warm, sun shining, etc. and yet there was a feeling of pressure!   I still wasn’t settled in my meditation practice.  And I was creating it! And causing it to build up even greater!!

surrender gentle open

I was determined to rededicate myself to practice. There are many types of mediation styles and I have dabbled in some such as: guided meditation, kirtan kriya and vipassana.   Mantra meditation is another style, in which you repeat a phrase silently, often in Sanskrit language.  During this challenging time in my practice, here’s what a typical mantra session sounded like in my head with ALL the accompanying internal dialogue:

Om Bhavam Namah
Where are my eyes focused (even though they’re closed)? Am I looking toward my third eye?
Am I doing it right?
Ugh, I’m not on the mantra anymore
Om
How many syllables should I hold Om for again? I think it’s a long sound
Bhavam
I forget what this word means. I remember it being part of the 21-day meditation with Deepak and Oprah. I wonder if they’re doing another free guided course like that again.
Namah
Is that pronounced with the focus on the first syllable or the last?
Naa-mah Nam-aah
Hmm, I wonder.
How many minutes have past?
Maybe I’ll open my eyes…
I don’t want to peek, but now I can’t focus…
Am I not following the mantra again??

Yikes, right?  While Om Bhavam Namah beautifully translates into “I am absolute existence. I am a field of all possibilities.” – that was not how I felt!   Instead, some of my perfectionist tendencies, self-doubt and judgment were making me my own harshest critic.  Can you relate?

I’d gotten myself so tied up in my own story.  So, for me, the best solution was to talk it out with someone. So often once we say something out loud, we realize how silly we sound and it can really create a new perspective with loving humor.  In this instance, I spoke with a mentor and got incredible words of wisdom…and they are so simple!

Surrender and Be Gentle

Easier said than done sometimes! So first, I have gotten curious. I think “I wonder what my meditation will bring today”. I really take a few minutes before I start my meditation to set an intention for the practice and it includes an aspect of gratitude and gratefulness.  I set my mind up to be in a space of soaking in whatever the experience brings rather than controlling it. I attempt to BE and not DO.

Be Open

According to the teachings of the Buddha, if we listen with an open mind and open heart, metaphorically the rain will penetrate the seeds buried deep within our consciousness. Quite simply, we don’t have to work that hard!  Think of the earth. At a fundamental level, when the rain comes, earth absorbs water and the soil and seeds do the rest of the work.   Trees grow, flowers bloom.  There is a very natural, harmonious symbiotic relationship in nature.  Similarly, our mind, body and spirit are all interconnected and can easily work together when we allow them to integrate.

Realize only a few things can happen in Meditation

These are lessons I learned from Vedic Master, Davidji.  In addition to the object of attention, in this example, the focus of mantra repetition, there are only 3 other things that can happen during practice:  You can have thoughts.  You can fall asleep.  You can experience stillness.     While I aim to experience stillness, all of these actions (even sleep) is a potential experience within meditation, so I’m going to enjoy whichever one happens!

This gave me a big reminder  to have appreciation instead of expectation in the moment.  Even if I have a bunch of thoughts, I am still taking time for myself. The human brain has 60,000-80,000 thoughts a day!! Yes, all those zeros – that’s approximately 50 thoughts per minute.  So, during the 30 minutes I practice mediation, even if I have some thoughts, maybe I have slightly fewer than I would otherwise during the rest of the day. And even if I don’t, who’s counting?  It is all unfolding exactly as it is supposed to be!

So now, (at least some of) my meditations go more like this:

Om Bhavam Namah
Om Bhavam Namah
I wonder how that issue at work will be resolved today.
Ooh, look I’m having a thought.
How about I gently float back…
Om Bhavam Namah
Om Bhavam Namah
Om Bhavam Namah
Beautiful bird chirping outside…
Did I drift again? Ahh (internal smile)
Om Bhavam Nam-aah
Om Bhavam Naa-mah
Om Bhavam Namah
Om Bhavam Namah

These are the thoughts of a meditator.  At least for now.  As I continue to morph and adapt, I’m sure my meditation will, too…  So what are your thoughts – about this post or in your own meditation practice?  Please let us know in the comments below.   Sharing our experiences is all part of living life!

~ Health, Happiness and Prosperity ~

One comment

  1. Daphnee Durce says:

    I’ve tried to meditate and failed everytime because just like you, I had a million and one excuses as to why I shouldn’t or couldn’t. Hopefully I can start off again with this mantra. Thanks Nicole!

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