Friday, May 10, 2013

Meditation and Me

Meditating has been a struggle for me for many years, at least the past six. Part of it stems from inconsistency, another part frustration at my wandering mind. One cannot tame or quiet "monkey mind" or change the brain without consistently sitting and meditating however. Just do it, right?

I have a great many guided meditations in my iTunes, several favorites actually that I come back to again and again. Not with enough consistency to make a difference though.

This week I tried something new and different after several different things clicked into place in my mind.

First, I tried a guided meditation from Omvana that I disliked immensely. It was a guided meditation for relaxation and renewal. Honestly the man's voice annoyed the heck out of me and I continually wanted to end the meditation, which I eventually did prematurely. Certainly not a state for relaxation or renewal. Scratch that one off the list forever.

Second, I checked off the habit as completed in Lift. You can give fellow Lifters props by clicking a button, and as I was doing that I saw that a fellow Lifter completed "100 Breaths Meditation." That sounded interesting - off to Firefox and the computer I went. After reading about it I decided it was something I could actually do and planned to try. Surely I can focus on breathing for 100 breaths. I breathe all day long after all.

I tried it ... that night and another time the next day in the afternoon. I could not even get to 10 breaths before I caught myself off on some random train of thought. I reigned my thoughts back in and started again, and again, and again and then I think I fell asleep. Not a very auspicious beginning. Undaunted I tabled it to try again later.

Third, while listening to an audiobook on neuro-linguistic programming, which has a lot to do with observing eye cues, the author mentioned that when our eyes are fixed on a specific object we cannot think. The eyes are switches that trigger thoughts in the brain. This is how a person can be hypnotized, picture the pendulum motion of a pocket watch. Then the author mentioned meditation gazing at a candle which enables the brain the detach from thought. Click!

Fourth, I added some binaural theta meditation music by Dr. Jeffrey Thompson to gazing at a candle app on my iPhone, turned out the lights and began. I counted to 100 breaths without my mind wandering significantly and I did not lose focus on breathing a single time. That is not to say that there were not some thoughts intruding ("Wow I'm almost at 100" and "Jeez my shoulders are getting tired sitting this way") but I did it. Long deep breaths one-hundred times ...

Afterwards I went to sleep and slept like a proverbial rock. This morning I woke up so early, very well rested, and set-up to do it again. I timed myself and it took 11 minutes to reach 100 breaths. It seems I have found, through sporadic persistence, what method works for me. At last!

Here are some of my favorite meditation audios:
  1. Lisa Guyman's Mystic Waterfall - Chakra Balancing Meditation
  2. Aimee Rebekah Shea's Chakra Healing: Guided Meditation and Creative Visualization
  3. Dr. Jeffrey Thompson has a fleet of meditations to choose from!
  4. Dina Proctor's 3x3 Meditation on Omvana
  5. Probably the Best Music for Relaxation and Meditation
Binaural indicates that headphones are necessary for the full benefits of the music. It is different from something being in stereo and will not work with stereo speakers.

 -Nicola Byrne

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