Pagan News and Views Since 1998

Finding Inner Peace: Meditation (PART ONE)

Meditation:
  • continuous and profound contemplation or musing on a subject or series of subjects of a deep or abstruse nature; "the habit of meditation is the basis for all real knowledge"
  • (religion) contemplation of spiritual matters (usually on religious or philosophical subjects)
  • Meditation is a holistic discipline by which the practitioner attempts to get beyond the reflexive, "thinking" mind into a deeper state of relaxation or awareness.
Meditation is a valuable skill for lowering and handling stress, finding focus, learning to relax, and becoming more in tune with your body, your spirit, and nature. Meditation can be done anywhere- Inside, outside, on a bus, etc. It can be done many different ways.

Getting Ready to meditate:

Clean. Try to quickly clean up and declutter your meditation space. A room that is "messy" is filled with frenzied energy that can be distracting to people trying to meditate. Make the bed if it is messy, close the closet doors, pick up any laundry on the floor... organize anything that is disheveled. If you will be meditating on the floor, vaccum the place you plan to sit. If you create "zen" outside it will be easier to find "zen" inside. Next, if you haven't bathed or showered for the day yet, take a quick soak so that you feel clean and fresh during your meditation.

Get your "to-dos" done. Anything pressing should get done before you try to meditate... If you have a paper do tomorrow, you need to jot down a shopping list, do the dishes, etc. Things that are not immediate can wait... but if you "really ought to" be moving the lawn, watering the plants, reading chapter 3...etc, when you meditate your mind's "auto reminder" will keep nagging you- which makes sustained focus impossible.

Get comfortable. Wear loose or stretchy clothing like yoga clothes, a t-shirt and sweatpants, martial arts clothing, pajamas or even your underwear or naked (if you feel comfortable). Take off any distracting clothing, makeup, glasses, hats etc... so you feel free and natural. You will want a quiet place were there will be limited distractions. Some people meditate with light music on, but I feel for beginners it is best to have no sound or simple "white noise" (like a fan, a small fountain, or simple nature sounds). If you are indoors, raise or lower the thermostat so the room temperature feels comfortable to your bare skin. If it is daytime you may want to dim the room by closing the curtains or blinds... the room may feel more cozy and relaxing at night if it is lit by candlelight. If you are outside, wear appropriate layers so that you are warm enough but not too hot. You may want to sit under a tree or other shady areas if the sun is distracting, and don't forget suncreen!

Either way you may want a cushion to sit on, a small bench or yoga block, or a blanket or mat to sit on outside. Insence or scented oil in a reed diffuser can add a relaxing aroma to the room. Good ones are lavendar, sandalwood, and vanilla- but whatever scent makes you feel comfortable and relaxed is fine. If scent is less ralaxing and more distracting to you then go without. Go to the bathroom if you have to, drink a big glass of water if you are even a tad thirsty, and eat a small snack if you are hungry. If you need to meditate for an allotted time set some sort of alarm (ideally a gentle alarm) Now... get ready to RELAX.

Choosing the right position:

There are many ways to position your body during meditation. Before starting regular meditation try several different positions. You should feel completely relaxed, while still feeling able to maintain conciousness. If a position doesnt work for you, try another one. Use blocks or cushions if you need extra support or have "tender spots" to help make positions more comfortable.


Crosslegged or Lotus position. Sit upright with your spine straight, imagining a string pulling the crown of your head upwards gently. Cross your legs or, if you feel comfortable and flexible enough, gently place the top of each foot on the opposite thigh (lotus). Relax your hips open wide like a moths wings- without straining. Feel the base of your pelvis grow "roots" into the ground or floor beneath you. Gently roll your shoulder blades back and down, without changing the alignment of your spine. tuck your chin slightly and feel yourself grow an "inner smile". press your hands together at your heart in a "praying" position, OR rest your hands on your knees, OR cup your hands together and allow the to rest in your lap beneath your abdomen.


Corpse position (laying down). Lay flat on your back on a flat surface. tuck chin slightly and roll wrists outward so your palms face up. gently open hips and relax feet and hands. Leave hands at your side OR gently rest the on your belly. feel roots grow into the ground or floor beneath you from the back of your head, shoulders and tailbone. If you are tired or prone to fall asleep in this pose, switch to an upright pose instead.



Hero position (sitting on knees). gently kneel on the floor. if your knees are tight, a block or cushion underneath you in between your legs can give you extra support. Sit upright with your spine straight, imagining a string pulling the crown of your head upwards gently. Feel the base of your pelvis grow "roots" into the ground or floor beneath you. Gently roll your shoulder blades back and down, without
changing the alignment of your spine. tuck your chin slightly and feel
yourself grow an "inner smile". press your hands together at your heart
in a "praying" position, OR rest your hands on your knees, OR cup your
hands together and allow the to rest in your lap beneath your abdomen.




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