Meditation

The burden that is placed on our emotional well-being can be quite devastating. It can create a self-perpetuating loop of stressful dialogue that infiltrates our lives in a destructive way. We must explore a way to disrupt the pattern of negative energy and turn it into a positive and transforming experience.

We do this by changing what we identify with – from the at times limited, claustrophobic burden of caregiving to the recognition that we are in fact much greater in scope and perspective than our circumstances.

Meditation is the practice of quieting your mind.

It is about turning our focus inward and getting in touch with our inner Self. Through meditation we can learn to see and experience our lives in a new way. Meditation is that powerful!

Never underestimate meditation. Meditation is one of the most effective ways to reduce stress. There are so many things in our lives that are beyond our control. We can, with regular practice of meditation, control our mind. A regular meditation practice brings clarity, positivity, focus, a sense of peace and calm. It is a most perfect antidote to the challenges of caregiving you handle on a daily basis.

Meditation turns off the faucet of negativity and limitation,
and opens up the floodgates of peace and possibility.

Can you tell I love meditating?

I started meditating in 1982, and I recall how difficult it was at first. While the simple act of sitting still wasn’t particular challenging, getting my mind to quiet itself was like trying to relax on a roller coaster. It just seemed to run counter to having years of incessant inner chatter as the expected norm. I didn’t even think that a tumultuous mind had the ability to quiet itself. However, with instruction, I created a meditation area, and I sat every day; sometimes for just a few minutes and on occasion, I would sit for a whole hour. During that time, I would do my best to focus on one thing, whether it was the repetition of a phrase, or an image of a gentle flame, a sacred mantra, anything that would distract my mind from itself. What became apparent quickly was that meditation would open up a feeling of space inside me, create a quiet, peaceful openness where before there was only noise.

With regular practice, the simple act of sitting to meditate began to feel natural. I would find myself slipping almost effortlessly into a state of inner calm. Now I look forward to it, as it feels almost like a vacation from my daily challenges. Sometimes, I actually fall into meditation, meaning I sit and my mind just seems to collapse in on itself, almost of its own accord, and there I am, in the center of a warm and peaceful void. My body is actually longing, craving meditation. There is only space, and possibility and it feels like a place where I belong.

Meditation in its simplest form is nothing more than exercise to still your mind
and one of the most powerful tools in your arsenal.
I honestly believe the gift of learning to meditate
is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself.

The Buddhist teacher, Sogyal Rinpoche tells us,

“We are fragmented into so many different aspects. We don’t know who we really are, or what aspects of ourselves we should identify with or believe in. So many contradictory voices, dictates, and feelings fight for control over our inner lives that we find ourselves scattered everywhere, in all directions, leaving nobody at home. Meditation, then, is bringing the mind home.”

Just like exercising your muscles, the more you meditate, the stronger your ability to still your busy mind becomes. And the result is that you have created open, quiet, peaceful space within yourself, where you can begin to start your day again, refreshed and anew.

As caregivers, we have been charged with taking on more than our typical share of the world. We must nurture our lives and all of its needs and of course, take care of another life as well.

Caregiving can be a whirlwind of conflict. These challenging times beg us to find a way to remain calm, present and to be able to function “above the fray”. How perfect that meditation gives us that gift!

Different kinds of meditation:

  • Guided meditation (using mental images and visualization)
  • Mantra meditation (focusing and repeating a sacred or calming phrase or word combined with gentle focus on your in and out breath)
  • Transcendental meditation (focusing and repeating a personally assigned mantra)
  • Tai chi (Chinese martial art combined with deep breathing)
  • Qi gong (Chinese combination of meditation, relaxation, breath and physical movements)
  • Mindful meditation (the practice of being aware and accepting of life in the present moment)
  • Yoga (a series of postures combined with breath to promote flexibility of body and stillness of mind)
  • Walking meditation (a technique to be used anywhere with a focus on each movement of your body)

 

There is no wrong way to meditate. What matters most is for you to leave your daily life behind you and turn your focus inward, for 5, 10, 20 or 30 minutes or an hour. Meditation when practiced regularly will give you the strength and calm, the patience and compassion to be the caregiver you are striving to be.

 

 

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