This year has been emotionally taxing for a variety of reasons, so I’d like to share some meditation practices with you. There are so many types of meditation available but today I am going to focus on a few types that I feel bring lots of joy.
We can boost our mental and physical health by Creating moments of joy, moving into a vibrational state, and trying to get back there as often as possible. Joyful people live their life purposefully. Joyful people are compassionate and help others. Joyful people create a peaceful planet.
All of these meditations I’m sharing work for those of us who feel like we just can’t “quiet their minds”.
select a mantra and focus your attention on that word or phrase. Seat yourself on the floor, a cushion or chair and with your back straight and begin breathing. I like to use the box method for breathing: where you envision your breath making a box:
inhale for two counts,
hold for two counts,
exhale for two counts
hold for two more counts.
That creates the box. I do this for the first few moments until I have regulated my breathing.
Now that I am breathing nicely, I bring in my mantra. It could be something very traditional to the yogic world such as “OM”. Om is said to be the most powerful mantra chant because the sound contains the essence of all that is in the universe.
When you chant Om, you are acknowledging your connection to everything in the universe.
Pretty cool, I think. Of course, you can select any phrase including one of the Jenni Earle mantras on your favorite bandana!
Once you select your mantra, simply breathe in and as you exhale, exhale the mantra. If you don’t feel like you can do this, or you’d like to try something different…I love the group Beautiful Chorus for songs that are meditative and mantra-like. I sing along with them.
Some people find it really difficult to sit still, and therefore think they are not “good” at meditation. I adore movement meditation. I find movement meditation very grounding. Literally. For a walking meditation, you can find a labyrinth near you to walk (here is a Labyrinth locator), but also you can also choose to walk more slowly and intentionally in your neighborhood or on your favorite walking trail.
This walk is not about exercise, but about being mindful of your natural surroundings and your breath. Use all of your senses to experience the walking meditation. What do you see, hear, smell and feel? If you are a runner, it’s likely you have already experienced a meditative state.
For a running meditation– listen to yourself breathe, feel your heart pound and your feet touch the earth repetitively, that becomes your meditation. Try envisioning that each time your foot connects with the ground, a healing light in the color of your choice ignites from the connection between you and the earth. And the longer you run, the higher up your body you draw that healing Earth light in until it flows out the top of your head. Notice if this changes your running experience.
My absolute favorite kind of movement meditation is dance meditation.
I feel liberated when I can move freely, in any way my body wants and needs to move.
Select any kind of music that feels uplifting to you. I choose music without lyrics so I am not distracted. You are not dancing for anyone else, just yourself. I can be my wild primal self when I use meditative dance. No one else exists, just me, grounded soundly within my body, giving it exactly what it needs to expand and stretch. I can embody my feelings, whether I am in a joyous state, feeling sensual, angry or stressed. I think about drawing energy from the earth up through my feet as I dance and redistributing all of that good balanced energy throughout all the cells of my body and through every chakra as I move.
Loving Kindness Meditation
Metta meditation is also known as loving kindness meditation. This one helps me remember that I have the power to transform negative thoughts and feelings into something positive that is healing for all. The formal name of this practice is metta bhavana. Metta means ‘love’, friendliness, or kindness, so ‘loving-kindness’ for short. Bhavana means development or cultivation.
The purpose of this meditation is to show yourself loving-kindness first through a series of phrases said to yourself, and then you show loving-kindness to others by directing those phrases towards others. Repeat these words towards someone you love, again for someone you are neutral about-that you do not know and finally for someone you dislike.
Find yourself a comfortable place to sit and with good posture, begin the same box breathing method mentioned before. Then let it go and breathe freely and easily. Now, begin with these words for yourself:
May I be happy
May I be healthy
May I be free of suffering
May I live in peace
May my life be blessed with grace and ease
Again, repeat these words towards someone you love, then again for someone you are neutral about and finally for someone you dislike. As you chant those phrases, hold each of these people in your mind’s eye as you speak and envision them receiving and accepting what you are offering.
May you be happy
May you be healthy
May you be free of suffering
May you live in peace
May your life be blessed with grace and ease
If you have trouble or feel resistance sending loving kindness to the being that you dislike, no worries. You are not alone. It is a beautiful practice to implement daily and an opportunity to witness your barriers come down and the garden of genuine loving-kindness spring up in its place.
I hope this has been helpful to you. We are rooting for you to be happy, healthy and at peace.
With much love,
Kari aka Chief Deer Priestess