The Ego … An Unpredictable Master
The ego is an Unpredictable Master. As a positive force, the ego encourages us to overcome challenges and strive to achieve something higher. As a negative force, it can be a master of distortion, influencing the mind with it’s twisted perceptions. If the ego becomes the dominant part of our personality, it can ruin our personal and professional relationships. The ego does not ask permission to seize command, it just does.
The Art of Meditation
Mastering the Art of Meditation enables us to silence their influence. In this way we connect with our heart and soul and gain command of ourselves. This is why it is essential to practice some form of meditation. The Western mind often finds meditation challenging. The traditional form of Eastern Meditation, sitting in the lotus position and stopping one’s thoughts can be a challenge. Below I’ve shared some of the many ways to meditate and enjoy the journey.
Eleven Methods of Meditation
But, there are many alternative ways and methods to meditate that can help you quiet your mind without struggling. For some it might be best not to initially try to quiet the mind in the traditional sense. It can be discouraging and frustrating. So try some of these methods, or create your own ritual, to begin your meditation practice. Regardless the method, once you experience the benefits you will look forward to it.
My favorite meditation is to sit by a river and just let the current of the river take my thoughts. My thoughts slowly give way to the voice of the river, filling my soul with it’s rhythm and volume. My thoughts dissolve as I become one with the river. If you can’t get to a river often enough, a small water fountain may also relax you. Or a recording of a river will also work.
Another favorite of mine is the Rainbow Meditation. It’s based on the Seven Points of Light Chakras and colors associated with each Chakra. The colors of the Chakras are the primary colors of the rainbow. Meditating or focusing on the colors is a joy. I’ve developed a CD of the Rainbow Meditation Visualization that allows you to relax and enter into meditation while balancing your Chakras. Visit the Store to purchase the CD.
Meditations which involve physical movement such as dancing or walking are wonderful ways to meditate. Whether you are walking in a city park, in your neighborhood or the country, focus on nature, the birds, the flowers, squirrels scampering around. Just lose yourself in the walk.
Dancing, of course, is the most delightful way for the spirit to get free from the physical limitations of the body. I dance around my house all the time. Sheba, my beloved Akita use to dance with me. She enjoyed my energy when I danced… so we dance together….
FOCUSED OBJECT MEDITATION
Using a gemstone, a flower, a mandala, a prism, or simply focus your attention on the object continuing to gaze at it until your eyes close naturally. Then imagine the object in your 3rd eye which is between your eyebrows about an inch above. It is your internal eye. It may transform into light – white or any color. Continue to focus on the light. You may find yourself being drawn into the light. Go with it; relax into it. With time and dedication you will find it easier and easier. You may find yourself going deeper and deeper into your 3rd eye portal. What a delightful way to disengage from your thoughts.
Bring your attention to one of your seven primary Chakras or energy centers. The naval (sacral Chakra, the heart Chakra or the 3rd eye Chakra are the most common. (see Chakra definitions, colors and other inspiration on Chakra page). Once you’ve selected the Chakra to which to bring your focus, direct your attention to that Chakra in your daily practice. Best to be consistent. With dedication, you can develop your practice into deep meditations. When you first begin, try for five minutes and let your meditation deepen naturally.
THE CHANTING MEDITATION
Chanting or repeating a word or a mantra is another creative from of meditation. Just repeat the chant over and over until you get lost in the rhythm of the chant. Your thoughts will recede and have a tough time breaking through your chanting. You can also make up mantras “I am love and light”, for example, and repeat it again and again. It is an inspiring way to meditate and reinforce your intention. “I am blessed”…. Any positive statement of intent can be used and it is good medicine for the mind, body and soul.
THE BUDDHIST ON THE MOUNTAIN MEDITATION
The more traditional way to meditate is to assume the lotus position, (crossed legged with hands resting on the upper legs; palms facing upward). Close your eyes and let your thoughts pass through without attachment to your thoughts until they cease. Do not resist or cling, just let them pass through. Using your breath, consciously, inhale and exhale, being mindful of each breath as you inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth. Keep your mind focused on your breathing. It will take you deeper and deeper into relaxation and a peaceful state. It is mighty good medicine for the mind, body and soul.
MUSIC FOR MEDITATION
Select music you find inspiring. Should be something mellow and conducive to peaceful meditation. Just allow the music to take you. If thoughts occur, again, let them pass through. Return to the music, listening with your full attention. This is an ideal way to finish a bus day without struggling to silence the mind.
With all these myriad ways to meditate, you don’t need to struggle with meditation. Experiment and decide which works for you. You will discover you enjoy meditation and your practice will deepen naturally.
Meditating With The Crows
This morning there was a gathering of crows chanting loudly. If you’ve ever heard a gang of crows first thing in the morning, it can be quite loud and not exactly melodious. They were far enough away for me to hear the cacophony of their chanting comfortably. I don’t know what made me think of it, but I decided to focus on their collective chanting. Instead of resisting it, I focused on it. I got in to the epicenter of their music. It was amazing. In a short time I was deep into meditation and could no longer hear the crows.
Relax… Go With Hammer On Stone Meditation
I remember when I first decided to sculpt at Fort Mason in San Francisco, I was full of fixed ideas and hesitation. I had always sculpted in the privacy of my own home and controlled the environment. At that time I was sculpting in clay and needed use of their kilns. I came armed with music and ear phones and attitude. I was determined to create a way maintain my solitude even though it was a public place.
As I went there daily, I was often sharing space with the stone sculptors. I was recovering from an accident and had lost the strength in both arms. I was so eager to sculpt; I would have sculpted in a bathroom if it was all that was available. So there I was in the room with all these incredible stone sculptors. I had my head phones on listening to my music. But one day my headphones weren’t working and I was forced to sculpt with all the noise of the hammers hitting the stone. At first I was agitated. But, as the hours wore on, I found myself lost in the rhythm of the hammer on stone. It took me deeper and deeper into the music of the creative souls of those who worked in stone and into the marble itself. It was an incredible meditation and a very precious experience.
Since I was no longer hiding behind my music and the solitary wall I had set up around me, one by one the stone sculptors visited me while I worked. They were wonderful beings and they encouraged me; offering helpful suggestions. My work began to expand as did my soul, influenced by the incredible spirit of these stone sculptors.
Thank You To The Stone Sculptors of Fort Mason
I never brought my music and earphones again. My experience was so much richer and deeper because of the love and interest they took in me. I learned much from that experience and I am forever indebted to the stone sculptors of Fort Mason. Never once did they look down on me because I was sculpting in clay. My arms and wrists were still too weak to take on stone and I had a deep love of clay. I also had a deep respect for the way they worked in marble, making it look as though it was as fluid as clay.
Meditation has been found to dissolve stress and even lower blood pressure. Our brains sometimes don’t even turn off when we sleep. We wake up restless and have trouble falling back to sleep. The human body is not mean to function 24-7.
Relax and Go With the Flow.