With so many ways to tap into meditation, I’ve been experimenting to see what techniques stick. Sometimes, I’ll sit on my own using an iPhone timer. Other times I log into my favorite apps. Lately, I’ve been attending class,.
Let me start by saying that though I love [the idea of] meditation class, while actually in meditation class… I kind of hate it. The instructor gets under my skin. Plus, each week I find myself terribly nauseous – like, on the verge of vomiting kind of nauseous where I’ve mentally mapped out my emergency exit all-the-while wondering if I’d actually make it to the basement where the bathroom is located. And what would happen if I didn’t make it? Vomiting on Buddha’s floor…that just feels wrong! So this is what races through my mind while I’m supposed to be training it. Clearly, I’m having a physical reaction to the practice, yet I keep going back.
Because the lessons are seeping in.
Oh, that’s the other thing. Meditation class isn’t only train your brain for 90 minutes then go. It’s more like listen to the lesson, then meditate for about 20 minutes. Then listen to different variations of the same lesson. Then sit again for a shorter period of time. Then you can go.
Which brings me to the little technique I learned last week.
It has to do with love.
I’m not a love-y person. So when the topic comes up in meditation class (which it often does), I’m uncomfortable. But this technique stuck.
Here’s what to do:
Set the timer for 5 or 10 minutes.
Close your eyes.
Bring your attention to your breath.
Follow your breath on each inhale and exhale.
Bring into mind someone you love…it could be a child, a pet, another friend or family member. Anyone who easily warms your heart.
Now rest in this place.
Feel the love in your heart.
Then give it to someone else.
As I write this, I’m almost gagging by the cheesiness of those words…FEEL THE LOVE IN YOUR HEART!
It’s like a pop song gone wrong. Or what a retreat leader who wears flow-y tops with bell sleeves and colorful scarves would say with her eyes closed.
Yet I’m still doing it. On my own, even.
What’s really helping is this image.
Once I bring it into mind, my heart melts. I’m in the zone.
Yes, it’s the love zone.
The thing is, I don’t only use this image while seated in meditation… I call on it whenever I’m feeling stressed, agitated or angry. It totally calms me down.
The other bit that’s important to note is the giving component of this technique. To feel the love then give it away…
Though it may sound a little out there, it’s along the lines of this Buddhist prayer May you be safe, may you be happy, may you be healthy and live a life of ease….it’s wishing well for others.
Obviously this practice is much easier to do with people you care about. And that’s pretty much where I’m at because giving love to the people who bother you…well, that’s when the real work begins. That’s the practice.
So start by calling on an image that warms your heart. Stay in that space. And then let it go towards someone else.
What technique works best for you in calming the mind?