Archive for September 4th, 2018

Making Space for Quiet

September 4th, 2018
Lately I’ve had several people mention that meditation is not their ‘thing’ (as my Gram would have said, not her cuppa tea). And thinking back, I was one of them. Just 8 years ago, I couldn’t sit still in a quiet room longer than five minutes without bolting, trying to find something to do. It wasn’t so much about ‘keeping busy’, but about needing to fulfill the to-do list in my head before I’d lose time and not get my ‘work’ done. Has that ever happened to you?
 
How do you turn off the noise in your head to just let the silence surround you without feeling guilt about not doing ‘anything’? Yes, it takes practice. There are some who find it easier than others; heaven knows why that is. But each of us is able to learn how to practice some form of meditation or find quietude if we allow ourselves to make space.  
 
So is making space for quietude like fulfilling a recipe to bake a cake?  Can we identify a list of ingredients to make this happen?  Let’s try.  Over time your ingredients might change, morph, expand, contract.  Like any good recipe, improvement comes over time.  Let yourself be open to the possibilities.
Let’s start with your own mind.  To me, this is the #1 issue.  The brain is full of stuff – ideas, thoughts, dreams; then are are the worries, frustrations, distractions.  Usually it’s the negative issues that cause us the greatest anxiety, wouldn’t you say?  Hard to turn off the mind if the neurological system is running on overdrive.   To do this, you really have to WANT it. Once or twice a week, CONSISTENTLY.  Remember the adage: First it’s a thought. Then it’s a thing.  [Someone had to think about how to put light into a dark room. Then the mind helped bring about the development of the light bulb, right?]  You can do this — it just takes a little forethought.  Be WILLING to set aside a time without distractions — the kids, pets, people, jobwork, dishes, bills…you get the picture.  So do that.  Just PICTURE YOURSELF sitting in a quiet space without all that other stuff.
Next: Healthy body.  Well, daah!  Of course I’m healthy (you may be saying).  But are you really?
2 simple things — water and fresh/raw.   To keep the body filled with decent levels of nutrients, enzymes and minerals especially, we need fresh fruits and vegetables daily.  And water – clean, higher alkaline water that can hydrate the cells as well as flush out toxins – is necessary to help us think.  Rule of thumb: One-half your body weight in ounces.  If our physiology isn’t functioning at least at baseline levels, how will we ever be able to give the higher energy of meditation enough room to expand further?
Exercise – of course!  Not jumping jacks, but other forms — light walking, biking, swimming, or maybe yoga, qigong, tai chi.  Movement, in other words.  Let the body release its excess energy through a positive form of exercise that works for your particular level of needs.  As you do this, you may start noticing  changes in how you think about things throughout the day, and the influence of physical release on mental capacities.
Lifestyle enhancements also ready the body for inner work.  Massage, energy work of some sort (my lifesaver is Reiki and there are many others), Raindrop Technique and Neuro Auricular Technique all have proven to be useful in relieving physical ailments.  And when we’re not sensing “pain”, it’s easier to focus on mind-work.
Outside influences: Choosing your environment.
In or Out?  If your an indoor-kinda-person, which room of your house is best suited, most comfortable, least-distracting?  Should you prefer green space, where outside is best for you – the bench in the backyard, an early morning beach run, up the hiking trail?  You know your most favorite spot…go there, or if it’s not feasible, find a realistic alternate and let your mind take you there.
Sound.  Not the head-banger stuff now…find quiet, relaxing Zen-type sound that resonates with you.  Try YouTube just to search for the various sounds that connect you to the moment. Your aim, after all, is to be JUST IN THIS MOMENT.  Look up meditation or Reiki or peaceful as search words.  For those into energy work, find selections with healing frequencies.  You’ll be surprised by the choices.
Odors. Fresh scents from the lake or ocean, being in the outdoors, the smell of the trees or flowers. These all add to the ambiance of quietude. Our sense are heightened, and the physiological response can be relaxation, de-stressing of the muscles, releasing of the nervous system tension.  If you have a good grade of pure essential oils, use them. Research the ones that enhance the mind, and the upper chakras. For example, frankincense, cedarwood, lavender. Blends might include lemon, rosemary, or even eucalyptus.  Caveat: stay away from all scents that are artificial or have chemical ingredients. You don’t want to clog the neural pathways you’re trying to clear.
Now You’re Ready.
Your space is ready, all things are prepared – you’re asking yourself, ‘How do I begin?’
Close your eyes.  Take a few deep breaths. Let it all out.  Wiggle your tuchie into your sitz-space; be comfy.
Ask yourself:  If I could shift just one thing in my life right now, just one, what would it be?
Now, just let that settle.  Don’t think. Just stay in the moment. Allow yourself to notice the scents that surround you. The sounds that are penetrating your space. The ideas that come from your question – well, don’t really ‘think’ about them, just let them flow. Emotions as well. It’s all like the waves, ebbing and flowing, moving in and out like the tide. Just be.
When you’re done, you’ll know it. In the beginning your quietude may be but 2 minutes. Over time, it will lengthen, and the benefits will multiply.
May the peace be with you! Namaste.