By Pat Iyer ©

 

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Sitting cross-legged on the floor, my backaches, my mind races, thoughts darting in and out of my consciousness…did someone say that this is easy and supposed to be good for me? For many people, sitting in silence, freeing the mind is no easy task. We are a nation of movers and shakers, making each moment count. The quiet of our cars is filled with music, talk radio, or a ringing of the cell phone and we are so conditioned to filling ourselves instead of emptying. Meditation need not be a chore but integrated in something we can do for ourselves each day. The practice of meditation is merely to be mindful of our surroundings and ourselves so that we exist totally in the here and now, in this very moment in a way that does not distract but opens.

There are many ways to meditate. Sitting on a cushion in the silence is not the only way to rest the mind from all of the clutter we hold on to. Indeed meditation can be done through mindful activity like prayer, the repetition of “mantras” or words where by we focus on the energy of the word to clear our mind, focusing on our breath and listening to the voices of our body and soul. The benefits of meditation can also be experienced through activity that requires our body movement. Walking meditation has long been practiced as a way to mindfully engage the body, totally focusing on each step you take. Doing any activity where by you are totally engaged in what you are doing and freeing your being are forms of meditation. Exercise can even been a form of meditation for focusing on your body processes and movement clears the mind to infill you, rejuvenate you, and connect you. Any artistic endeavor, music, gardening, even housework can free the mind while working the body. The key is exploring the paradox of being mindful and mindless, creating a balance between engaging the self and freeing our thoughts.

The benefits of meditation are well documented. Decreasing stress and anxiety, reducing pain or blood pressure, opening ourselves up to our inner wisdom and freeing our mind from the prison of our thoughts are just a few of them. The most difficult aspect of meditation is not the sitting and being still but merely taking the time to do so and discovering a way that works best for our own individual nature, not being discouraged by attempts that make it difficult to connect.

Make time to connect, free yourself for in that freedom comes the discovery of a world that is truly yours.