I have recently been asked by a few people for some advice on meditating and turning their mind off. As I am no wise old warrior that can give advice in a few words, I decided to write a little.. well think aloud on what I have learnt to maybe assist these friends and any one else …
I was encouraged to think about my own experiences with meditation after telling my partner about the message from a friend seeking advice and Adam answering with “but I haven’t seen you meditate for a long time” and I answered with “you don’t need to be on a meditation cushion to meditate”…..” as weeding, walking on my own in nature, dancing to live music, making something with my hands to be meditation” …he wasn’t sold, so I brought out to him my journal as he watered the garden and like a nerd read him a quote I had written down the day before….
“Any time we are fully present in the moment, we are meditating” J.Borysenko – He smiled and let that sink in ….
I got to thinking about how meditation, can be the concentration on one thing and how in my experience it actually took a little bit of other perspective work to reach this state of being. A book that came into my young little hands and put me on my little way was ‘Simple Abundance; a daybook of comfort and joy’ by Sarah Ban Breathnach
Simple Abundance meaning; 1.an inner journey 2; a spiritual and practical course in creative living 3; a tapestry of contentment
Ban Breathnach suggests six threads to work on for an abundant life and I think they also are a good starter for bringing a more peaceful mind….
“Gratitude; when we do a mental and spiritual inventory of all that we have, we realise that we are very rich indeed. Gratitude leads to Simplicity ; the desire to clear out, pare down and realize the essentials of what we need to live truly well. Simplicity brings with it Order ; both internally and externally. A sense of order brings us harmony. Harmony ; provides us with the inner peace we need to appreciate the beauty that surrounds us each day and beauty opens us to Joy”
Here are some little habits I have learnt , that will slowly but surely infect you with more peace and quiet…
* Be honest; if you have a grateful thought – never ever hesitate to share it, even if you feel like a goose- express how grateful you are for a beautiful clear day, for someones happy face, for someones company, for someones talent they share with you, for a strangers down to earth convo on the street…. respond to it all with an appreciative smile or few words : ) As a grateful mind is a peaceful one.
*Do something regularly that connects your body with your mind; my zen activities are yoga, dancing and paddle boarding. Each involve different sorts of energy but all quiet the mind, while the body takes over for a bit. We all need that, a little mind break.
*Play music that really feeds your soul- and listen to it while doing nothing at all…a song that I enjoy like this is Xavier Rudd’s- Follow the sun, its contemplative without even delving into your own thoughts. More so just feeding you good feelings!
*A nice ritual my partner passed on, is to find a special place, a lookout over the beach or at some quiet place outdoors with a beer at sundown and simply appreciate. And don’t just do this on special occasions like a date, bring this into you life as much as you can.
*Practice listening more, I have only learnt this in the last couple of years. As i feel like we have this thing in our head that we have to contribute our opinions all the time, but sometimes its nice to be the quiet one and listen, really listen to others
*Try one task at a time more when doing house chores, instead of multi-tasking to the max. This one I am constantly fighting as I work as a Personal assistant and I come home with that same efficiency intent. But when you actually just focus on the act of washing the dishes, it’s actually quite relaxing letting your hands do the work and letting your head switch off for 15 minutes.
* Put your legs up a wall or a tree, close your eyes, arms at your side with palms up and breathe naturally, this inversion is so good in your break from work or at the end of your day, easing stress and calming the mind.
* Also accepting yourself for all your imperfections, can bring about a lot of peace and clear a lot of mental chatter. Write down a list of ten things you love about yourself physically; all your little quirks and things that make you, you. Then write down a list of ten things you love about your personality and nature. Reference this when needed ; )
In-genius words: Marilyn Monroe
*But also forget about your ego often and tap into your beautiful spirit and laugh; find more things to laugh about, hang with people who make you laugh and just be silly, so you can laugh at yourself more – This will make your mind less serious and more joyous…I am taking a page from Dalai Lama’s book here I think, he is always giggling!
I hope you can meditate on/with these little tasks and find more joy, quiet and calm.