Mermaid Tree

Exploring the complex, celebrating the simple

Ways to maintain your meditation practice November 18, 2009

 

In your outer life

If you can feel

consciously and soulfully happy

Even while doing

Ordinary, mundane things,

God will consider this

Your real meditation

~Sri Chinmoy

 

We all go through rough patches.  Life gets busy and stressful, and that can affect our ability/desire to meditate.  Worrying about work or school, trying to stave off a cold, and trying to plan life in general, does not exactly create a Zen mood that is conducive to meditation.  So maybe you tell yourself that you’ll meditate when you “have more time.”  Go ahead…raise your hand if you’ve done that.  *raises hand!*  Well, like me, you’ve probably found that this can lead to loooong periods of not meditating at all because you keep thinking you’ll be able to find time the next day.

What would really help, is if you do something simple every day (or every other day) to keep your spiritual life healthy.  So, the next time you get stuck, try using some of the methods discussed below to help maintain your meditation practice. 

  • Work with something that you connect with easily and that you enjoy using. For me it’s usually crystals and tarot. Even when I have trouble meditating, I just lay down with a crystal (or several) and let them do their thing!  When you are stressed, try not to do too many actual tarot readings because it’s hard to stay objective; and you might just end up confusing yourself more. Instead, you can pull a card each morning and meditate on that card. It helps give you some focus and guidance during the day.  (If you aren’t comfortable using the Tarot, you can purchase Oracle cards.  Some of them have messages written on them are especially good for daily guidance.)
  • Light candles instead of turning on the lights.(But make sure you don’t end up straining your eyes.  Go ahead and use a lamp if you’re going to read!)  Candlelight is always so soothing, and it puts you into a relaxed and receptive state. So even if you don’t meditate, your consciousness is still being brought into a state of openness and creativity. Just think of the Goddess Brigid’s flames of inspiration. 
  • Write in your journal, or write a letter to God/dess or your Angels.  It’s a wonderful way to sort through your thoughts.  Write what you are grateful for, what you are nervous or fearful about, what you need guidance about.  Write about the big things and the little things.  Just let it all out.  It’s between you and your Spiritual Team (and they love you and want to help you!  Just ask!)
  • Listen to music and dance.  Sound is such a powerful tool.  Ohm:  the sound of creation.  So listen to music that soothes, uplifts and empowers you. Listen to songs that you connect with good memories that’ll make you laugh!  And dance!  Your entire being (including your body) is a manifestation of Spirit’s creative force.  So using your body as a way to connect with the Divine through dance is not wrong.  Dance like a god/dess.  Dance like you are the wind soaring over plains.  Dance like you are a thunderstorm.  Dance by yourself, with your partner, with friend…just dance!  (And of course playing an instrument falls under this category!!!!!!)
  • Pray.  Say the prayers or invocations that make you feel reassured.  Say the Rosary, recite mantras, read the Charge of the God/dess, state affirmations, read from Sacred Texts.  Write your own prayers
  • Make sure you bless your food and water. It really helps. Appreciate and be aware of the food you are putting into your body.  I personally find tea to be incredibly comforting. Plus I love the blend of water and earth! The way the herbs infuse the water and transform it into something else entirely is a magickal process – alchemy. 

These methods don’t require a lot of time, and they can help you regain and maintain your spiritual, emotional and mental balance.  Give it a try!

What other methods do you use to maintain your meditation practice?  Comment below!

 

Meditation With Lyrics September 13, 2009

Filed under: Author: Mermaid — Mermaid Tree @ 5:20 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

In the first Poem of the Week post, I mentioned how powerful words can be in practicing manifestation (search for “Art Psalms” to read the full article), but they can also be used in lyric form to aid in the meditation process.  Traditionally, meditative music is considered to be instrumental or to have a guide’s voice recorded over it in order to keep the listener focused.  Secular music heard every day on the radio isn’t usually considered useful in entering a meditative state or vibrating at a higher spiritual level.  Words that are normally used to aid in meditation are chants, repeated over and over again until you become part of the sound, but sometimes we are so familiar with the lyrics of a song that they are like a chant, exclaiming our emotions mixed with melody. 

The next time you are having trouble meditating or if you are looking for a change in your spiritual routine, I recommend going through your cds and playlists for a song you know completely by heart (generally, unexpected sounds can jar someone from a meditative state) both lyrically and musically.  It doesn’t matter if the song has a strong beat or a soft, slow tune, as long as you are familiar with it inside and out and can connect to the emotions portrayed, it will do.  You can even use the soundtrack to your favorite movie!  Try putting it on repeat or making a playlist full of songs that meet that description, though be aware of the transitions between songs.  This is supposed to aid in meditation, not make it more difficult.

Start by laying down or sitting in a comfortable position, as always, and try closing your eyes and resisting to urge to sing along or move to the beat.  Clear your mind and try just saying the words along with the song.  Focus on the imagery that comes with every verse and allow yourself to be consumed by that imagery.  Eventually stop saying the lyrics out loud and just let your mind drift and your thoughts flow. 

It may take some time to get used to, but this is a great way to change up your meditations!

As a side note, I would like to thank Dan for our first comment on the Mermaid Tree!  He is a photographer that created an app for the iPhone that pairs scenic meditative pictures with quotations.  It is inexpensive and a great tool for meditation.  To check out the link, look for the comment under the “10 Best Free iPhone Apps for the Spiritual.”  This is another way to use your phone in your spiritual life as well as use words in your meditative practices. 

 

What sorts of music, if any, do you listen to when meditating?  Have you ever had a deep meditation to a song with lyrics?