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!

 

Prayer and Spellwork: What is the difference? September 22, 2009

Filed under: Author: Mermaid — Mermaid Tree @ 12:26 am
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Generally, spells are given a bad reputation by those not practicing witchcraft, following a neo-pagan path, or who have bothered to ask a practitioner what they are all about.  Ignorance only breeds more ignorance and out of this comes fear and then people and beliefs are completely misunderstood and then I become very upset.  The worst thing is to judge someone based upon something they believe when you haven’t even done your homework.  So, in the spirit of spreading accurate information, I wanted to write a post about the similarities and differences (if any) between performing a spell and praying.  I also figured that with the coming of Mabon, some of you may have to explain your beliefs to people, particularly those close to you that are not familiar with Wiccan or neo-pagan practices.  Finding some common ground is always a good place to start.

In general, prayer is a part of nearly every major or minor world religion.  The act of connecting to a higher power through words as an individual or group is very common.  Even people who don’t consider themselves to be very religious or even spiritually inclined may find themselves praying at different times in their lives for help with a difficult decision or a particularly undesirable situation.  What does differ is who they believe is hearing their prayers, though even this can be debated as there are many who believe the many higher powers of the different world religions are actually the same Spirit.  What is important for this discussion is what traditionally goes into prayer;  how one might define the act of praying. 

Here is my attempt at coming up with such a definition:  Prayer is the act of saying (either out loud or silently to one’s self) a set of words that can be written by the religious practitioner and improvisational or written by a recognized figure of higher authority within that religion in the hopes of forming a connection with a higher power ,giving praise to that higher power, making an impact on a current earthly situation, or a combination of the three previous reasons.  For example, one might pray to ask for help in times of need or to thank the higher power for help given or simply to demonstrate worship of the higher power.  This act may or may not be accompanied by physical movements (sitting, standing, bowing, making the sign of the cross, etc) and objects (incense, bells, music, etc).  In some cases, time is also an important factor in prayer (time of day or specific occasions, for example).

Now, I would like for you to read the above definition, except replace the word “prayer” with the word “spell.”  This is what a spell is.   True, the two acts may differ in some respects, but at their core, they are very similar ways to interact with a higher power, usually in the hopes of changing something in the material world.  There is nothing wrong with the similarity and I apologize if I offend practitioners of any religion.  This is simply my personal observation and belief. 

Now, as you go about your day, think of the many other things you see in people that you find to be odd or even offensive.  Try to find their counterpart in your own life.  As I said ignorance breeds ignorance, so the more people pushing intelligent acceptance of all, the better.

Blessed Mabon everyone, and Blessed Acceptance!

 

Have you ever had an encounter where you were forced to explain yourself to someone who misunderstood you?  What are your personal beliefs on prayer and spellwork?

 

Meditate with your eyes open September 6, 2009

Filed under: Author: Tree — Mermaid Tree @ 3:33 pm
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“Watching birds has become part of my daily meditation affirming my connection to the earth body.” ~Carol P. Christ

 

I know we have discussed how deep breathing can help you slip into meditation.  And it’s true – focusing on your breathing is a simple and extremely effective way of centering yourself and entering meditation.  But what do you do when you have a cold?  

Your nose is all blocked up, your head feels like it’s full of cotton, and keeping up good posture is the last thing you want to focus on.  Plus if you’re taking cold medicine, closing your eyes will invariable lead to you sleeping instead of meditating!  So what are you to do?  I faced this problem yesterday afternoon.

I was in my living room sitting in a half lotus position, eyes closed, and breathing deeply.  Or I was trying to anyway.  As soon as I attempted a “deep breath” I had a coughing fit.  My body felt all achy so staying in half lotus was not going to work.  And I really really really wanted to go to sleep.  So there I was:  slouched over with my eyes closed – a perfect picture of lethargy.  

I would have just thrown myself back into bed, but I wanted to clear out my energy in order to help speed the healing process.  Since the traditional form of meditation was obviously not effective at that moment, I decided to try something else.  I got a cup of tea, went out on the balcony, and looked at the trees.  Simple.  I looked at the tall trees, the freshly mowed grass, the patches of blue sky, the light of the sun as it moved in and out of the cover of clouds.  I listened to the crickets, the cars passing by, and the children calling to each other as they played.  And I just let myself Be.  Sometimes we forget that our very existence is sacred.  And we don’t realize that every moment of appreciation is a moment of prayer and meditation in it’s own right.  You can connect with the Universe by traveling inwards; but you can also connect by taking the time to appreciate the Universe’s physical manifestations.  

As the sun came back out I absorbed it’s energy into my skin.  I said hello to the trees (I have a MAJOR connection with the element of Earth, and trees in particular are very good friends of mine).  I let myself be caressed by the wind and serenaded by the crickets.  Nature helped ease me and clear out the stagnant energy I was holding onto.  I set the intention that the Sun was transmuting all negative energy and filling me with healthy radiance instead.  

I still have a cold, but it’s passing through my system much faster now and I’m not as lethargic and achy as I was.  And my energy feels a LOT better!

So if you also have a cold – or are just having trouble with more traditional meditation techniques – try looking at nature and go ahead and meditate with your eyes open!  It really helps.  And if you do it often enough you will find it becomes easier to connect with Nature and the Nature spirits.  And the best part is that you can ALWAYS fit it into your busy schedule!  When walking to and from your car just take a moment to tune yourself into the nature around you.  You will definitely begin to feel the balance and healing it brings to your life! 

 

Would you like to share which form of meditation works best for you?  Comment below!