Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Incorporating Meditation

To me, being spiritual means staying in touch with my spirit. I know deep within that I have a powerful connection to something beautiful, loving and giving. I am loved and I know that when I feel connected to my source, my God. When I am not feeling connected, life has a way of overtaking me. I get wrapped up in all the external matters of day to day living and forget my powerful helper, my spirit.

When I feel alone and unloved, I punish myself. I get overcome with sadness and want to collapse and sleep away precious days. When I reconnect with my source I feel loved. I no longer feel lonely and can approach each moment of my day with curiosity, appreciation and enthusiasm. For me, meditation is something that I resist at times but also something that is essential for my wellbeing.

If I allot twenty minutes in the morning to ask my higher power to help me treat myself and all those around me with gentle compassion and love, my day is entirely different from the days when I neglect my time of connection with the spiritual energy all around me, and inside me.

Early this morning, for example, I awoke lying in bed with my head stuffed full of worries. The more I tried to quiet my mind, the more negative chatter I experienced. I felt tired, lonely, and unlovable. I didn’t want to lie there feeling so badly and I didn’t want to get up and face another day of responsibilities and stress either. In years past I might have turned to food for solace (no, not I might have, I would have). I would definately have engaged in emotional overeating. I’d have chosen muffins, or doughnuts or tortillas with butter and jam. These reliable friends would unfailingly be there to calm my frazzled nerves and soothe my aching heart. Now I know better and you do also. We know these foods will only make whatever we are feeling bad about, feel worse in the long run. So I put my feet onto the floor and forced myself out of my warm, cozy covers.

For me, meditation provides a better alternative to the sugars and carbohydrates of bygone days. Taking twenty minutes to sit quietly and comfortably with eyes closed, focusing on my breathing – deeply at first - then slowly, quietly and peacefully as I continue both centers and calms me. I choose a word such as peace or love to repeat over and over with each breath to help my mind clear itself of some of the rumbling negative chatter. I pray sometimes and ask God to help me through the day, and when I do this I feel a shift inside of myself. I no longer feel alone, discouraged or bombarded with negative thoughts. When I open my eyes my energy is different and I feel ready for the wonders of the day ahead – not exhausted and apprehensive as I once did.

Now, this is what works for me. Yes, there are days when I am unable to enter a meditative state and those days are more difficult. When that happens I do my best to take care of myself (with varying degrees of success). I count my blessings, take deep breaths whenever I think of it and engage in activities and conversations that are pleasant and positive.

It is always my choice how I approach my day. I can drag myself out of bed and unconsciously perform the routine duties before me. I can plod mindlessly along like a robot and, for me, this assures I will struggle and things will seem more overwhelming and stressful than they need to be.

The alternative is to approach each day as a new start and spend those quiet few minutes in the morning connecting with myself, my spirit, to remind myself of my many blessings and to ask God to help me live this day fully, appreciating all I have and making the most of each moment. The difference is like night and day.

An unconscious, disconnected day is likely to be filled with negative experiences and emotions, many of which will scream to be soothed with food. We have all learned through experience that our old friend food will never fail to soothe and satisfy us in the short term.

A conscious, connected day is entirely different. Those valuable few meditative moments can mean the difference between feeling frustrated, exhausted and depressed or feeling peaceful, joyful and optimistic. It is always your choice (although it may not always feel that way). Making the choices that you know are in your own best interest is not always easy. If you are feeling badly about yourself, guilty or ashamed for example, the last thing you will want to do is treat yourself lovingly. You are much more likely to want to punish yourself with yet another day of unhealthy food and frustration. Perhaps a few minutes of quiet concious breathing will help you turn things around.

No comments: