Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Meditation: Sharing as I Start This New Journey

Do you meditate? Meditation is becoming increasingly popular as more people learn of its benefits and few drawbacks. This ancient practice helps not only the mind, but the body as well. Anxiety and stress are so prevalent in our society today, we need to do something about them. (Identifying Anxiety and Seeking Help) Some people undergoing treatments for serious illnesses such as cancer have found that meditation helps them cope with the side effects and it gives them another tool with which to fight their disease. Meditation helps reduce pain levels and stress; it can even lower blood pressure. Meditation makes people happier and more focused. And it can be done anywhere by anyone.

Meditation in its various forms has been studied and much as been written. Even the New York Times offered an opinion on it (Morality of Meditation) earlier this month. So what's not to like about meditation? Why doesn't everyone meditate? That's a great question, particularly since I am embarking on a meditation path, seriously for a change.

I've tried meditating before, although "trying" is a relative term. I'm not one to say that I'm too busy, because I know that if something is important enough to me, I will make time for it. But every time I tried, I complained about how my mind wandered too much, I was bored, I wasn't able to do it. The funny thing is, I don't have any problems sitting and doing nothing with just my thoughts to keep me company. For example, I like being on a bus or plane, just being there. But as I just wrote that, I realized it's not the same thing. I'm not just being there, along with my thoughts.  I'm also watching, listening, observing life around me.

I used to say that I was really trying - was I? I'm not so sure. But the past year has been a year of change for me. Between going to the gym and getting into shape - enough that I can enjoy a 20 km bike ride along the waterfront in less than an hour without feeling like I'm going to collapse - and working hard on my thoughts and how I feel about myself in relation to the world, maybe the time is right now to really work on meditation. The trick is to find what is right for me.

I have tried the just sitting there and meditate approach. Didn't work for me. I've had two psychologists give me recordings that they have made. Didn't work for me. I've tried yoga. Nope, didn't work (but I haven't given up. More on that in another blog post). I've bought a few meditation CDs. No go. So what to do?

Someone I trust and respect suggested I try a program that uses neuro-audio technology that he uses. I had to buy it, so I am taking a chance but I felt confident with the recommendation. I ordered the demo CD first and have been using that for the past week. It's only 20 minutes long, so I don't feel that I'm taking away too much from my other daily activities. However, it is recommended that the full program be done over an hour every day. I can already feel the excuses coming on: I'm devoting an hour several times a week to going to the gym already - what about the other stuff I have to do? Well, maybe I don't need to spend so much time reading news online? Maybe I could get up 15 minutes earlier? Or does it even have to be first thing in the morning? Maybe I can make the time later in the day.

And then there's the order of things that bug someone like me: when to actually listen. I'm very, very routine oriented. For example, if I've not left for the gym by 6:30 or 6:45 at the latest, I feel I can't go. Not because I don't have the time but because by the time I get back, I've thrown my morning routine off. So should I listen before the gym or after? It's probably an easy thing for most people, but I obsess over things like this. Just thinking about it is bugging me. What to do?

Well, I'll have to wait and see what I can do. I should get the full program within the next week. And we'll give it a try. I've not named the program yet because I want to try it first and I'm trying to see if I can get an interview with the founder - that's the writer in me.

Do you meditate? If so, do you have any words of wisdom for me as I start this journey?