by Kathi Casey, ERYT, CPI
Now don’t be afraid of the M word. Meditation doesn’t mean that you have to sit for an hour with your legs in a pretzel shape and a completely blank mind. There are many ways to meditate, and meditation can easily become a prayer. It’s a matter of personal choice. Here are some examples:
- You can do a walking meditation. This consists of a slow, mindful walk where you focus your attention on placing each foot down directly in front of you and roll your foot from heel to toe. It’s not an arm swinging, calorie burning, aerobic walk, but a slow walk with focus and concentration on the ground below your feet. Think of it as a sort of walking Tai Chi. It’s more fun in a park or your back yard than on Main Street, but it can be done anywhere. I have done it on a sidewalk, and others have joined in; after several minutes we looked like a procession or parade. It was great!
- Another technique that you could try is to repeat a “mantra” or a phrase that appeals to you, over and over, focusing only on your phrase. For instance, you could repeat “peace” or “Thank you God for my family” or “Let go and let God” or “I am grateful for mother nature’s beauty ”, you get the idea. As other thoughts try to creep into your mind, watch them come in and watch them go out. Try not to become engaged. After a week or so of practicing this, it becomes easier.
- Visualization is another prayerful meditative technique. For instance, you can sit or lie down in a comfortable position, close your eyes for ten minutes and visualize yourself talking to God (or your higher power). What questions would you ask? Imagine yourself in this conversation and listen to the answers that you may hear. You may be surprised by the inspiration that comes to you at this time. Ten minutes will be up in no time and you’ll feel so much better!
- There are also many guided meditation recordings on the market. You can find them in all different lengths and styles. Most stores today let you listen to a sample track or two so you can test a few out and find one that resonates with you. Simply lie down or sit comfortably and listen to the meditation for ten minutes before you go to bed. Again, try not to become engaged with any other thoughts that attempt to interrupt your prayer and solitude. You’ll find yourself sleeping more peacefully afterward.
I recommend starting a ten minute daily meditation practice now and in about a month it will be a wonderful new habit that satisfies the desire for bringing prayer back into your life. As a bonus, it reduces your stress level, so it’s good for your physical health too!
To get you started, here is a link to an mp3 download of my favorite ten minute guided meditation. Enjoy!
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