Hey babe, what’s your type…?
Of meditation, that is! Last week when receiving guidance from one of my mentors she mentioned how important it was for me to take the time to meditate. I told her that I was not the type of person to sit down and get quiet because the experience was not always a pleasant one for me. She reminded me that she knew that the speed in which my mind races can be overwhelming and frankly scary at times, but that I am in full control of any situation. At that point, I started to think about ways to incorporate meditation into my routine without forcing it, then I realized I was already meditating in my own way, I just had to shift my perspective on the whole “meditation thing".
One of the best explanations that I have heard about the word meditation is that it should be likened to the word sports. The term sports broadly encompasses a variety of activities (baseball, soccer, golf, etc.), as does the concept of meditation; there are a number of methods that are all considered meditation.
Here are a few traditional types of meditation (this is certainly not a comprehensive list, just enough to get some ideas flowing for you):
Here are a few modern meditative practices:
So now that I just gave you all those different types of meditation, I am going to share a little secret. I don’t think that it really matters what meditation you do. The word meditation is often coupled with the term mindfulness. I feel that the act of meditation is however you interpret the practice of mindfulness. Mindfulness is being present and in the moment, allowing yourself to observe your thoughts and feelings from a distance without judging them, good or bad. This happens when you allow yourself to experience flow, or complete absorption with an activity. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Hungarian psychologist, describes flow as "being completely involved in an activity for its own sake. The ego falls away. Time flies. Every action, movement, and thought follows inevitably from the previous one, like playing jazz. Your whole being is involved, and you're using your skills to the utmost.” (If you haven't heard of him, check out his Ted Talk on flow!) Most people experience flow in their daily lives without realizing it, whether it is during exercise (running, hiking, biking, etc.) or artistic endeavors (writing, art, cooking, etc.), we are already achieving this illusive meditation experience without knowing!
What I do think is important when actively meditating is setting an intention for your time. Your intent can be as simple as relaxing, or letting go of daily stress and clearing your mind, to more specific focuses (a spiritual journey or raising your personal vibration). Obviously your intent will control your experience and every meditation is unique, but when you set your intention for purposeful meditation you may hear, see or even feel things that are outside of your regular perceptions. Even if you don't experience any of these things during your meditation, know that you got exactly what you needed out of the time you took to honor yourself.
Here are a few proven effects that meditation has on your body:
When is the last time you tried living in the moment and awakening to your experience? A couple weeks ago I wrote about an experience hiking on a local mountain and compared it to walking a labyrinth, little did I know in doing that, I was opening up space for a labyrinth of my own. Last week I was in my back yard chatting with a friend when I had the guidance that I was supposed to shift the energy in the yard so that it was purposeful, not just dirt and rocks strewn about. A few days later, I had no idea why I was in the yard raking the dirt and moving rocks around, but of a sudden, three hours later, I had crafted my first labyrinth. I was given the guidance that if I didn’t want to get stuck in my head, I needed to do something physical in order to move freely which would allow for the guidance flow freely as well. So now I have my own personal labyrinth that helps me to meditate in the way that suits my daily needs best.
Remember, as the illustrious Ferris Bueller once said, "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” Listen to Ferris, I think he had the mindfulness thing down pretty well.
Love and Light,
xo Arielle Sterling
Arielle's love of writing has afforded her the opportunity to apprentice with best selling authors, intern with community leaders, and blog for international corporations. She graduated Summa Cum Laude with a degree in Human Communication and a Certificate in Writing from Arizona State University in 2013.
"All of my experiences have been amazing!! Just wish I lived closer so I could have more face to face sessions! No words can truly describe the amazing abilities Arielle has. The first day I met her I felt an immediate connection. I have lived a very hard life of constant anxiety from years of mental and emotional abuse, my walls are very high as far as who I let in or feel comfortable with . I am a skeptic and rarely trust anyone I meet. Anytime I am near her or even just speaking to her via phone or FaceTime I have an immediate sense of calm. Just recently I made a big move across the country and I have gone to her for guidance every step of the way. Because of her I have found myself again. I can honestly say I am the happiest I have been in 15 years. I know I am in control of my own destiny and the life choices I have made are mine and mine alone but without Arielle's constant support and genuine caring guidance I would still feel as alone as I've felt my whole life." - A.G., Davenport, IA
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