In the past, when writing about meditation in my posts, I cite my favorite meeting place – my local metaphysical bookstore, Phoenix and Dragon. Oh, how I do love my group meditations. I have been attending those sessions for over two years now and I don’t think I could go without them. They are a retreat from my life. A place to just sit and be.
As wonderful as those gatherings are to me, I have a hard time convincing others of the power meditation holds for a healthier mind, body and, of course, soul or spirit. When I mention joining me for meditation, most people politely decline and usually say something to the effect of, “I can’t keep my mind from thinking.”
But, meditation is not meant to make a person not think. It is meant to help someone to see those thoughts for what they are: thoughts. Fleeting, scattering, blowing with the wind, thoughts. Like clouds, they float in, they stay for a matter of seconds, and they are gone again. Forever changing.
I do get it that sitting in meditation in a room full of other people for an hour may not be for everyone.
The reason I do it is because it gives me the time to just go within myself. I feel my shoulders (the place I hold the most stress) going down, down, down with each relaxing, focused breath; and, I like to be in a room where others are releasing their stress and feeling worries and cares drifting away, even if it is just for one hour.
To those who do not mediate, an hour may seem long. But what if the sitting wasn’t for an hour? What if it were just three minutes?
Today, I am reading a book called Positive Energy, 10 Extraordinary Prescriptions for Transforming Fatigue, Stress and Fear into Vibrance, Strength and Love by Judith Orloff, M.D.
The title is what grabbed me. Who can’t use more vibrance, strength and love and less fatigue, stress and fear?
Orloff is an Energy Psychiatrist. People go to her because they are feeling fatigued, depressed and generally stressed in their daily lives. And I’m thinking if they just want a medicine to take care of what ails them, they are out of luck. I would be shocked if she even had one of those pads in her office, based on what I am reading. She requires people to change their lives rather than just get a script and do a bit of talking.
In her book, one “prescription” is to find a nurturing spiritual path. Under that heading is a step to “discovering the power of meditation.”
Under the power of meditation is an exercise: Open Your Heart with This Three-Minute (Only) Mini-Meditation
Here is how it works:
· Settle down in a peaceful place. Separate yourself from distractions.
· Get quiet. Relax your body. Slowly inhale. Then exhale.
· Gently rest your palm on the area over your heart energy center, or chakra. This area is about two inches in diameter, located in the mid-chest. (The physical heart is to its left). According to Orloff, opening your heart will nourish you and replenish your energy.
· Concentrate on a person, place, song, or memory you cherish. You may want to start with nature. The purpose is to feel love in a general sense, then specifically concentrate on the hand in the middle of your chest.
· Visualize any thoughts as clouds drifting in the sky. Try to see the thoughts as outside of yourself – something you can let pass.
· Observe the sensations in your heart center, where your hand is resting. Concentrate on the feeling you feel there – heat, coolness, tingling, vibration, expansion, bliss, pressure releasing, compassion. Calmness.
· Do this for only three minutes. Set a timer to go off after three minutes. I’ve tried it and I would not be writing this post if it didn’t work for me. It is rejuvenating and calming at the same time.
Orloff explains, for this meditation a serene setting is ideal, but it is supposed to be a portable meditation. This is a technique you can do in a park or in an airport. She says to forget formality. Close your eyes, put your hand on your heart and go for it.
On the days when there is no group meditation to attend and my house has people in it (which seems like always), the thought of a three minute meditation making a difference in my demeanor is attractive, particularly at my “witching hour” around 4 or 5 in the afternoon. This is the time I might start reaching for the chocolate.
And it’s not just me. Everyone in the house seems to melt down around then. The house becomes a mix of all of our energies that sometimes do not jive together. It’s easy to end up tense.
For instance, my son might be karate chopping at my daughter for the one hundredth time in a two hour period, meaning I have been listening to my daughter scream to the top of her lungs one hundred times in response.
It is at this time I feel a physical change in my body and in my mind. My shoulders are up to my ears and my tolerance for all things child-like is waning. That big wrinkle on my forehead right between my eyes starts to cave in and I might even yell rather loudly that if anybody touches anybody again and if anyone screams again that they will see mommy’s head pop off. I ask them, “Do you want to see mommy’s head pop off?”
Enter three minutes. I can do three minutes. I notice if I can meditate, even for a small amount of time, I can see things for what they are – my two tired babies just trying to let everyone know how they feel.
I can also shield myself in one minute with an imagined white light. I can breath out imagined black, negative energy and breath in white positive energy. I can say a mantra like, “This too shall pass.” Because the truth is that these times are short lived. They do pass. They are just thoughts, emotions, clouds even. The tense feeling is not my heart, nor my intention.
I do love that the three minute mini-meditation is meant to connect to the one place that I want all of my actions to come from, the heart. Because that’s where so much of my life resides, with love, in my heart.
Positive Energy, 10 Extraordinary Prescriptions for Transforming Fatigue, Stress & Fear into Vibrance, Strength & Love. The Second Prescription, Find a Nurturing Spiritual Path. Page 66. Open Your Heart With This Three-Minute (Only) Mini-Meditation.