Meditate: definition by Merriam Webster.
1: to engage in contemplation or reflection
2: to engage in mental exercise (such as concentrating on one’s breathing or repetition of a mantra) for the purpose of reaching a heightened level of spiritual awareness
On more than one occasion, I have attempted to focus on my breathing, relax my mind through guided and non-guided meditations and attend group meditations to no avail.
I have listened to soothing music, read countless books on mind over matter, practiced visual exercises and yoga to find how to “let my thoughts go” as I teach my classes.
So, if nothing works, why bother teaching children how to meditate?
Simple. Giving them the tools and knowledge of why we meditate and methods on how to meditate will inevitably help them as they grow into adults, something I wish I had learned as a child.
Meditation need not be defined and practiced in a specific manner. Some may find listening to soothing music, a calming voice or silence, is what they need in order to focus and calm their mind.
Others, such as myself, find walking in nature the best way to relax, to hear messages from my inner self.
There is nothing more peaceful and calming than listening to the songs of the birds, twittering high in the trees, singing their joyful melodies as I walk quietly below their perch.
Or sitting beside a flowing stream, watching the water twist and turn around rocks, seeing leaves float by on their way to who knows where.
This for me, is how I “let my thoughts go”. Nature.
Spending time in nature is healing energy-Emilyquotes
I must admit I don’t meditate as often as I would like. Why is that? What is my reason? What are the reasons for so many people?
There are so many excuses. Many of us read articles, books, blogs, ask for opinions or advice on how to meditate, thinking that maybe reading will help me to meditate properly.
Then there’s the reason: “I can’t focus my mind”, “I can’t concentrate”, “I keep thinking of all the things I need to do” and so on and so on and so on…
I believe one of the main reasons is that we simply don’t set aside time for ourselves. We believe that if we just finish this, or make sure of that, we will be able to take 5 mins. for ourselves.
Another reason, we’re afraid of missing something. What if so-and-so comments on my post/pic/blog/Instagram… What if the phone rings? What if my kids/pets/other half/someone needs me? What if, what if, what if.
The 2 worst words, ever!
For me, it has always been a challenge to relax and not let worry and fear dominate my thoughts.
I have lived with depression and anxiety my entire life, an issue I am currently addressing with the help of a new physician. Although I have dealt with this struggle in the past, there never has been any follow through or attempts to find new tools to help. Reaching out to our former physician never resulted in any solutions. Try this, it doesn’t work, that’s it.
Now, on my very first visit to a new physician, I was given a 2 page questionnaire, need blood work, etc. then another appt. to discuss the next steps. I don’t recall having done a mental health questionnaire before. Yeah! Action!
Meditating isn’t something my fear driven mind is able to deal with at the moment because of what I am dealing with in my life. I have since come to the realization there may be more to my personal struggles than once believed.
It is because of this thought that I wonder how I would have been able to deal with the challenges of every day life had I been taught ways to meditate in my younger years. Maybe my personal struggles wouldn’t have escalated.
Or better yet, had I learned that my love of dancing in the woods, smelling fresh cut grass and the earth after the rain were actually healing, I wouldn’t have thought myself odd. What if …..the dreaded 2 words.
Learning to let your thoughts go, relax, reflect and listen to your inner voice, your higher self, would help us all. And maybe, just maybe there would be less mental health issues.
Meditating is not as difficult as many believe, myself included. Giving this knowledge to young people, in my opinion, will help mental health for everyone.