My good friend Vonne, is a teacher and entrepreneur from the Washington D.C. area. She is my guest blogger today. Her bio is below!
Peacefulness. Calmness. Stillness. Ooooh. How nice that sounded to me. I am from a family of people who react quickly, think quickly, and have brains that keep on working late into the night. This can be both a blessing and a curse. The curse part is one of the reasons that I wanted a meditation practice of my very own.
Meditation, in fact, perked my interest for many years before I finally began. I read a few books, but it wasn’t until I found one of Easwaran’s first books on meditation that I began to practice, and it was easier than other kinds, called mantra meditation.
The thing is, I liked it, yet my practice wasn’t regular. I would go for several weeks, and then I would get too involved in something or other, and the practice would be gone.
I didn’t have a clear idea of what I wanted my practice to be like, nor had I set a clear intention. Those two initial moves would have made following through much easier. If you think about exactly what you want (if I thought this through, I would have realized that I wanted to be a person who meditated every day), and if you set an intention to get yourself there (I will meditate for 30 minutes every day), you have a better chance of arriving at a practice.
A second issue for me was that I wanted to use meditation to make my life better. Research seems to agree that meditation has benefits for emotional, mental, and physical health. But here is the kicker: it is my belief that meditation works best to improve some aspect of your life if you also are doing some investigation into that area to understand it better. Again, what you need is a clear vision of some part of your life that you want to make better- then you’ll have a direction to investigate in.
The night that I was asked to contribute to this blog, I had a very clear dream in which I was explaining meditation to President Obama. “The thing is,” I explained, “You need to have done some reading and examining of the parts of your life that need changing. That way, you not only start to improve your life as you meditate, but the parts of your mind you are strengthening increase the speed of the improvement. In turn, you get more motivation to keep meditating!” I hope you, Kind Reader, get as much benefit from this information as dream Obama did.
One thing that really gets strengthened by meditation is the power of you to step outside of a natural instinct to instantly react to stimuli and people as you have been programmed to react by your family, social circle, and any other outside force. As you may imagine, when you don’t react, you get a chance to truly think about what action to take, and the actions will better suit your desires for a better life.
If you have done some reading and thinking about the aspect of life which you wish to improve, you will have a larger understanding of negative patterns or choices that you would like to change. You won’t have knee-jerk instant reactions that families often have installed in each other. You can choose instead to ignore, to remain in non-judgment, to smile, to change the topic, and just to be more serene and self-contained.
Does a regular practice sound appealing to you? I once met a good friend of mine after he had done a week-long meditation retreat. This is a wonderful friend who tends to be extremely intense and reactive- sometimes so much that it sometimes is a bit difficult for me to be around him. After the retreat, he and I met for a quick snack and chat, and I could not believe the feeling I got from sitting across from him! There was such a peace and relaxation about his total being that I knew that he had gotten so much benefit from his week. Nonetheless, it is the ongoing regularity of a practice that will help people the most- just like an ongoing exercise program. You can see the proof in the pudding in the short run, but the habit is what gets the real rewards.
Along these lines, the last key thing that I’d like to share is the “RPM” method that I learned from Davidji, a key Chopra Center staff member and the meditation teacher at the Chopra Conference where I learned primal sound meditation, which is a meditation that I’ve kept up for the last three years. It’s so easy to fall out of a meditation practice- so many things get in the way. So it’s best to get it done in the morning. Absolutely first thing- R: rise P: pee M: meditate. Sounds all fancy as “RPM,” but that’s all it is! Follow that method, and you will find that you are a person who meditates every day. And you are becoming a person who changes life around yourself for the better.
Vonne Cee has practiced meditation and yoga for several years and feels she is always a work in progress. She is an experienced English as a Second and Foreign Language educator who helps second language speakers upgrade their English language skills so they can reach their career and educational goals. Her website can be found at unstoppable-english.com