Do you know our mind has similar needs as our body? Exercise and nutrition develop our muscles and keeps us healthy. But what mental activities can develop our mind? What can we do so that our minds are nourished and our dormant capabilities and potentialities are revealed?
We know daily journaling is one such mental discipline that nourishes our whole self. The other, and more important, is the practice of meditation. Meditation integrates body, heart and mind, and releases tremendous inner resources.
We all are familiar with times when we can’t stop thinking of something over and over again, when our thoughts run wild, when we hear constant jabbering that at times grows even louder. We long for quiet, we need silence. Somewhere to sit still, inhale and exhale in solitude. This is the time when we need to practice meditation.
Meditation practice is simple. Sit at the place you have by now designated for journaling. Sit comfortably. Pull out the sides of your bottoms so that you are sitting on your pelvic bone. If you sit on a chair, plant your feet firmly on the ground. Sit with your back straight, your shoulders and chest relaxed, hands one over the other resting on your lap, and thumbs touching. Close your eyes and focus on your breath. Breathe in and breathe out. Breathe slowly and deeply for five, ten or fifteen minutes. Keep a timer.
In the beginning you may feel boredom, frustration, and thoughts such as “Why am I wasting my time?” or “So many chores need to be done.” or “This is not for me” will surface. You twitch, fidget, scratch. Be patient. Watch all your restless movements. Pay attention to them and see them disappear. Then come back to your breath. Breathe in and breathe out. Breathe slowly and deeply.
The aim of meditation is to be aware of your body. To be present “Here Now.” This practice is not done to relax. It is done to become aware of what is happening inside you. Observing, paying attention and acknowledging whatever is happening irrespective of whether the feeling is too painful or too pleasurable. You sit in a particular way and focus on your breathing until you are still and your focus is on inhaling and exhaling. Stillness emerges out of your attentive mode
When the overall activity level in your brain is low original thoughts bubble up. Insights and intuitive ideas emerge only in quiet minds. Noble Laurette and neuro-psychologist, Roger W. Sperry (1913-1994), discovered that human brain consists of two cerebral hemispheres. They function with fundamentally different modes of thinking. One hemisphere is verbal and analytic (reading, writing and arithmetic), and the other perceptual (art and visual perception). A thick nerve connects the two hemispheres for the brain to function optimally. Most of us tend to focus either on the left or on the right hemisphere. The daily practice of meditation helps to connect the two modes of thinking and develops lopsided mind into balanced mind. It enhances both thinking and visualization modes which increase possibilities for opening uo of personal capabilities and potential.
The Mindful Writers Group weekly meetings begin with fifteen minutes of guided meditation and fifteen minutes of journaling followed by three to four hours of writing. One thing I can assure you is that we never ever face any writing blocks, obstacles, blank page or any such thing on the day we follow this routine.