Meditation: a way of life

If I mention something about meditation and my daughter hears me, she’ll say, “Can I meditate with you?” We’ve been waking up on sleepy summer mornings and stepping out on the back porch to meditate together. It’s been a nice summer rhythm and so nice to share with her. I’ve been going through a 200 hour yoga training and one of the assignments was to keep a meditation journal. It’s made me aware of how important it is to find the best place and time to meditate.

I might sound strange but meditation makes me think of Julia Child. I think of Julia and Paul in their charming home in Provence…that is now a vacation rental, Le Peetch, where you can cook and practice yoga. I bet she would have been all for practicing meditation…probably in her kitchen while waiting for the pot to boil. I imagine her having a “what-the-hell attitude” and giving it a try because deep down (like most people) meditation truly is worthwhile. I tend to always come back to Julia for inspiration on life because she had it right. These are some of my favorite Julia quotes that I think can relate to meditation…

“The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you’ve got to have a what-the-hell attitude.”
“Find something you’re passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it.”
“The measure of achievement is not winning awards. It’s doing something that you appreciate, something you believe is worthwhile.”

This summer, I’ve had two major events…moving into a new home and going through yoga teacher training. The move was stressful and meditation helped sort out the mess. I used an app called headspace but there are several others that my fellow teacher training friends recommend. Pick one and carve out a space and time and like Julia says, “keep tremendously interested in it.

Meditation teaches us how to recognize and respond to life in a meaningful and organized way . The benefits of meditation carry over into your day and hopefully the rest of your life. Awareness is key…welcoming thoughts but stepping back from them so that you get perspective on situations that pop up. This helps to create a spacial awareness and being content in the moment. The feeling of being open and grounded remains with you as you move back into your daily routine. There’s a healing and healthy feeling after you’ve meditated that helps you remember your connection to the universe and recover a sense of peace. You have to sit still, clear your mind and be silent…it’s an active exercise. It’s helpful to feel your body relax, imagine the shoulders softening…then it happens.

Meditation is changing the world. The Dallas Police take meditation breaks to clear the mind before going back to work. You might see a sign on the door that says, “”working on an elephant” to signal an officer is working on a big project…other officers know not to bother them unless it’s urgent. “It’s like getting an oil change or washing your car,” he said. “You feel like the car is new again. This is maintenance on you.”

Did you see Andy Puddicombe guide Jimmy Fallon through a two-minute meditation? Puddicombe is the co-founder and the voice of the meditation app Headspace. He is a former Buddhist monk and the author of three books and has the most calming British voice. He says this about Headspace, “No chanting, no sitting cross-legged but rather just a really a quick and easy way to de-stress, focus and improve your relationships, sleep and overall way of living.”

It’s challenging to have a daily meditation practice…it’s a commitment just like exercise, but if you miss practice for a day or longer, simply begin again. If you meditate daily you will come to experience noticeable benefits such as your health and happiness improving and finding an inner ease. Even if it’s for just a few moments out of your day, just having those moments to be quiet is a gift. It’s the most amazing tool…take care of your mind.

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