When we think of meditating, the image that comes to mind is someone sitting cross-legged on the floor or on a cushion, back straight, eyes closed, and hands with palms up resting on the knees.
That’s only one way to meditate or to sit in silence.
If sitting like this doesn’t work for you, try a reclining position on a bed or couch. For instance, sometimes I will sit in my recliner. There’s a certain angle that’s impossible for me to achieve when sitting upright that, when I’m leaning back in the recliner at that particular angle, my lower back seems to instantly relax, which then allows me to meditate deeper.
Perhaps a walking meditation would suit you better, especially if it’s in a lovely garden or lightly wooded park. You may find that being near moving water works for you, such as walking along a beach or sitting beside a burbling brook. Or maybe it’s still water that does the trick for you. A serene and calm lake or pond with its mirror-like surface may inspire you to release, let go, and to become calm and unruffled like the tranquil waters.
I came across this website that lists and explains 23 types of meditation. Try a few of the methods. Perhaps you’ll find that by combining a few and tweaking them a bit, it’ll be the perfect vehicle for your daily silent mediation practice.
Give it a try!
Let me know which of the meditation styles you like. And, please let me know if you have any questions. Thanks!
Here’s a wonderful essay from Earl Nightingale (who would have been 96 tomorrow) on the importance of reading. Enjoy!
How are you coming with your home library? Do you need some good ammunition on why it’s so important to read? The last time I checked the statistics…I think they indicated that only four percent of the adults in this country have bought a book within the past year. That’s dangerous. It’s extremely important that we keep ourselves in the top five or six percent.
In one of the Monthly Letters from the Royal Bank of Canada it was pointed out that reading good books is not something to be indulged in as a luxury. It is a necessity for anyone who intends to give his life and work a touch of quality. The most real wealth is not what we put into our piggy banks but what we develop in our heads. Books instruct us without anger, threats and harsh discipline. They do not sneer at our ignorance or grumble at our mistakes. They ask only that we spend some time in the company of greatness so that we may absorb some of its attributes.
You do not read a book for the book’s sake, but for your own.
You may read because in your high-pressure life, studded with problems and emergencies, you need periods of relief and yet recognize that peace of mind does not mean numbness of mind.
You may read because you never had an opportunity to go to college, and books give you a chance to get something you missed. You may read because your job is routine, and books give you a feeling of depth in life.
You may read because you did go to college.
You may read because you see social, economic and philosophical problems which need solution, and you believe that the best thinking of all past ages may be useful in your age, too.
You may read because you are tired of the shallowness of contemporary life, bored by the current conversational commonplaces, and wearied of shop talk and gossip about people.
Whatever your dominant personal reason, you will find that reading gives knowledge, creative power, satisfaction and relaxation. It cultivates your mind by calling its faculties into exercise.
Books are a source of pleasure – the purest and the most lasting. They enhance your sensation of the interestingness of life. Reading them is not a violent pleasure like the gross enjoyment of an uncultivated mind, but a subtle delight.
Reading dispels prejudices which hem our minds within narrow spaces. One of the things that will surprise you as you read good books from all over the world and from all times of man is that human nature is much the same today as it has been ever since writing began to tell us about it.
Some people act as if it were demeaning to their manhood to wish to be well-read but you can no more be a healthy person mentally without reading substantial books than you can be a vigorous person physically without eating solid food. Books should be chosen, not for their freedom from evil, but for their possession of good. Dr. Johnson said: “Whilst you stand deliberating which book your son shall read first, another boy has read both.”
― Earl Nightingale
Make time in your week to read. You’ll be glad you did!
As I said yesterday, we often think of famous people when we think of those living meaningful lives. Their accomplishments are huge and their impact is enormous.
It seems that from a young age they are just a little bit different from those around them. Even though they may claim to have been unremarkable children, they seem to have had a drive or passion or strength of spirit that was just a little more than the other children in their school and neighborhood.
All of this adds up and then makes us think that in order to have a life full of meaning, we “should have” started when we were young by knowing we were cut out to do something different, something more. And, we think that from a young age, there “should have” been something that captured our attention, almost to the point of obsession. And since none of this happened to us we think that a meaningful life is not meant for us.
But that isn’t true!
Those of us who are mere mortals can still have a life that’s rich, fulfilling, satisfying, that brings us contentment and joy, where we feel we’re making a difference and that our lives matter. Even though history may never record our names or achievements in the annals of time, our lives can be deeply profound.
So don’t write yourself off or think that your life is wasted. If you’re still breathing—if you’re still on this side of the dirt (on top of the dirt instead of underneath it)—then you can still have a deeply profoundly meaningful life.
There’s an old saying I’m sure you’ve heard: All work and no play makes Jack a very dull boy.
Rest is essential to a well-lived life. Not only does it restore balance, equilibrium, and energy in our life and spirit but it also provides room for insights and “Eureka!” moments that help us solve knotty problems or give us ideas about and glimmerings of our True path.
Here’s what others have to say about restorative rest:
What is without periods of rest will not endure. ~Ovid
Rest is not idleness; and to lie sometimes on the grass on a summer day listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is hardly a waste of time. ~Sir John Lubbock
Sometimes the most important thing in a whole day is the rest we take between two deep breaths, or the turning inwards in prayer for five short minutes. ~Etty Hillesum
The time to relax is when you don’t have time for it. ~Sidney J. Harris
Every now and then go away, have a little relaxation, for when you come back to your work your judgement will be surer. Go some distance away because then the work appears smaller and more of it can be taken in at a glance and a lack of harmony and proportion is more readily seen. ~Leonardo Da Vinci
Sometimes the most urgent and vital thing you can possibly do is take a complete rest. ~Ashleigh Brilliant
True silence is the rest of the mind; it is to the spirit what sleep is to the body: nourishment and refreshment. ~William Penn
Rest is the sweet sauce of labor. ~Plutarch
A good rest is half the work. ~Proverbs
Take rest; a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop. ~Ovid
Take the next 24 hours and just relax with the knowing that everything is okay. Let go of your stressors and worries for one day and see what happens. ~Mike Basevic
Sometimes it’s important to work for that pot of gold. But other times it’s essential to take time off and to make sure that your most important decision in the day simply consists of choosing on which color to slide down the rainbow. ~Douglas Pagels
There are many people who feel left out, overlooked, or forgotten this time of year. No wonder those around us can feel down and out of sorts.
If this describes you, a reliable way to pull yourself out of the doldrums is to volunteer.
Here are a few suggestions:
~stop by a nursing home and read a short holiday story or poem to the residents–or just sit with someone who usually has no visitors;
~visit an elderly neighbor who can’t get around like they used to;
~help a local organization gather gifts and food for people of very limited means;
~deliver holiday meals to shut-ins;
~offer to babysit for a friend’s kids so your friend and his/her spouse can enjoy a quiet holiday date night;
~volunteer to run errands for a single parent friend.
Let me know which one of these suggestions worked best for you. Let me know, too, if you came up with others not mentioned here. Thanks!
There are times when it feels like Life is ganging up on us and pulling out all the stops. It can be overwhelming, to say the least. We think we need to keep pushing forward–forging ahead. But yet, it’s just too hard and we can’t seem to find enough energy within ourselves so we can’t seem to move forward.
As my two favorite lines tell us, it’s okay to rest. It’s okay to take a moment to pause, to take a break. Here are a few things that I do when I need a break:
~focus on the small, simple things I’m glad about and grateful for;
~read a book and/or watch a movie that makes me laugh;
~look through photos I’ve taken;
~take a walk in nature;
~take a nap;
~listen to uplifting messages;
I give myself a little bit of time to rest, listening to my body and mind for cues. After a time, which could range anywhere from 15 minutes to a few hours, I gently try to tackle a tiny step, one that is easy–easy being defined as something that I don’t have to think to much about and something that I feel I have the energy and emotional wherewithal to handle.
This isn’t an exact science so I will sometimes have to back off from the task when it becomes too much and do something to help me rest and press the reset button. Then I turn back to the task.
As I keep doing this, I find that I gradually regain my equilibrium and then can get back to my usual pace.
Is this what you do? Do you have other techniques that you find helpful? Please share them in the comments below. Thanks!
Your Friend and Pep Pal,
Crafting a deeply meaningful, soul-prospering life