The Writing Life: Meditation

Image courtesy of Eileen Rackus

If you have been following my previous posts, you know I have written about how beneficial meditation can be for writers. It has helped me a great deal and I think it can help you too. Meditation can help you feel calm, centered, and grounded. Centered means to be fully aware of being in your body in the present moment. This can be difficult when we haven’t been taking good care of ourselves. If you are like me, you push away discomfort or pain and place your attention on other things. Grounded means to be aware of your physical body in relation to the earth under your feet (especially when your feet are on a carpet, that is on a floor, that is on a foundation, that is on the earth – it is easier to feel grounded in nature, but we can’t always go outside whenever we want.) This awareness of our connection to the planet nurtures us and allows us to feel connected to the earth and everything around us, even other people.

Being centered and grounded are powerful states because we can focus on what is most important in the moment and can respond thoughtfully to any person or situation that arises. When I am centered and grounded, I don’t worry about how I will react if something happens. In addition to feeling calm, I am confident in myself. These are not natural states for me. I put a lot of pressure on myself to get things done and do them to the best of my ability. This often leads to anxiety, anger, and depression when I don’t live up to my high standards. Meditation alleviates that pressure and returns me to serenity.

There is a heightened sense of wellbeing that comes when you are physically, mentally and emotionally balanced and connected to everything. I sometimes feel that life/the universe has a frequency that it resonates at and when I am very relaxed and aware of myself and my surroundings while in the meditative state, I can feel that resonating energy. I can feel my own energy vibrating at the same frequency. That feeling is transformative and restorative. And it helps me write better and more often!

Many people are daunted by meditation. But there are different ways to do it. In a previous post (insert link to creating balance), I provided instructions for a simple mindfulness mediation focusing on the breath. Now, I would like to offer something more advanced. This mindfulness meditation focuses on awareness and connection and is wonderful at any time but particularly beneficial when feeling alone or isolated.

  • Sit comfortably in a quiet place (i.e., no television or music and turn the sounds off on your phone and computer) and close your eyes.  
  • Take a few slow, deep breaths, focusing your attention on breathing, and letting your breath fall back into its natural rhythm.
  • Notice any thoughts that come to your attention and let them go. Refocusing on your breathing.
  • Become aware of what you are sitting on and how it rests on the floor or the ground.
  • Scan your body from head to toe, noting any sensations in your body or coming into your body through your feet or where you are sitting.
  • Keeping your eyes closed, slowly and gently begin to notice sounds around you. There are many sounds in a home or office that we are often unaware of such as the hum of the refrigerator, the fan of the air conditioner, or electronic devices. Whatever the sounds, just notice them.
  • Then, expand your awareness to noises in the hallway, on another floor, or outside. If it is morning, you may hear birds singing. Maybe someone is mowing their lawn or there is a delivery vehicle on the street. Perhaps people are walking by, talking and laughing. Just notice what is occurring around you.
  • Sit for a few more minutes (or however long you are comfortable with or have time for), noticing your body and breath while being aware of the noises and activity around you.
  • To finish, bring your awareness back to your immediate surroundings and slowly open your eyes. Give yourself time to refocus your attention on where you are, why you are there, and what you are going to do next.

I love this meditation because it reminds me that I am not separate from the world. I am a part of the life that is happening around me. It is the same life that is within me. I feel connected to everyone and everything around me. Give it a try and post in the comments what you experienced!

Meditation is for everyone! It is very flexible and can be suited to your needs of the moment. You can meditate anytime, anywhere you feel safe, and for as little as a minute or two. You can meditate for much longer periods of time. You can meditate focusing on nothing or everything, your breath, your emotions or physical discomfort, or a myriad of other things. Try a variety and see what works for you. For beginners and people who have difficulty not thinking or stopping their brains from working, I recommend using an app to help you meditate. I like Insight Timer. It’s a meditation app that offers more than a hundred thousand free guided meditations and many music playlists, live talks, and classes (requiring a paid subscription) on a variety of topics to help people live their best life.

Beyond the free meditations and music, I enjoy using this app because it is easy to use with important features such as search, bookmarks, recommendations, and reviews. You can search by topic or how much time you have. Who can’t squeeze in 5 minutes for guided meditation to feel calm and focused? It is easy to share meditations and music with friends, even if they don’t have the app yet. The app also allows donations to Insight Timer teachers.

I cannot extoll enough the benefits of meditation. Meditation helps me feel serene and to focus on achieving my large and small goals, goals for a lifetime, goals for the day or the next hour. If, as researchers have stated, will power is finite and when we run out for the day, we won’t have any more until tomorrow, then we need another way to accomplish goals. One way is through habits and another way is through mediation. But that is a discussion for another time!

If you’ve always wondered what meditation was like, or you’ve struggled to meditate, try Insight Timer. You will notice a difference! And, if you have used a mediation app, please share your experience below.

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