Meditation Monday: Yes, and…

middle pillar

I read recently that the benefits of meditation won’t really kick in until my meditation practice is consistent (as in, close to daily) for an extended period of time (as in 8 consecutive weeks or more) and goes for at least 15 minutes.

A year ago, this would have put me off meditating faster than it takes for a thought, any thought,  to capture my attention. Nanoseconds. Well, I don’t practice every day consistently – yet. When I do it tends to be about 15 minutes, which is about how long it takes for me to count 100 breaths, and that just happens to match the research.

If you’re a beginning meditator you might well respond to the discipline of 15 minutes everyday when starting out. But if you’re anything like me, I know you’re out there, it might be all you can do to sit for 5 minutes, 3 minutes (?) when you first start.

I say do it anyway.

I say yes,  the measurable benefits might not kick in until farther down the road. And, in order to travel that road, you have to step onto it, maybe even just for a minute so you can see that it isn’t too rocky or dangerous. “Learning” to meditate is really about learning about you anyway, so why not start here, now, right where you are?

Today I meditated by saying “yes” on my inhale and “and” on my exhale. Try it if you want and let me know how it goes.

If you like this sort of thing, here’s some new research on changes in the brain due to meditation

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S092549271000288X

judy@moveintochange.com     917.450.1524 moveintochange.com

Meditation Monday:

middle pillarWhen the world quiets to the sounds of your own breathing, we all want the same things: comfort, love and a peaceful heart.                                              – Mitch Alborn

This is all I want from meditation right now, the chance to sit and listen to my own breath and see what happens. Though I said I’d play around with The Middle Pillar, which I have done, I keep craving the simplicity of counting breaths.

One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever gotten was, start where you are, and in this case, for me, it means not getting ahead of myself (hey, a head, ahead, just saw that as I wrote it). It means re-remembering to  listen to the part of me that knows the value of sitting, counting, and Mindfulness. Not my “head,” I might add, but you knew that already.

I’ve quit pretending that I need to do anything else, for now. Just doing that, sitting everyday (even though I accomplished 100 Breaths 100 Days challenge, and there’s a voice telling me I have to something bigger, better and sexier so you’ll keep reading) is enough ’cause THAT”S WHERE I AM. Truly.Truthfully. Ahhhh…

*Reminder to self: expertise (a.k.a. mastery) doesn’t mean knowing everything or doing everything right already, it means having the Presence and skills to return to the truth more quickly and with more ease each time.

In case you’re curious about how the Middle Pillar Meditation has been going I’ll say this,

  • I struggled with it feeling unreal, like I was imagining instead of sensing the energy moving.
  • A friend and terrific multi-modality healer,  Ingrid Bacci,  suggested I need more practice articulating my spine and sensing into it, making the meditation physical/corporeal.
  • Started the above today.

What about you? What types of meditation are you doing? Have you tried Middle Pillar? You can find instructions here.

To learn more try Discover Meditation: A Practical Introduction to the Art of Meditation by Simon Court.

You might want to check out moveintochange.com too. That’s where there’s info about life coaching and coaching with me. Go… and then go forth and tell your friends. Thanks.

Want to ask a private question? email: judy@moveintochange.com

Meditation Monday: What kind of fool am I?

middle pillarHere’s what’s been going through my mind and body while practicing Middle Pillar Meditation:

  • Am I doing it?
  • Is this what its “supposed” to be like?
  • Am I imagining this a.k.a. how do I know this is real?
  • Am I total fool for even thinking this is a thing worth trying?
  • How the hell am I going to write about this?

Funny isn’t it, these are the same thoughts I thought when I began 100 Breaths 100 Days.

Visualizing and sensing the balls of energy is hard enough so I’ve totally abandoned the colors. I notice that images form unbidden when I am focusing on the energy centers. This is kind of cool and I’m just letting that be. They’re different every time. If  I practice yoga first, I have a much better sense of the subtle “tube” through the center of my body. Lately, the connection between imaging and sensing is getting a bit stronger too, but man, that inner skeptic comes in to remind that I’m probably making it all up. She rolls her eyes. Even so, I continue on…

What about you? What types of meditation are you doing? Have you tried Middle Pillar? You can find instructions here.

To learn more try Discover Meditation: A Practical Introduction to the Art of Meditation by Simon Court.

You might want to check out moveintochange.com too. That’s where there’s info about life coaching and coaching with me. Go… and then go forth and tell your friends. Thanks.

Want to ask a private question? email: judy@moveintochange.com

Meditation Monday: Two Important Things

middle pillar

Meditating during the last two weeks has been a challenge.  I was stressed, went into over-work mode, had a freak out, and came out the other side after getting slammed with a high fever and stomach bug.

There were days, many days, when I did none at all. There were days I sat and counted and days I only did Middle Pillar.

I found out two very important things. One, I find comfort in the counting breaths Mindfulness type of meditation. There’s more comfort in it than I knew, and when I emerged from the fever, sitting quietly was a tonic. Two, the Middle Pillar meditation is as different from counting breaths as apples are to, well, expresso.  I cannot replace one with the other.

That’s really three important things. I’m not sure what I’m going to do about this. Don’t know if I have time and the level of commitment to do both? I just know that I want the rock sitting on the floor of the ocean feeling I get counting breaths. And, I’m interested in practicing Middle Pillar too. We’ll see.

What about you? What are you doing? Have you tried Middle Pillar? If you want to know how, here it is:

Middle Pillar Meditation (done sitting in a chair or standing):

  1.  Visualize a slender beam of white light descending from above and forming a ball of brilliant white energy just above the top of your head.
  2. See the beam of light descend to the throat area as you exhale, and form a ball of lavender light as you inhale.
  3. See the beam of light descend to the area of the sternum as you exhale, and form a ball of yellow-golden light as you inhale.
  4. See the beam of light descend to the pelvis as you exhale, and form a ball of violet light as you inhale.
  5. As you exhale, see the light descend down both legs and form a ball of green light between the feet as you inhale.
  6. Imagine these five spheres of color you have created linked together by a shimmering shaft of white divine essence.
  7. Concentrating strongly on the green center at your feet, inhale deeply and bring the energy up through you to the top of your head. See this energy as pure white, washing out the colors of each sphere as it moves upwards.
  8. Pretend your are hollow.  Inhale and bring the energy up through you to the top of the head. Exhale and send it out the top of the head and see it spray like a fountain all around you. Do this 4 times, gathering the energy at your feet.
  9. Cross your arms across your chest right hand over left. Imagine you are sealed in a membrane or bubble of solid white light at least 3 feet thick. Remain this way as long as you like.

To learn more try Discover Meditation: A Practical Introduction to the Art of Meditation by Simon Court.

You might want to check out moveintochange.com too. That’s where there’s info about life coaching and coaching with me. Go… and then go forth and tell your friends. Thanks.

Want to ask a private question? email: judy@moveintochange.com

Meditation Monday Day: Surprised and Intrigued

Well, would you look at this! Stuffed behind a row of handmade gifts from former students I found Discover Meditation: A Practical Introduction to the Art of Meditation by Simon Court. From the notes in the margins, I figure I must have bought it 19 years ago. The first chapter is all about counting breaths.  Now I know how that got planted in my brain.

Ever go back and read old pages of your diary? Not a good idea if you aren’t prepared to be embarrassed by the naivete of your younger self. I tried meditating 19 years ago. It didn’t go well. Or last long. All of it recorded in the words scribbled on the edges of pages 1-25.

Page 26, where I stopped reading then, Court describes three different meditation techniques for moving and balancing energy within the body, along with advice to practice each method for at least 10 days. The only caveat – never mix the different “ways.”

So, in the spirit of continued experimentation I’m going to try the “Middle Pillar” exercise for two weeks. It’s from the western spiritual tradition, Kaballah.

I’m surprised that I’m willing to do this, as any practice that has Jewish roots (my heritage) has been an automatic turn off. Still, I like the idea of interacting with this part of me that says “never” and reflexively rolls her eyes. What might I be “wrong” about?

middle pillar

I’m definitely NOT reading any specifics about what the Middle Pillar practice is supposed to do for me.

Stay tuned.

You might want to check out moveintochange.com too. That’s where there’s info about life coaching and coaching with me. Go… and then go forth and tell your friends. Thanks.

Want to ask a private question? email: judy@moveintochange.com

Meditation Monday Day #100: Ta Da!

Screen Shot 2013-01-27 at 3.43.18 PM

Yay we did it!  I’m feeling quite good about this one hundredth day of meditation practice. 100 pats on the back, 100 butterfly kisses, 100 imaginary trumpets, and/or 100 bags of sparkles – whatever celebration floats your boat. Let’s just say, I’ve never been this consistent about meditation. Ever. Cue the dancing girls – wait, I am the dancing girl!

So what’s come out of it so far?

Beyond the bits of discovery about going in reverse to go forward, and finding new capacity for receiving compassion, which, by the way, would have been enough, I’ve noticed that when I don’t meditate I can feel the difference- big time. I didn’t really get that until this morning, when for the third day in a row I was avoiding sitting, and noticed that despite yoga practice, I’ve been weirdly ungrounded and unfocused for the past few days. Ding.

Yeah, “duh,” but instead of going down the beat myself up for not getting it sooner road (I know you know that one), I sat. And, ohm my goodness…the difference. There it was. I’ve leaped from meditation as an experiment in commitment and self-compassion into the realm of, this s–t is important to me.

So what now what? In anticipation of this day I’ve been thinking and poking around on the internet. I found the 21 Day Meditation Challenge with Deprak Chopra and Oprah (ChOprah?), which started in March, but can be downloaded for free anytime. Not my cup of tea, but could be yours. I found an old book on meditation and there’s some interesting meditation techniques in there that I might try, though this mindfulness mind training is pretty great.

Any suggestions of what I might try next?

If you like what you read, please share it. Thanks.

Want to ask a private question? email: judy@moveintochange.com

Related articles & photo credit:

You might want to check out moveintochange.com too. That’s where there’s info about coaching and coaching with me. Go… and then go forth and tell your friends. Thanks.

Meditation Monday Day #93: What!

Screen Shot 2013-01-27 at 3.43.18 PM

93 days. What?!?

When I started this challenge I really had no idea how it would go. I picked 100 Breaths in 100 Days because I liked the way it sounded, truly, no other reason. Two weeks in, I was sure I’d made too big a commitment and wouldn’t able to write about meditating everyday, let alone do it. Or is that the other way around?

Anyway, there’s something here to be remembered about commitment; the power of a public commitment (hey, like marriage, you be-robed jurists in Washington) and something else about moving through a big hunky project a little bit at a time. At some point in these past 93 days I forgot about the goal, and in the forgetting I let go of ever being done. Then whoa, here I am seven days away from the “end” just noticing that I never expected it to be over. And, of course it doesn’t have to be.

More about that next time.

 How’s it going for you?

If you like what you read, please share it. Thanks.

Want to ask a private question? email: judy@moveintochange.com

Related articles & photo credit:
  • photo detail from Breathing by Anne Lindberg at the Daum Museum of Contemporary Art

You might want to check out moveintochange.com too. That’s where there’s info about coaching and coaching with me. Go… and then go forth and tell your friends. Thanks.

 How’s it going for you?

If you like what you read, please share it. Thanks.

Want to ask a private question? email: judy@moveintochange.com

Related articles & photo credit:

You might want to check out moveintochange.com too. That’s where there’s info about coaching and coaching with me. Go… and then go forth and tell your friends. Thanks.

Meditation Monday Day #86: Now

Even though it’s still cold, spring is here. I see the crocuses and the daffodil shoots aiming toward the sun, a sun that feels warmer on my cheeks than just a month ago. When I awaken early, the birds are singing their spring song, and I am reminded of the continual renewal around me; a wheel that keeps turning whether I acknowledge it or not.

Soft curving melody, bird song lifts my morning mood.

Yes, I know it’s Tuesday. It’s been a tough week for meditation practice. When the moment came each day, it seemed like everything, er, anything, was more important than doing it. What’s going on here?

I’m going to approach answering that question keeping the larger commitment I’ve made to myself – out of which Meditation Monday grew – to treat myself with as much compassion ( = love) that I can stand. Here goes:

  •  “What’s going to happen when the 100 days are over?” I’m hearing that  I’m in the car, when I wake up, before I sit to meditate… ahhh…there it is. Ahead of myself. Expectations. Thinking I have to know something I don’t know yet.
  • And, there’s a hint of sadness, too. Will something be lost when the commitment 100 Days 100 Breaths is over? I can sense the desire to rush in and protect myself from feeling it. Hello there default mode.I see you.
  • Truth is, I don’t know what this is right now, I only know what I think it is from before. I can go there and watch it with 100 breaths.

I’ll go now.

How’s it going for you?

If you like what you read, please share it. Thanks.

Want to ask a private question? email: judy@moveintochange.com

Related articles & photo credit:

You might want to check out moveintochange.com too. That’s where there’s info about coaching and coaching with me. Go… and then go forth and tell your friends. Thanks.

Meditation Monday Day #78: Stepping Out and In Again

Screen Shot 2013-01-27 at 3.43.18 PM

Oh man, just when you think you’ve “got it,” the next bit of learning beckons. Usually it comes in some form of an obstacle. Today, its name is frustration.

After a week of smooth meditation practice in which breaths came and went in variations on the theme of Hello, Goodbye, today’s practice started out like a night of tossing and turning. All over the place and no place at all.

First, I try reining myself in with an image of a horse at the bit. That feels harsh and my body contracts. Next I imagine my breaths as a rabble of butterflies captured in a net for observation. Somehow, even though the net is gauzy, it feels wrong and damaging to the butterflies’ wings to boot. The butterflies are flinging themselves at the confinement of the net and seem more agitated than before. Yikes, I’m creating resistance to the very thing I want.

What is it I want? I want a butterfly to alight and then settle on a flower, calm. In order to have that, I can’t capture it, I must invite it. I must unfold petals and offer Presence*. I’ve forgotten Presence; no, not forgotten – stepped out of it. Presence is the opposite of force.Narcissus unfoldingI can step into it again, remembering that a flower doesn’t question its ability to be a flower.

* Presence: The state of being that includes all experience with awareness, gentle curiosity,  and compassion (taken fromFocusing work).

How’s it going for you?

Want to ask a private question? email: judy@moveintochange.com             You might want to check out moveintochange.com too. That’s where there’s info about coaching and coaching with me. Go… and then go forth and tell your friends. Thank you.

Related articles & photo credit:

You might want to check out moveintochange.com too. That’s where there’s info about coaching and coaching with me. Go… and then go forth and tell your friends. Thanks.