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Meditation February 5, 2012

Posted by nrhatch in Life Balance, Meditation, Mindfulness.

Meditation is an oasis of peace and tranquility ~ a buffer zone between  us and the daily rigors of life.

Om Sweet Om!

Wikipedia ~ Research on Meditation (in Public Domain)

Meditation allows us to get centered and clear the mind of extraneous habitual thoughts that detract from the quality of our lives.

By helping us to reduce stress, meditation benefits us in numerous ways:

* Lowering cholesterol and blood pressure levels
* Healing heart disease and angina
* Fostering a calm and tranquil outlook on life

Meditation promotes mind-body fitness and restores life balance.  Practicing mindfulness improves our concentration, focus, and awareness.

Anyone of any age can benefit from beginning a meditation practice.  And it’s as easy as following your breath.

As you breathe in, notice that you are breathing in.  As you breathe out, pay attention to the flow of air.

Wikipedia ~ Chartres Cathedral (in Public Domain)

Don’t try to change your breathing.  Just notice the flow of air, in and out.

Imagine peace and tranquility circulating with each life affirming breath.

As thoughts arise, let them drift away.

Return your attention and awareness to the flow of energy.   Breathe in and breathe out.

If you wish to use a mantra, choose a word or phrase that makes you smile ~ Joy, Peace, Love, Bliss, Om, Let It Be, Be Here Now, Shalom, etc.

Start slow with 5-minutes of seated meditation and build from there.

Set a timer so that you can allow time to fade away into the eternal NOW.

Breathe.  Relax.  Repeat.

For walking meditations:  The Labyrinth at Chartres Cathedral.  To learn more:  The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Meditation.

Related post:  Perfect Picture Book ~ Each Breath A Smile (Julie Hedlund)


1. granny1947 - February 5, 2012

thank you NR.
I tried my first meditation on the beach this morning.
I thought the sound of the sea could take the place of music.
I was doing well and then I sneezed…a couple of times…and the moment was gone.

nrhatch - February 5, 2012

I often meditate to “Ocean Voyages” . . . a CD filled with the sound of the sea.

Keep at it, Granny.
Sneeze. Breathe. Relax. Repeat. 😉

2. jannatwrites - February 5, 2012

Meditation always sounds great in theory, but my mind is notorious for not cooperating. It won’t just relax and let it me…it has to think of all things I’m not getting done or even new things to add to the list. The closest I get are the few minutes between when I crawl in bed and fall asleep. That’s better than nothing, right? 🙂

nrhatch - February 5, 2012

Of course the mind refuses to cooperate at first. It’s been in the driver’s seat and doesn’t feel like relinquishing its control.

View it as a toddler . . . badly in need of some discipline.

Now, as soon as I sit in my meditation chair, my mind settles down. If thoughts arise, I ignore them. They become fewer and farther between.

Aah . . . that’s better.

3. Carl D'Agostino - February 5, 2012

I’m not any good at this. But my mind is quieted when drawing or wood carving. The activities claim your focus without distractions.

nrhatch - February 5, 2012

Carving, painting, playing an instrument . . . anything that gets us to “flow in the NOW” gives us a break from the constant chatter of our monkey minds.

If you try meditation again . . . you might visualize carving a piece of wood in your mind for 5 minutes instead of focusing on the breath.

Water, music, wind chimes, a candle flame, a roaring fire ~ all can become the centerpoint of a meditation practice. The goal is to clear the mind of extraneous helter skelter thoughts and bring our concentration to a single focal point.

Here. Now.

Crowing Crone Joss - February 5, 2012

these are all excellent suggestions Nancy. I’m so glad you are part of my blogging world. I learn a lot from your posts.

nrhatch - February 5, 2012

Thanks, Joss. 😀

Read Suzi’s comment (below) for more thoughts on mindfulness.

4. suzicate - February 5, 2012

I am finally reading “Wherever you go, there you are”…was shocked to find that yes, I have been meditating for awhile but didn’t think I was doing what “real meditators do”. I love what Jon Kabit-Zinn says “But, meditation is not about feeling a certain way. It’s about feeling the way you feel. It’s not about making the mind empty or still, although stillness does deepen in meditation and can be cultivated systematically. Above all meditation is about letting the mind be and knowing something about how it is in this moment.”
I don’t think I told you about getting it…sort of a “synchronistic” moment as you had just mentioned it again on your blog or in a comment to me and I saw it in the bookstore. The paperback was $16.95, and I decided to get something else and borrow it from the library, but when I got in line at B&N, there were bargain book along the line at the register and the hardback 10th anniversary edition was like $4.99. Oh yes, I grabbed that one!

nrhatch - February 5, 2012

Excellent book! Love that you found it in the bargain bin!

Meditation, like exercise, has many variants. Mindfulness meditation is about watching what’s going on in us and around us ~ whether we are chopping carrots or peeling potatoes.

Our focus is on the Here. And the Now.

The more often we remember to “check in,” the more aware we become of what is going on in THIS moment ~ and the quieter the mind becomes. It’s not empty . . . it’s calm and focused and ready to receive its “marching orders.”

Doing a full body scan is another type of meditation that allows us to check in and calmly explore how we feel.

5. adeeyoyo - February 5, 2012

Thank you, Nancy. I will try it again – it’s been a long time… I am reading A Spiritual Bouquet (an extract from The Science of the Soul) and find it wonderful!

nrhatch - February 5, 2012

Excellent, Denise. You can also meditate using the lines of a poem . . . or a favorite quote . . . to settle the mind.

Glad you’re enjoying A Spiritual Bouquet. I’ll check it out.

adeeyoyo - February 5, 2012


The Science of the Soul Research Centre

nrhatch - February 5, 2012

Thanks, Denise!

6. Maggie - February 5, 2012

It’s hard to get into the habit of meditation and it’s a skill that has to be developed over time, but I would say that it’s most definitely worth the hard work!

nrhatch - February 5, 2012

Meditation is a key component to increasing our “happiness quotient.”

I just watched a terrific TED talk on Happiness on Creating Reciprocity’s blog. To rewire our brain for happiness:

1. Gratitude lists teach us to scan for the positives.
2. Journaling about one positive thing each day does the same.
3. Exercise improves mood.
4. Meditation reminds us to focus on the task at hand.
5. Random acts of kindness expand our compassion.

To see the talk: http://creatingreciprocity.wordpress.com/2012/02/05/once-upon-a-time-a-unicorn-fell-off-a-bunk-bed/

7. Andra Watkins - February 5, 2012

Nancy, I am probably beyond a complete idiot, because I have NEVER been able to still my mind enough to meditate. The closest I approach it is in my walks, where I just let my mind go and focus on covering the five miles in safety.

nrhatch - February 5, 2012

Judging from the comments today, the consensus seems to be that meditation is an unattainable goal for our unruly minds.

Like any other skill worth having . . . meditation requires daily practice. At first, we spend most of the time telling our mind to “shut it.” But if we persist, something “clicks” and our mind steps docilely into the role of servant, allowing us to captain our own ship. _/!\_

8. l0ve0utl0ud - February 5, 2012

This has inspired me to a Sunday evening yoga/meditation session 🙂 Thank you!

nrhatch - February 5, 2012

Late afternoon meditation is relaxing. Enjoy!

9. kateshrewsday - February 5, 2012

I’ve heard of this place..one day I shall make it there to try it, Nancy, thank you.

nrhatch - February 5, 2012

Time it right, Kate. Apparently, the labyrinth is only open for walking a few hours a week.

10. Nancy Curteman - February 5, 2012

We have a Labyrinth in Grace Cathedral in San Francisco. There is considerable mysticism associated with it.

nrhatch - February 5, 2012

Thanks, Nancy. Perhaps they store our positive energy? I walked an out of doors labyrinth in VA Beach at the Edgar Cayce Foundation. Very serene.

11. Patricia - February 5, 2012

I have allowed my mornings to begin later and later which means rush rush rush. Bad bad bad. Of course I have little energy and headaches. Duh. No more snooze alarm! Back to basics and feeling great. Thanks…

nrhatch - February 5, 2012

Rushing in the morning sets a bad precedent for the day. Far better to ease into the day. Good luck getting back to basics, Patricia!

12. sufilight - February 5, 2012

I meditate regularly at times then stop, but, I always take time to relax the mind. However, being more consistent with meditation is something I nowadays have the time for, so will focus on this again. I have never experienced a labyrinth walk, would love to!

nrhatch - February 5, 2012

I’m the same, Marie. I practice mindfulness throughout the day, every day . . . but don’t always set aside a solid 30 minutes for meditation. When I do, it always feels GREAT.

Wandering the labyrinth is very peace inducing ~ there is only the journey . . . no destination but enjoying the NOW.

13. SidevieW - February 5, 2012

peace and tuning out, do so much for us

nrhatch - February 6, 2012

And once the incessant internal chatter settles down . . . we can finally “tune in” and really LISTEN to all that it offered.

14. viviankirkfield - February 5, 2012

Thank you, Nancy! I LOVED your analogy (in the comment section) to a toddler who is badly in need of discipline. I know this will help me when I need to just “be” but want to “be doing something”. 🙂

nrhatch - February 6, 2012

Thanks, Vivian. Our minds benefit from discipline. We need to put them in a “time out!” 😉

I strongly recommend that everyone PRACTICE meditation for 5-10 minutes a day for 30 days. Then they can SEE and FEEL the benefits for themselves.

15. libraryscenes - February 5, 2012

I had one good go at meditation eight years ago…up to 45 minutes of tonglan. It was a life changer; the practice made my spiritual self almost too in touch. I always mean to start again, but yoga is the closest. If I focus on the breath, there is that same breaking down of wall to find center ~

nrhatch - February 6, 2012

Yoga, done mindfully, is meditative motion. Stellar for stress relief, etc. And many use it as a preface to seated meditation.

Yoga, standing alone, doesn’t work as well (for me) as seated meditation where my sole focus is to go within and let the world fade away. Maybe it’s because I find myself twisted up in a different type of knot. 😉

16. colonialist - February 6, 2012

Ha! This is interesting. I have been curious about meditation, but have been led to believe that you can’t do it unless some guru confers upon one a personal mantra, which is then kept secret on pain of plagues of locusts or something. Am going to have a squizz at that link.

nrhatch - February 6, 2012

Oh, yes!

I’ve heard the same from time to time ~ go to India, fast for 47 days, wait for your Guru to find you, embrace your personal mantra (“your delta chi name is . . . Flounder”), and seek enlightenment by sitting in the lotus position until your bum is numb.

Do give it a squizz, Colonialist.
There are two good links on the sidebar:

Mindfulness Meditation

No secret handshakes or initiation rites required.

17. spilledinkguy - February 6, 2012

Chartes… ridiculously beautiful!
Someday… someday…

spilledinkguy - February 6, 2012

er… seems like I missed an ‘r’ there.
They’ll never let me visit, now…

nrhatch - February 6, 2012

I may have visited Chartres in HS . . . along with lots of Parisian highlights and the Castles of the Loire Valley.

If I did, they did not issue a spelling test. So you may be OK. 😉

18. judithhb - February 6, 2012

I fell off the wagon a few weeks ago and really missed my daily morning meditation. Back on track again now and noticing how much easier life seems

nrhatch - February 6, 2012

That’s wonderful, Judith. It’s probably the best habit to have if we want to promote feelings of well-being.

19. bluebee - February 7, 2012

Not sure I’ll ever be able to truly meditate – find it very difficult to quieten my mind. Chopin’s good for relaxation but throws up other things. The sounds of the humpback whale is a useful sleep-inducer. To meditate in silence and stay awake is a real challenge for me

nrhatch - February 7, 2012

This book made me laugh when it said something along the lines of: “Although the goal of meditation is NOT to fall asleep, don’t worry about it if you do . . . you probably needed a nap.”

I’m not sure that I meditate the way that Buddha or the Dalai Lama would meditate . . . but I meditate in a way that’s right for me. After 20-30 minutes, I am alert, refreshed, rejuvenated, at peace, serene, tranquil, and ready to get on with my day.

Observe your thoughts with detachment. Let them drift away. Don’t chase after them. Breathe. Relax. Repeat.

Aah . . . Om Sweet Om.

20. Perfecting Motherhood - February 7, 2012

I try to take a few minutes every day for myself and breathe but I wish I could do more. I’m teaching my kids to om and breathe when they’re too excited or upset. It’s amazing how well and how fast it works. I just hope one day they learn to do it on their own, without my coaching.

nrhatch - February 7, 2012

That’s awesome. One day, they will “assume the position” and calm themselves down without prompting . . . just like they learn to get dressed and brush their teeth, 😀

Perfecting Motherhood - February 7, 2012

Haha, one can only hope!

21. sweetdaysundertheoaks - February 9, 2012

I like “Om Sweet Om” for a mantra Nancy! I am always self-talking~”I feel a sense of peace, I feel a sense of peace…….” I need to go to sleep. Now.

nrhatch - February 9, 2012

Aah . . . looks like you made it “Om Sweet Om.” Hope you enjoyed a peace-filled slumber, Pix.

22. clarbojahn - February 10, 2012

I once organized a church retreat on Labyrinths. We got one on canvas that we used during the retreat. We also had a speaker and all had read books on the spiritual walk. It was hugely successful. Now we go to a labyrinth locally, outside. I love doing the walk and always feel closer to the One after. Thanks for this post. 🙂

nrhatch - February 10, 2012

that sounds like an awesome idea for a retreat, Clar. I expect that wandering a labyrinth with mindful awareness calibrates our positive connections with ALL that is. Peace flows.

23. Julie - February 10, 2012

Thanks for mentioning the picture book I posted this week Nancy. If we can start children on meditation early on, maybe the world really will change! 🙂

nrhatch - February 10, 2012

I just LOVED that someone had made a picture book for young children using the teachings of Thich Nhat Hahn. The peace we find in following our breath is an invaluable skill.

24. eof737 - February 20, 2012

Om Shanti, shanti, shanti… Love the photos too. 🙂

nrhatch - February 21, 2012

The 2nd photo makes me want to find a local labyrinth to walk.

25. anotherday2paradise - September 19, 2021

Nice post, Nancy. I think my hour or so of piano playing every day, helps to keep me sane. 😅

nrhatch - September 19, 2021

Playing (and listening to) music is a great way to hang on to sanity in the midst of inanity!

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