By Esther Dupperon
After 45 minutes of twisting, stretching, and bending we were told to lay on our yoga mats and relax. How wonderful. The instructor put on some music, led us through a breathing practice, and then through a guided meditation. I fell asleep.
Since that time, I have participated in many meditations, some simple breathing and some lasting hours. Sometimes I fall asleep, sometimes I am unable to focus my mind or relax my body. Other times, I have had a sense of peace, relaxation, and a closeness to God. Meditation can be prayerful, relaxing or mindful. It always has an effect on our bodies. It lowers blood pressure, lowers heart rate, and reduces the adrenalin build up caused by our day-to-day stress.
The basis of meditation is breathing, deep belly breathing, in through the nose, out through the mouth. Give it a try. Go ahead. Keep going, about ten times should be good. You can do this anywhere, at any time. Many people use this between clients, before a stressful meeting, or at the end of the day heading home from work.
Meditation is not a sombre event. Smiling should be a requirement. One of my favourite forms of meditation is with singing bowls and chimes. I lay on a mat and cover myself with a blanket.
As I breathe and settle my mind, the leader begins to play the bowls. The bowls make an interesting music and the chimes always make me laugh. I imagine they are what fairies would sound like playing in the garden. The bowls, which are quite large, also create a vibration in the room that flows through your body.
There are many CDs with guided meditations, each with a voice that walks you through the breathing and relaxing of your body. These types of meditation are excellent and last anywhere from ten minutes to half an hour. Many people will chant as they meditate. Some chants are as simple as saying “OM” on each breath, others are the repetition of a phrase or a prayer.
This little piece barely touches the world of meditation. I hope you try the ten deep breaths to relax. Don’t forget to smile.
Afterword by Sheena Koops, Sister Triangle Writing Coach:
Every now and then it is my delight and pleasure to work with someone on a piece of writing for Sister Triangle Magazine. As Esther and I were looking at her piece on meditation, I was wondering if we might add a little bit, either as a forward (which I told Esther that I could write) or a conclusion (which I thought she might like to write), a little something about the importance of “breath” as we learn more about being who we were created to be. If breath is what brought us to life, brought us consciousness, and it was God who breathed, who “inspired” (breathed in spirit) then shouldn’t we be learning about this breathing practice called “meditation”? Wouldn’t this bring us closer to knowing what is important to our Creator? It all started with breath. Those were my initial thoughts and questions when I read Esther’s meditation musings. I have also been on a meditation journey, using the breathing practices to become more settled and grounded; less judgemental and anxious, and even more curious and playful. I guess I wanted a little nod or acknowledgement that some folks are afraid of the word “meditation” because they think it’s new-agey; whereas, I would like us to consider that it’s very old-agey. Our sacred teachings reference meditation; I commend Esther for helping us understand how meditation is helping her know that God is right here, in every breath.