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Friday, February 25, 2011

Meditation for Moi

As I continue to search for ways to deal with anxiety and bad dreams, I find myself often turning to meditation. Granted, I'm sure I'm doing it wrong if you look it up in some "how-to" guide. But I say I'm doing it right because it achieves my desired end result of feeling centered and calm. SomeMonkey recently did a search on meditation and found some video that tried to make her breathe out of this nostril and then that nostril. That's way too complicated for me. Not to mention a nightmare this time of year with sinus issues.

Here's how I meditate. I sit somewhere quiet. I don't do any kind of crazy pose - I just sit comfortably, usually with my back braced against a wall or the side of the bed. With my eyes closed, I breathe in slowly, I breathe out slowly. Sometimes I count. Sometimes I think "happiness in, anxiety out, health in, headache out." Whatever seems fitting at the moment.

I got that last bit from a book or a blog post or some other place I can't remember at the moment. The idea is that we're all part of the universe, therefor the universe has what we needs. So breathe in what you want, out what you don't want. This was great until I thought to myself what a jackass I must be to be putting my anxiety and pain into the universe. Like it doesn't already have enough without me adding to it? Once my train of thought goes there, it usually ruins the meditation.

In the past, I've used a meditation podcast I found for free on iTunes. It was called (wait for it!) "The Meditation Podcast". I'll give you a moment to recover from the shock. I think when they started, they intended for this to be an on-going podcast but they ended around 10 episodes. Each episode featured guided meditation focused on fear, pain, etc.

One podcast I particularly liked was meant to lead you to a deep, restful sleep. It started with steady breathing and then started progressing your thoughts through colors. Bright hot colors like red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, black... By the time the guiding voices hit black, you are completely zonked out. Problem? The same podcast then leads you back up through the colors to a state of being awake. Which would be awesome if there was a whole lot of dead space in the middle. But no. It's like a 10 minute sleep at best. Kinda defeats the purpose, no?

Anyways, meditation. It seems to work for me and it doesn't take long. The challenge is keeping the husband and the kitties quiet for five minutes so I can effectively relax. Really, it's in their own best interest because it's probably their fault I want to punch someone in the face. With the funk I've been in recently, I should remember to meditate more often. It makes the world safer for everyone.


C. Beth said...

I have found that just focused breathing (I tend to count, breathing out for twice as long as I breathe in) helps me get nice and relaxed. I've never thought of it as meditation, but maybe it's a form of it?

Diane said...

Taking that time sounds essential in our daily lives to just stop or slow down and reboot. Hugs to you! :O)

Melinda said...

I like the idea of good in/bad out. Just imagine that when you exhale the unwanted, the universe has a magic power that neutralizes it so that it can't bother you or anyone else again.

Toriz said...

I meditate sometimes too. And, let me tell you, there's no right or wrong way to do it. The video with the nostril breathing thing... That was meditation as part of Yoga (I was just reading about it the other day as part of my "Yoga Explained" course thing I was getting via e-mail). The key is being relaxed, focusing on your breathing, and then... Well, then it's all you! Besides, if you feel better afterwards, then what difference does it make if you're doing it the way people claim you should? The whole point is for you to get the benifits from it... If you are, then you're doing it right!

Fi said...

Hi Cate,

My thoughts are with you. I spent many years suffering from anxiety attacks that worsened to the stage I didn't want to leave the house. I was given an awesome book by my counsellor which while it didn't cure the problem it definitely helped me find a way to deal with my anxiety.
The book is called 'Living with It' by Bev Aisbett and is very easy to read and identify with, basically it talks about IT as being an unwanted houseguest who comes to stay, IT being the anxiety. Not sure if this will help but thought it might be worth mentioning. Good luck with it all

Cheers, Fiona

Karen S. said...

it's also fun to try this (carefully) while stuck in rush hour traffic!...and thank goodness for tunes along the way! ;)

Juniper said...

I tried a meditation/relaxation thing to help me relax and sleep after my injury, I got it from a Buddhism website. Breathe in, then breathe out and imagine the breath pushing down through your arms and legs in turn, a bit further with each breath, and finally out through your fingers and toes. It did feel great, works better lying down!