Are you someone who uses meditation? Is it something that helps you with stress management? Pain management? Mindfulness?
This is a tool that I highly recommend to everyone.
I use meditation often, for a variety of results in several different ways.
Different types of meditation that I have tried; guided meditation, releasing thoughts and holding a blank space in the mind, breath count, walking meditation, drawing to music to help hole a meditative state. Using a sound bowl, or chanting Om can help hold the blank space in the mind. Yoga can also be used meditatively, as can any repetitive movement or activity.
Recently, I was challenged to sit for 15 minutes and do NOTHING. Not meditate, not plan the day, not add to the to-do list, really, truly nothing. It was so difficult. I had to stop myself from slipping into a meditation - and then from my planning mode. Can you do that? Sit and do nothing for fifteen minutes?
I found the exercise helpful with my meditation practice. To just BE is not something that I ever felt allowed to do. I had to work on my ‘self-permission’ to allow the time for it. This brought me to the realization that I need to give myself permission more often to just BE, and to meditate with a more regular rhythm.
Meditation is a tool that is well worth honing in your wellness kit. It helps in so many ways - to prepare before a challenging event, to process uncomfortable emotions, to self heal and self soothe during medical procedures, to process the feelings from past traumas, to get through grief and other current un-planned events.
I have used meditation throughout my adult life to help me process trauma, to integrate parts of myself that I had abandoned as I was growing. To calm myself during panic attacks, to bring myself to a place of self-awareness. I use it in groups I teach, workshops I lead and even with children to help them find ways to come to calm on their own.
During surgeries, meditation was so helpful.
I also use it every time I have surgery. Most of my anesthesiologists have been super helpful in giving me space to meditate before administering the anesthetic. I was able to be in a meditative state before they even inserted the IV. I found myself waking after the surgery, more alert and able to communicate more effectively since I began this practice. A note of warning though, this is new territory for the medical field in Nova Scotia, so some doctors will listen and be respectful (and even pay closer attention to the amount of medication needed as opposed to just administering based on BMI), others will at best ignore you, and at worst try to convince you that you are a quack. I have experienced a few different levels of acceptance from my doctors.
I continue to meditate regularly. Though sometimes, I get into a less conscious rut and have to work my way back to better rhythms. When this happens I usually find myself feeling 'off' and struggling to keep my emotional regulation practices integrated into my daily practice.
I have also used a meditative state to mentally bring someone into my mind so I can share something that I can’t comfortably tell them in person. Or if they have passed on to the next realm. I also bring myself to a more meditative state when I need to comfort or encourage my inner child.
Some of the guided meditations that I use are something that I created for a specific session/reason, others were created by others for part of a class or ritual and I also use some that are written by others and shared on various YouTube videos. I also have written a book Nature Meditations for Children, it can be found here. It works for kids age three to one hundred and three.
Meditation can be as simple as counting the breath (or even just counting). When I am in the midst of a panic attack, I count to thirty in English, then ASL, then French and then German. This helps me focus on ME so I de-escalate my intense emotions and come back into the present moment. Sometimes I count my breaths, until I get to ten, then start again when I struggle to fall asleep.
Meditation as a regular Practice
Meditation can be used in so many ways - and I am sure that you have experienced at least some of these methods in your life. Meditation is becoming more mainstream everyday. It can be found in Churches, Mosques, yoga classes, Buddhist 'Temples, homes and even on trains and busses.
I encourage you to find ways to bring this into your life - so you can gain more peace, more clarity and a stronger sense of self.