Tell us about your meditative experience

Now, that you’ve had some experience with meditating, I would love to hear about your experiences. Even if you’ve been doing it for years, I would love to hear your feedback about my posts compared with your own experiences. If you would, discuss your experiences in terms of your mind, body and spirit.

How do you choose to meditate? What works for you? What tips do you have for me?

After all, I’m no expert. I am just a journalist and anthropologist with a passion for wellness. I am still learning and welcome your input!

 

 

Crystals for Wellness

It’s been a while since I posted. Sorry, guys, I had a busy week with family visiting and graduating from WVU last week! I want to continue talking about meditation because I think there is still more to share.

For instance, we didn’t even talk about my favorite thing – gemstones and crystals!

We’ve already discussed why meditation is important, but we haven’t talked too much about what you may need. You don’t actually need anything to meditate. For me, meditating with crystals just works better, and it may work for you, too.

Basically, different crystals have different uses and benefits. Using crystals can be a way to make your meditative experience more powerful and focused. If you are in it for spiritual benefits, crystals have similar but more complex implications as they can be used to help you open your spiritual eyes more widely.

The first crystal you ever possess will probably hold some special meaning for you. The first crystal I ever had was passed down to me from my aunt, and it was a type of quartz. It was a beautiful citrine point, very dark and pure. I still have it on my makeshift altar to accompany the many other gems I’ve acquired since then.10534768_4487683087276_7226654978540114760_n
Citrine is a great crystal for goal-oriented individuals. My aunt didn’t know this when she gave it to my 9-year-old self, and I didn’t know it at the time. I’ve accomplished a lot since then, and I am always setting goals and meditating on them with my citrine, which has a bunch of other great benefits besides.

One crystal that most people who meditate have, one I suggest you get first, is crystal quartz. It will amplify other crystals you meditate with and you can ask it to focus on your own specific intentions. For a more complete guide of the different crystals and their uses, I highly suggest going to my go-to website, Crystal Cure.

Once you have your crystals, specifically ones that are in line with your desired outcomes, you shouldn’t  begin to meditate with them just yet. You should charge them and program your intentions.

Learn the different ways to cleanse and charge crystals here. Personally, I use methods involving water, such as holding the crystal under the faucet to cleanse it, always feeling my intentions throughout the process.

Now that they are ready, you can use them to meditate. As with everything, there are different ways to do this. You can lay them on your body in areas you wish to heal, whether physically or spiritually. You can hold them in your hands while you meditate.

Make your to always focus on your breathing when you are meditating. While holding the stones and breathing steadily, keep your intention in mind. Connect your mind with the stones. Allow your energy to flow freely but focused. Once you feel connected and completely relaxed, you can stay there as long as you feel necessary. Just make sure to bring yourself back slowly as you return to your Earthly awareness.

Chakras

Chakras are centers of energy within our body. They each correlate with a different color and part of the body. When your energy is blocked in any of the chakras, it reduces your wellness. You need to keep them healthy, just like your heart, your liver and your skin.

You can increase your chakras’ energy flow through meditation. Each chakra requires different care, so it’s important to know each one’s function.

Now that you know about chakras, you can start listening to your body and your energy to figure out which areas you need to target.

Start off with these guided chakra meditations to begin with!

My Zentopia

It used to be much more often, but about once every two weeks I take a Zen bubble bath.

My process:

  1. Light candles around the tub and bathroom sink.
  2. Connect phone to Bluetooth speaker.
  3. Play Flute Meditation Radio on Pandora.
  4. Run very hot water with the soap and salts. (usually Village Naturals)
  5. Turn off the lights and lock the door.
  6. Sink into the steaming water.
  7. Take in the smells and sounds & drift into a meditative state.
  8. Bonus Step —> Sometimes, I throw my light up froggies in the bath with me!

This is very simple. But for me, it feels like I am in the middle of a rain forest, alone but not isolated, finding the beauty in solitude. I can be in there for about an hour.

Or until the Pandora ad comes on and scare the Zen out of my soul. Hahaha, just kidding. No, but, I am seriously thinking about switching my music source. It’s just that this channel has THE BEST flute meditation tracks.

These are the products I use the most:

Enjoy!

What’s your Zentopia? Comment below!

Leading by example

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Click on the photo for a cool infographic from Live and Dare.

Now that you know what meditation is, maybe you are wondering how it would benefit you.

This is an endless open question. Meditation can be applied to help with all kinds of problems sprouting from body, mind and spirit.

If you look at the attached infographic, you can get a pretty extensive overview of what meditation can do for you.

Instead of repeating that information, what I want to present to you is my experience with meditation.

When I was in middle school, I met my first best friend in the new town I had moved to. Her name was Nadia, and her mother owned a shoppe that sold crystals, incense, jewelry and more. They also held weekly events. The first time I ever meditated was at one of their meetings.

This was all new to me. Because I had never previously been exposed to not only their beliefs and practices, but also the items that were used with these practices (like crystals and singing bowls), I found it quite strange. I remember that first time very well.

With New Age background music, Nadia’s mother guided the group into a meditative state and gave us instructions for how we would return to the present. The whole time we were supposed to be meditating, I didn’t see anything. I couldn’t stop thinking and peeking. I was restless.

We came back to the group after about a half an hour. Everyone had stories to tell about their journey in the spirit world. Once again, this was something I was not familiar with. I had a hard time believing or accepting the ideas at first, but part of me found it mysterious. I desperately wanted to experience these lucid visions.

I kept coming to the meditation sessions, and I never really journeyed. I didn’t know how to open my mind to it, to quiet my thoughts. Sometimes, in the comfort of the pillows, incense and silence, I would fall asleep…dreamlessly, I might add. However, with continued exposure, I got better and I learned about spiritualist ideologies that opened up my understanding of the world.

Meditation, especially for spiritual purposes, takes practice. That was 10 years ago. I didn’t quit then, and I am thankful for that now. About once a week, I clear a space in front of my makeshift altar and I connect my energy with the spirit realm.

How is this beneficial?

I’ve lived with depression, anxiety, and anger problems my whole life. I’m deathly afraid of death. I never wanted to be on medication. I believe in my own raw experience. Meditation helps me overcome these obstacles without forking over money to the pharmaceutical companies and helps me believe there is something more to life.

Not only that, its helped me adopt a healthier lifestyle in general.

After quelling (mostly) my mental tensions, I was able to approach diet and exercise with more clarity as well as improve all dimensions of my personality. I’ve been able to deal much better with concepts and situations that before frustrated me. I have a positive outlook that I never thought was possible.

I’ve also used meditation for healing purposes. For instance, I recently did some spiritual work to gather help for my aunt who was struggling with what we thought was cancer (we still aren’t sure what ails her).

Any kind of deep thought is meditation. Meditation is easier in some ways for people who aren’t trying to meet their spirit guides and journey into a different plane of existence. More often, I meditate with non-spiritual goals like:

  • to calm anxiety
  • to reduce stress before an exam, class, work, etc.
  • to cure episodes of insomnia
  • to conquer fear or insecurity
  • to enter a state of lucid dreaming (my favorite – look out for a post soon!)
  • to help ease creativity, get rid of writer’s block

Let’s say your mental health is completely in check and you are not looking for a spiritual fix – meditation is still for you.

Scientific studies support claims that meditation can improve your immune system, increase your physical energy, reduce your blood pressure, improve your breathing and heart health and lessen inflammation – and that’s just naming some of the bodily health issues that you can improve through this practice. It can even help slow the aging process!

The point is, there is always a way to fix or think more clearly about your problems with meditation. And once you start to do it, you will want to keep doing it even when there are no problems to deal with.

It becomes a part of your lifestyle process, and it is your key to unlocking so many other opportunities for growth and change, health and wellness.

 

Now and Zen

What is meditation?

For those who aren’t familiar with meditation, it can come off as mysterious and is sometimes misunderstood. Meditation is defined simply as contemplation, or the act of going into deep thought. This can be true, though it can also have more spiritual elements as well.

Before we decide on a definition, let’s take a look at how it has been defined before us.

Meditation originated prehistorically as mantras that were used in religious rituals. People would rhythmically chant phrases, usually for protection.

The earliest documented evidence of meditation is from 1500 B.C India. Associated wiith Hinduism, this meditation was known as Dhyana. Later in time, Taoists (China) and Buddhists (India) developed their own forms of meditation. In these religions, meditations were said to have many states that led to salvation.

Eventually, this developed into the concept of Zen, which is now formally used to describe a type of Japanese Buddhism. However, its more general definition is a way of being – a complete state of focus which integrate complete balance of the body and the mind

Every religion has its own form of meditation, and it all derived from early religion in Asia, though there are many variations and interchangeable elements. The history of Christian meditations vary between the east and west.

Starting in the Byzantine period, Eastern Christians used mantras a specific physical posture. Western Christian meditation is the most different form as it uses neither mantras nor posturing. Monks in the 6th century followed four steps in “divine reading”: read the Bible, meditate, pray aloud and contemplate.

Let’s fast forward a bit. Since the 1700s, meditation has become a topic for philosophers, has blossomed into new forms of yoga and has not completely retained its religious affiliation. There are scientific reasons why meditation is right for everyone, regardless of religious inclination – stress relief, relaxation, thought processing, and so forth.

“Spirituality is an important, multidimensional aspect of the human experience that is difficult to fully understand or measure using the scientific method, yet convincing evidence in the medical literature supports its beneficial role in the practice of medicine. It will take many more years of study to understand exactly which aspects of spirituality hold the  most benefit for health and well-being. The world’s great wisdom traditions suggest that some of the most important aspects of spirituality lie in the sense of connection and inner strength, comfort, love and peace that individuals derive from their relationship with self, others, nature and the transcendent.” –Anandarajah (2001)

So, how should we define meditation?

It is a practice of mindfulness.

Other than that, its definition depends on you. What are your goals? Do you want to be closer to the spirit realm? If you don’t believe in that sort of thing, is it just a way to improve your concentration and calm? How can you use this practice to benefit you?

Further Reading

Tomorrow we will talk about the benefits of meditation and how to get started. If you are already someone who practices meditation, I strongly suggest you check out The Meditation Podcast.