‘Quiet the mind, and the soul will speak.’ Ma Jaya Sati Bhagavati
I started trying to mediate for the health benefits. Reduced stress, more focus, less chronic diseases. WHAT? You say? It does all that! (And more!)
Yep - in a few recent studies meditation has shown to lengthen telomeres and increase telomerase activity. (What the heck is that?)
Glad you asked. They’re the little do-dads that cap off our chromosomes. Like the thingie on the end of shoe laces that keeps them from unraveling. When we’re stressed and as we age they get frayed and they shorten. (Studies by Epel and Blackburn). If you’re interested in the science, there’s a good article on CNN.com called “Can meditation really slow aging” by Jo Merchant (July 10, 2014).
Also, there is a 21 day FREE meditation series with Deepak Chopra and Oprah, starts TOMORROW, March 21st. (chopracentermeditation.com) Shedding the weight, mind, body and spirit.
I welcome you all to join me in this challenging but rewarding adventure. I do love free.
Anyhoo, because I know you’ll want to jump right here - here’s a quick ‘Meditation for dummies’.
Or, ‘How Angela ‘Shiny things’ Mcaffee-Yeh managed to stay still for more than 2 minutes.
Set a timer. Try. Not. Peeking.
Set the timer for about 4 minutes longer than you want to meditate. Want to start at 3 minutes?
Try setting it for 7 minutes. It will take you at least 4 minutes to settle down. (Wait, that light is too bright. My butt hurts without a pillow. I want to light a candle. Did I feed the dog? My nose is itchy…etc)
I am an expert on having to slow down my frenetic monkey-brain no matter what time of day it is. Deep breathing helps to calm and center. Once I’m finally ready and take a few deep breaths my brain jumps around to the to do list.
Some people would tell you to ignore it. SOME people don’t know what it’s like to have to use a post-it note to remind yourself to BRUSH YOUR HAIR in the morning. When this happens I always find a pen and paper and write it down.
Once your to do list is done you can relax and let the thoughts pass by. Watch them as they go like clouds in the sky - try not to judge them. Sometimes snippets of conversations come back to me or things I’ve said or done that I feel like I shouldn’t have. (Why did I say having a puppy was hard work? She’s got FIVE kids, I think she knows hard work…)
When that happens I try to let that go too. It’s just your brain reaching out to hold on to something. (What, you want me to be STILL!? Wait, let me just fix that for you…shouldn’t we be obsessing over what you said to Brian earlier!?) Our brains are like excited puppies. They need a little coaxing to settle down. Well, mine is. A tiny, really yappy chihuahua.
So about half an hour into my 3 minute meditation, I’m usually finally ready to settle in.
Open eyes, closed eyes, it doesn’t really matter. I have meditated outside or while looking out the window at the trees.
But because I have the attention span of a fruit fly I usually need to mediate at night, with low light, and have my eyes closed. Otherwise it’s…’Squirrel! Bird! Blue bird. So pretty. Did I fill the feeder? Where did he go? What was that shadow?
Anyway, all that to say…if I can do it, literally ANYONE can do this. Good luck my fellow puppies!!
UPDATE: There's also a free meditation app called 'Insight Timer' that has a timer as well as some guided meditations and a community of people who are real-time meditating with you.
Good luck y'all!