Friday, August 17, 2012

M is for Meditation, Movement and Music

Today's M post encompasses three things.  While I am aware that I could have divided them each up into their own posting for me each of them is linked to the other in ways that make sense to put them all together in this one post.

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Meditation: There are probably more forms of meditation out there than I can even hope to be able to rattle off here and so I am not going to try and summarize them all - if you're really curious Google it, I promise you you'll find lists at least a page long.  What I want to talk about is some of the less traditional ideas that tend to pop into peoples heads when they are presented with the term meditation.

When someone says the word meditation the majority of people are probably envisioning a period of time spent sitting or laying down in a quiet area while some generic (and often quite shockingly bad) music involving the sounds of nature plays in the background. (On a side note, why is there so much water involved in these tracks?  I mean I get that water is soothing, believe me I'm a water baby, but really doesn't it mostly just mean that inevitably your meditation is probably cut short by an overwhelming desire to pee). While I do meditate in this manor from time to time I find that it isn't necessarily the best method for my intended outcome.

I have a set pattern of imagery that I follow to make it to a desired location in my mind from which point things take their own separate paths...for me this is more a matter of training my mind that this sequence of images will trigger a relaxation into a deeper state of consciousness.  There is a journey I take down a spiral staircase, through a certain hall to a particular door and from their out into a field - once I reach that field my mind goes where it wants/needs to.  This is generally how I meditate.

When I'm working the type of meditation about I actually dislike having any music playing, I find it is more distracting than helpful, that is just me.  But that is not to say that music isn't an important part of the meditative process for me.  I have many forms of meditation I partake in that are based solely on music.

Music: I love to work with music, not just in my spiritual practices but in my study and writing as well.  Music is an amazing trigger for the mind.  When I study I play particular songs (they have to be without lyrics), these songs become a trigger for what I am reading and when I hear them again later they make the recall of the knowledge easier.  When I write I am inspired by the music, what I'm writing reflects how the music makes me feel.  When I'm meditating I become one with the music - it takes me on the journey and brings me back.

What kind of music do I listen to during meditation - that really depends.  I can range from Tool to New Age depending on what I'm doing as part of the meditation and the focus.  Tool is generally great for dance meditation.  I might listen to chakra balancing music while going for a walk Generally something soothing and mellow goes on while I'm meditating with Mandalas.  Meditative art can be accompanied by just about anything depending on the mood I'm in.  No matter what though, unless I'm actually doing a meditation such as described above music has to play a part.

Movement: Obviously I'm generally not big on the 'meditation while standing still'  idea.  I'm just not a sit still kind of person, and I'm also someone who needs to emote through her body, hell I even talk with my hands, I simply need to move to express.  So I don't do a lot of sitting meditation.  In fact my most regular form of meditation is probably either swimming or walking  (and hey, if you can combine your spiritual practice with staying healthy why not).  Swimming and walking is like breathing for me, I don't think about the actions involved and so they are perfect activities in which to loose myself to the depths of my mind.

Dance and hooping are two others forms of meditation I love.  I can loose myself to the music and the movement and allow my body to express what my mind is exploring.  Basically, you can trance and let go allowing you to reach that inner child.  So for me the three M's of Meditation, Movement and Music go hand in hand with each other.  They are all part of the process of tapping in to that inner self.  I think it is important that we don't feel stifled by the general pre-conceived notions of what meditation is and allow ourselves to think 'outside the box' (I hate that term but can't think of an alternative right now) and embrace different ways of working with the idea of meditation.

Film Friday

Okay, so why the somewhat blurry sunrise photo taken from the office window?  Because it serves as a reminder for me that even when I'm caught up in the mundane humdrum of work stuck inside an office artificial light and air conditioning there is an awe inspiring world out my window that I need to make and effort to get out in.  That it is important to take a moment to step back and re-balance ourselves and remember we are still part of the world despite how cut off from it we feel inside our little office spaces.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

L is for Listening

How often do you truly listen?  I mean really listen, as in shutting your mind and not just your mouth and opening your whole being to take in the world around you?  I know I don't as often as I should and it is something that I'm working on now.

For me meditation usually has a goal in mind, not necessarily a guided goal but I generally am trying to achieve something, a connection, a message, something.  Listening for me is something different.  I have no agenda, I am not trying to 'hear' anything, rather I am trying to 'listen', that is I'm trying to shut my mind off and become completely aware of the world around me, of the way it sounds.  Its a pretty amazing experience.

When we open up ourselves to really listen to the world we perceive our place within it in a different light.  I've come to realize more deeply how connected everything is.  I have also come to see the depth and the darkness and the light and the energy and the potential for awe and terror.  And as you develop further and open more you begin to 'hear' things, things that may not make sense but fill you with a feeling of something beyond words.

I try to make time to listen most nights before bed, when the world is somewhat quieter and I can let my mind relax because I know I will be sleeping after.  It takes some practice, but it is well worth the effort.