Friday, March 11, 2011

Slow Down and Meditate

Over the next couple of weeks, my blog posts will be centered on an area of interest that I’ve been studying for a while – how the brain works.

I’m not going to get all neurological on you. I don’t have the expertise for that. In fact, what I share with you will be what I’ve learned as a layman. I have no expertise in any of this. I just find it interesting.

Today I’ll talk about meditation and in succeeding posts, I’ll talk about the different brain waves we produce and how we can access them.

I started meditating about 10 years ago. I’d like to say I’ve done it steady that whole time, but that would be a lie. I’ve lapsed the last couple of years and I’m working on building my meditation practice up to a daily occurrence again.

There are many benefits to meditation. Regular meditation can lower blood pressure, help relieve insomnia and help you relax and handle everyday stresses easier. On a personal note, my husband can tell when I meditate because I apparently don’t anger as easily as when I don’t meditate.

I started with guided meditation. I found it easier for me. There are lots of CDs and books that can help you get started. Believe it or not, I started with John Edward’s set of CDs (although they were cassette tapes at that time) called Developing Your Own Psychic Powers. The first guided meditation is that one that I used exclusively for a long time. It creates such a beautiful scene in my mind and I love to visit that place.

What I look for in a guided meditation is 1) music that is relaxing and pleasant for me to listen to, although drums are nice too, and 2) a voice that is pleasant to listen to. It does no good if you are irritated by either and can’t relax.

A few that I like are First Step by Gary Guthrie, The Soul of Healing Meditations by Deepak Chopra, The Enchanted Wood by Adam James Wakeling and Silence of Being by Mary & Richard Maddux.

Amazon has samples of most that they offer. Just type “guided meditation” into the search box and several pages will pop up. Listen to those that interest you to see if you find them soothing and relaxing.

You’ll find, if you give it a chance, that the more you meditate, the easier it is to slip into that meditative state. There are also things you can do to facilitate it.

1. Meditate the same time every day. This can be difficult when you have a busy schedule, but if you can find a time you have open on a consistent basis, this will help.
2. Meditate in the same place every day. Try to find a place where you won’t be interrupted and where you feel comfortable.
3. Ritual before you start. I like to light nag champa incense before I start. At this point, just smelling that scent starts the relaxation process.
4. Deep breathing. A lot of guided meditations will start you with breathing techniques. Again, after you’ve done it for a while, just practicing these techniques will relax your body.

These are just a few things that have helped me over the years. I hope you decide to give it a try if you haven’t before. It really does benefit your body.

Have you ever tried meditating? Do you meditate on a regular basis? What, if anything, would hold you back?

I’d love to hear about your own experiences and next time I’ll be discussing Beta brain waves.


Gale Stanley said...

I've often thought about meditating to try and relieve stress but never actually tried it. Thanks for giving me some incentive. I'll check out the books and CDs.

Traci Bell said...

I've considered it, just to help quiet all the 'noise' around me and in my head. I've read and researched on it and never taken that final step.

Janice said...

I've done it. I use to meditate on a regular basis and did it so often that I had out of body experiences. These weren't frightening. They were actually nice. I was in a heightened relaxed state so it happened.

I really need to start meditating again. I miss that relax state.


Riley Quinn said...

Gale and Traci, I think you would really like it. Someone (can't remember who now as it's been years) once said don't think you don't have time to meditate. You don't have time not to. I find it true. It seems that the more I meditate, the easier it is for me to get things done. I think it helps my focus.

Janice, how neat. I've only ever had that once. You and I can both get back in the practice together.

Thanks for stopping by today, ladies.

Eva North said...

Hi Riley, I have been trying to get into a good routine of meditating, but w/four kids, who need constant attention/supervision, a dog who needs the same, and a truck driver hubby and the whole normal day to day life, it is hectic and challenging to sit and meditate the same place nonetheless the ame time everyday. Any other pointers to get around those, I'm all open. Thanks

Riley Quinn said...

Hi Eva. It can be rough when you're as busy as you seem to be. I know you mentioned that it's hard to meditate in the same place, same time every day. In your shoes, I would probably get up a little earlier than usual.

I'm sure you probably don't get tons of sleep but you would be surprised how rested and rejuvenated you feel after. If that doesn't work, try for when the kids are down for a nap or at night.

Start small, maybe 10 minutes at a time. And use a trigger (like the incense I mentioned) every time before you start. Once you've trained your brain, every time you use that trigger, it will relax you so much quicker and you'll make better use of what little time you have.

Hope these comments help. Feel free to email me if you need any more suggestions.

Anonymous said...

I've just read through all your brain posts. Fascinating stuff. Yoga and meditation are both such powerful ways of brain training, aren't they? I've heard that even a five minute break used to slow your mind down works wonders.

Carol Burge said...

Hello Riley,

I found your blog through a post you sent to the WWP loop today regarding Beta Waves. I plan to read through all of these posts, so I am beginning with this first one (MEDITATION).

I've wanted to learn how to meditate for a LONG time, but I don't know how. Here by me, they hold free classes that meet a couple times a week, and teach you, but I've yet to attend one. I suppose I'm just too shy. Maybe one day soon. :)

I'm really looking forward to reading your posts on the different Brain Waves. I'm particularly interested in Beta Waves. I have a CD called HIGH FOCUS that is used for active, lucid thinking. I ordered it from the Kelly Howell/Brain Sync website. It is a Beta Wave, and is supposed to help with alertness, concentration and cognition. However, I've found I cannot listen to this CD very long, as it makes me nervous, irritated and gives me a headache.

I have two other CD's. INCREASE CREATIVITY which is a Theta Wave and SUPER LEARNING Subliminal which is also a Theta. I've only listened to them a few times, but I've found these two don't affect me the way the Beta does.

I'm really looking forward to reading your posts on Brain Wave Therapy and learning more about this technique.

Thanks for sharing.


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