Saturday, January 5, 2008

Meditation

This one was a bit of a tough one for me.  I had always imagined meditation as being weird and that people did it as a substitute for prayer so I just always said, "it's not for me."  I had no idea what you did when you meditate.  In my mind I imagined some Ghandi looking guy sitting in a cross-legged position saying "Ummmmmmm, Ummmmmmm" in a low voice. I always felt weird about it.

Once common characteristic of successful people is meditation.  I decided to research it a little more and I've paid attention to how different people describe meditation and what it means to them.

One of the things that Garrett White said the other night was about how in his religion, (which I understand to be LDS) He was taught to ponder.  Yet no one ever taught him what that meant.  We hear the phrase a lot "Search, Ponder and Pray"  I think we spend a lot of time searching and pondering, but it would be like planting a flower in good soil, putting it where it can receive sunlight, but not watering it.  In the end, 2 out of 3 isn't good enough to have success.

When we were taught as children to Ponder, I don't know if the common definition for meditation is exactly what is meant.  But as I've tried meditation over the last week or so, I've really seen that my ability to Ponder has increased as I am able to shut out the world and everything around me and just focus and relax my mind.  The mind is constantly working and this meditation process gives the mind a chance to relax and reset.  I've noticed meditation as being sort of like a "soft-reset" on a electronic device.  Sometimes our minds our like a computer, they get so jammed up with "stuff" and "open applications" that they don't run as well and they're not open to the revelation that they're meant for.  In 7-10 minutes of sitting by myself and relaxing my mind and body, I feel that soft re-set and it's amazing how much more energy I have after.  Sort of a "sharpening your saw" technique.

Admittedly, I am in the primitive stages of what meditation really is and how it can help me.  Sort of like playing the piano for the first time and you feel excited when you hit some right notes and you can see the potential for getting better, but you're a long way off.  That's how I am right now.  At that last producer power hour event, Garrett White said that one thing that has helped him to meditate, was the book by Dr. Wayne Dyer called, "Getting in the Gap"  He said that some people really liked it and others not so much, but I figured I would give it a try, so I bought it last night at Barnes and Noble.  I'll check it out over the next week and let you know how it works.

For all those who have never tried meditation and you want to, here are some things that have helped me:

1.  Find a quiet place. (Usually in the early hours of the morning and in a place where you're a lone, like a bedroom or basement)  I always like to start with prayer and focus on things that I'm most grateful for.
2. Get some good relaxing music, preferably with no lyrics.  If you want, check www.seeqpod.com and search for some meditation music.  If you find one you like, you can download it from itunes.
3. sit in a relaxing position and close your eyes.  (Sometimes I set my phone timer for like 10 minutes so that I don't lose track of time.)
4.  Try to mentally push all the "stuff" out of your mind and focus on clarity.  This part takes a while, because all kinds of random thoughts pop into my head or songs that I've heard that day.  Like I said, the mind is not used to this practice and it will take some time to clear out all the "stuff"
5.  I don't go into the meditation process seeking for something in particular (for instance, I don't look for answers to my prayers specifically), even though I usually come away feeling edified.  I mainly seek for that weightless feeling that you get when you're in a pool and you close your eyes and go under water and you don't feel anything.  I'm working on by ability to mentally block everything around me, it's tough to do.
6.  I find that when I meditate, I bring myself to a state of clarity so that during the day, I receive more personal revelation because I am mentally prepared to receive it.

I think that I mentioned this on my last post, but it's worth repeating.  Garrett White said, "We live in a world where we are scared to death of silence."  Everyone is walking around wearing ipods and talking on cell phones and in a way, trying to make more noise because there is a slightly uncomfortable feeling at first when we experience silence.  It's not what we're used to.

I ask the question, if we have been taught to ponder more and if it is an essential part of our progression in the gospel, who do you think is focusing on cluttering all our minds and filling this world with noise so that we are less likely to be receptive to those quiet promptings of the spirit.

By far, our greatest asset is our mind.  It's also the hardest thing to control.  In my short time of meditation, I've found that it's a great way to practice control over my mind.  I've always thought that we are first responsible to control our physical body with our mind and then control our mind and our bodies with our spirit.  Pondering is something that I haven't ever focused on and I one way that helps me to ponder is meditation.

If anyone has any other tips or experiences with meditation, please post them!

3 comments:

Adam said...

Great post man !!!! I likes.

AR

The Creators Corner said...

Great post. In college a woman came to one of my classes and did a yoga/meditation lecture. After the lecture we had a short class. The woman had us lie on the ground and tighten our toes and relax them, tighten our feet and relax them, contract our calves and relax... we worked up our body to all of our face muscles... flex your hands and release it. This took about 2-3 minutes... then she just told us to let our bodies sink into the ground. There was some quite music playing and it was the coolest feeling. Try it sometime... I think you'll feel energized after!

Jill

Adam said...

Matt, Jill just read a great article in Body+Soul Magazine about meditation, I'll get it to you or summarize it and post it.
AR