Calm Mind Meditation
I am often asked why I mediate and my answer has remained the same since I began in the 1970’s. I meditate because it works to calm my mind. The meditation I do entails learning to quiet the mind by focusing first on the inhale and then on the exhale, slowly repeating the mantra calm.
Learning to regulate and calm oneself is that simple, but not always easy to do. It is simple because you always have your breath with you, and it is not easy because of all of the excuses — too busy, no time, no quiet place, or I forgot. Think of this practice as your daily spiritual vitamin, something you take every day to feel healthy.
Many people have the same frustration starting out; their minds wander and their thoughts take over. I completely understand because even after thirty years of practice I still have similar experiences. It helps to remember that meditation is a practice, and like anything else, if you don’t practice, you will not develop the habit or expertise. While we cannot always choose what our minds think about, we can choose to make time to practice meditation daily.
Try using a polished stone to serve as a reminder to mediate. Place it where it will be seen first thing in the morning — maybe near your toothbrush, your coffee or tea cup. When you see the stone you will remember to meditate. Of course you can simply set a reminder on your smart phone or write it in your planner, but then meditation might begin to feel like an obligation or chore. Instead, the stone is a beautiful piece of nature that reminds you of the real intent of meditation — not to endure but to thrive.
Another frustration that people experience is trouble calming down, even when they are following their breath. Many people are not able to relax, and then as each moment passes they begin to feel more anxious about not feeling calm right away. Rather than setting yourself up to fail, start slow. Just aim for 3-5 minutes at first and increase the practice as you become more comfortable with 20 minutes a day. Sometimes one single meditative breath is enough to reset and begin to calm.
Meditation provides a safe place to become quiet and still, and allows us the opportunity to listen to what the mind and body are communicating. So often we forget to listen to ourselves, to trust that inner voice that guides us on life's journey. Meditation offers a powerful combination of honoring yourself through loving-kindness and the realization that all we yearn to be is inside of us already.
Through a regular practice of meditation, we calm and free our minds and hearts of what we do not need (anger, envy, hatred, sorrow etc.) and thereby create a place in our heart for love, compassion, joy, happiness, and forgiveness. By obtaining present awareness we can recognize the actuality of things, not the story our minds create, thereby achieving a mind and heart that is calm and stable and can remain peaceful if a struggle should arise.
Josette Lumbruno teaches the Calm Mind Meditation to students in CT.