“When I’m worried, I don’t want to settle down into a meditation session,” my friend, Jessica, said.
“What’s happening then?” I asked.
“If I settle down, then it would just be me and the worries—in the silence. I’d rather have my iPod on loud and stay busy. I want to be distracted,” she said.
I learned that a number of people have difficulties about settling down with a chaotic mind when they start a meditation session.
I have three insights you can apply to beginning a meditation session.
- Focus on your breathing
When you simply focus on your breath coming in and then flowing outwards, you can begin to calm down. The practice of slow, calm breaths can also help in other aspects of your life. The good news is that when you practice slow, calm breaths in meditation sessions, you can bring this conditioning to your stressful times with family or at work.
Anytime your mind wanders, redirect your attention to your gentle breathing in and out. Notice if your breath is fast or shallow. If so, slow down your breath and deepen it. Just concentrating on your breath will help you still your mind.
2. Repeat a phrase or mantra.
Once you have your breathing in a slow, deep, rhythmic pattern, you can then repeat a phrase or a mantra in your mind.
I’ll distinguish here between a helpful mantra and a stress-causing, old-fashioned affirmation*.
Here is an example of a helpful mantra: Goddess supports me in peace. This form of mantra is specific to this present moment.
(*On the other hand, a stress-causing, old-fashioned affirmation can sound like: “I am skinny.” This can cause stress if you feel a big gap between your present situation and your wish to have a different form of body shape.)
3. Begin with a set pattern
You can repeat the mantra while you meditate. Additionally, you can use another form of set pattern.
Here are some examples:
- Visualize that you’re walking down the steps of a staircase. This can help you go deeper during your meditation.
- Visualize that you’re standing in the middle of Standing Stones. For example, one set of Standing Stones is Stonehenge.
- Visualize that you’re sitting in a Sacred Grove of Oak Trees or another sacred spot.
Once you settle on a starting point, you can meet the God and Goddess there. In this way you can converse and devote time with the Gods.
May the above methods support your meditation practice.
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