In the world today, everything moves at lighting speed and everyone is juggling a hundred different things, with a million thoughts racing through their head. Fretting over the past, stressing over the future. It is rare for anyone to live fully and happily in the present, and that is upsetting. Because in reality, all we truly have is this moment. What you are doing right now is what matters.
So how is one to push aside all the distractions, to gain balance, to find center?
There was a point a few months ago that I decided I really needed to work on living in the now. So I did a bit of research (I typed it in on Pinterest), and everyone seemed to be saying the same thing: meditation, meditation, meditation.
So what is meditation? The dictionary defines it as “continued or extended thought; reflection; contemplation”.
But anyone who practices it knows that there is much more to it than just thinking.
A little background on me, I am the kind of person who prays. I pray all the time. But as I’m sure many people can relate to, I go to God with my worries and problems, always thinking about the decsions I’m going to have to make tomorrow, or months, or years from now. And while that is not a bad thing, I have found that I can learn quite a bit more when I sit and give Him a chance to talk to me. When I put away all distractions and open my mind and my spirit. That is what meditation is about.
Obviously, there is a ton of information out there about meditating. In the end it is a personal thing, and what works is unique to every person. All I am going to do here is tell you about what I do, and what I have learned in my recent study of the art.
Let’s talk about chakras:
A chakra is a force of invisible energy. There are seven chakras in your body. You want all seven to be balanced and open for your physical, spiritual, and mental health.
1) Root- grounding and stability (red and black)
2) Sacral- desire and creativity (orange)
3) Solar plexus- willpower and ambition (yellow)
4) Heart- love (for self and others) (green)
5) Throat- communication (blue)
6) Third Eye- intuition (indigo)
7) Crown- spiritual connection (violet and white)
This is an extremely basic overview, but the point is that when one or more of your chakras are blocked, it will have numerous effects on you. Your bodily health, your emotions, mental stress. Meditation is a fantastic way to bring your chakras back into balance.
If you feel like you need a really dedicated meditation session, then by all means, get some candles and lavender oil, set up a nice comfy spot to sit where it is quiet and tranquil, and have at it.
But there is one tool that I have discovered that has truly made a difference for me. I take my mala almost everywhere. It is a reminder and it allows me to refocus at any time.
A mala is a strand of 108 beads. A lot of people are under the impression that 108 is the magic number. I’m willing to go with it. The point is, rolling the beads through your fingers helps to keep track of your breaths, and it gives you something substantial to hold on to and to focus on.
What materials you choose for your mala play a big role. Every kind of wood and stone have specific healing properties and connotations. Using certain gemstones can aid in opening corresponding chakras.
There are plenty of places to buy malas, but I opted to make my own since the creation process is meditative in and of itself. After deciding which chakras I wanted to focus on, and getting together all of the materials, I followed the directions from this lovely video.
As far as my own routine, it is really nothing fancy. I don’t do the whole mantra, “namaste” stuff.
I find somewhere to sit, whether it be the floor in my room or in my car in the parking lot, and I put one end of the mala between my thumb and my forefinger. I’ll roll each bead through my fingers, taking a deep breath with each one. This is all really just to make me slow down and focus.
What should one be thinking about?
Well that all depends. Maybe you are praying about one specific question, or putting all your energy into one chakra to work on opening and strengthening it, or maybe you just want to connect to the earth, or not think about anything at all for awhile.
Developing that laser focus comes with practice. And it does come.
I think the most amazing thing about this, and the reason I share it, is simply the calm that will surround you if you give it a chance.
I don’t care who you are or what you believe. Everyone can benefit from taking the time to stop and appreciate the present moment. Go do your own research and figure out what works for you. I would love to hear about your experience!