Hello friend! The last time I wrote something for this blog was February 12, 2020 and it is incredible what has happened in this country since then; Covid-19, social distancing, a racial justice revolution, LGBTQ equality, police reform, record unemployment, the presidential election in full swing and more! We are in the midst of not only multiple crises but also incredible growth potential for us humans beings. It is a perfect time for reflection with a chance to do our part to help make this a peaceful, healthy and equitable world for everyone.
Which Path Now?
When I started this blog I had no idea where My Path to Zen would take me. Last October I asked the Universe, “which path now“? The answer; “How about helping others learn about meditation?” I thought, “YES!” I would love the opportunity to share something that has added so much peace and joy to my life.
Shortly thereafter I was sent information about a Chopra Center Infinite Possibilities conference in Santa Fe, New Mexico and immediately signed up to attend. Thank you Universe! It was there I grabbed the opportunity and enrolled to become a Primordial Sound Meditation (PSM) Instructor. I recently completed seven months of study and training. It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. My brain was stretched and expanded by the incredible Chopra Center teachers alongside 140 incredible fellow students from around the world. I knew the course would be challenging, but I had no idea it would be as in-depth as it was. I love learning new things and with PSM, I will have a lifetime of continuing education!
What is Primordial Sound Meditation?
PSM is a personal mantra based meditation practice thousands of years old discovered and used by ancient sages in India. These sages, led by Adi Shankara, recorded the vibrations of the universe as it corresponded to the 108 positions of the moon. Dr. Deepak Chopra uncovered this ancient tradition and brought PSM to the Western world. A personal mantra is calculated based on the placement of the moon at the time, date and place of our birth. The beauty of a personal mantra is it has no meaning, it is a vibration of the Universe which allows our mind to access quieter levels of consciousness. There is no need to focus or concentrate on the mantra, just gently think it, releasing all other thoughts. That is not to say a thought or three won’t sneak in, or you won’t get distracted by a sound or an itch, it happens to all of us. No worries, just acknowledge the distraction and let it go. More on this later
There is no such thing as a bad meditation practice whether you prefer PSM, guided, transcendental, mindful, breath, walking or something else. I’ve tried all these except transcendental and still like to mix it up a little. I enjoy a guided meditation once in a while and frequently take walking meditations on the beach or in the woods. But the silent Primordial Sound Meditation has had the biggest impact bringing calmness, inner peace and even a peek into higher states of consciousness. I will talk more about states of consciousness in another blog.
What’s In It For Me, Why Should I Meditate?
There have been numerous scientific studies on the advantages of a meditation practice from better sleep to a more positive outlook on life. It took me a while to develop a regular practice and to be honest, there are times I may miss a day. When I don’t sit on my cushion I feel a disruption to the inner calmness I’ve grown accustomed to. Below I’ve listed a few more of the benefits I have experienced and are discussed in the article “20 Scientific Reasons to Start Meditating Today” from Psychology Today.
- Increases immune function
- Increases positive emotions
- Decreases depression, anxiety and stress
- Boosts your self-control
- Improves memory
- Increases focus and attention
- Improves your ability to be creative
- Gives you perspective
Meditation is definitely not a religion but can help us be even more in tune with our spiritual life. We have a favorite quote at the Chopra Center that says “prayer is talking to God and meditation is listening to God”. We can put our intentions and desires out to the universe and then listen for the answers. I can’t tell you how many times a solution to a problem has come to me during meditation. Once the location of my long lost slippers came to me in the middle of a mediation, the push to become a meditation instructor and much more! But the real benefits are even more profound off the cushion or chair, in day-to-day life. *Note: I use the words Universe and God interchangeably. To me they are the same.
But, But, But…
Meditation is super easy and not nearly as difficult as some of the other things we know are good for us like exercise or eating a healthy diet. The article noted above also addresses excuses many of us tell ourselves about why we “can’t” meditate such as:
- My mind wanders – This happens to even the most experienced mediators. But we don’t sweat it, we notice our thoughts and let them go. Thoughts, feelings and emotions during meditation can also be the release of stress. One more time…there is no such thing as a bad meditation!
- I fall asleep – If it happens sometimes, don’t worry about it. It just means you are tired. When you notice you’re awake again continue to meditate as normal. If you fall asleep every time, you are probably not getting enough sleep at night and should take a look at making some changes to your sleep habits.
- I tried it and hated it – You might want to try another type of meditation. As I said above, there are many types of meditation such as guided, mantra based, silent, breath focused, and more. I’d encourage you to try again.
If you would like more information to begin or refresh your own meditation practice I’d like to invite you to a free Introduction to Meditation class with me on Zoom or FaceTime. If you are interested please drop me an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Till next time…
Peace & Love ♥