Dr. Valerie Rice: Mindful Moments: Meditation in Difficult Times

WORK Mindful Moments Buddha

Meditation can be guided or non-guided. Most of the information I’ve posted thus far in this blog has reflected non-guided meditations. During non-guided meditations, one focuses on physical sensations that align one with the present moment, such as the breath, sound, and physical sensations. Guided meditations can also be helpful, whether you, yourself are the guide, or someone else guides you through the meditation. In this case, you align yourself with the content and wording of the meditation.

Methods of guiding oneself through a meditation include selecting a topic, such as a word or a phrase to focus on during meditation. In light of current difficulties, focusing on the following words might be valuable:

  • Safety
  • Strength
  • Heart
  • Kindness

I’m certain you can think of more words and perhaps have even seen or listened to guided meditations that have been helpful. Some beliefs and publications support guided meditations, without openly saying so.

Books such as The Power of Intention by Wayne Dyer, The Intention Experiment by Lynn McTaggart, or even The Secret by Rhonda Byrne, talk of belief in the power of ones’ thoughts to change ones’ life, known as “the law of attraction”. The notion is that whatever I think about or want to have come into my life can materialize, because the universe ‘listens and responds’ to our thoughts and desires. Another similar idea refers to intentions, that is, having and stating specific intentions will help to bring about whatever your intention is focused on. Willem Lammers, the Dutch/Swiss holistic psychotherapist shares his belief in the healing power of the spoken word to directly influence health and life in his books on LogoSynthesis, similar to the teachings of Louise Hay and her texts on the power of positive thought patterns and spoken affirmations. Deepak Chopras’ book, Quantum Healing, also addresses how the power of consciousness and intentions can bring the body into a healthy state of balance. We’ve heard stories of self-healing using these techniques, possibly through our thoughts as energies, as explored by Bruce Lipton in The Biology of Belief. These are but a few of the books available that support the idea of our thoughts and words influencing our lives.

Each of these texts, in their own way, support the concept of guided meditations and the influence they may have on your mind, body, and spirit. Religious trainings support the utility of meditation through example. For example, Jesus meditated in the wilderness for 40 days, Muhammad meditated for many days in a cave, Buddha meditated under a tree for 49 days, and at Mount Sinai Moses spent 40 days meditating.

Guiding yourself through meditation can occur in a number of ways, but for today let us focus on meditation involving a single word. As an example, let’s take the word “safety” and imagine you are meditating on that word. The only guide is this single word – Safety and the meditation time is perhaps ten minutes. During this meditation your thoughts (and perhaps your words) may move through a series of related words and topics. Below you will see my thoughts and statements in regular type and my thoughts that stray along with the topic in italics, during part of a meditation on the word Safety.

“Safety…Safety…Safety. I am safe. I am safe in my body and in my home. I take care of myself. Through the food I eat..and my thoughts may go through some of the food and drink I intake…I take care to be safe. I try to stay healthy and that helps my immune system to be strong. I’m safe. I exercise at least some…and my mind strays to the methods of exercise I use – walking, energy-based exercises to strengthen body, mind, even the aura, chakras, and spiritual health – landing on the beliefs I have that sustain me. May I be filled with the Light of the World, the positive white light of health and vibrancy… I will say that aloud. May I be filled with the Light of the World, the positive white light that brings health and vibrancy…and I am safe and will be safe. I feel my shoulders relax and I think, yes, that is part of safety, feeling the body relax. The body can relax, knowing I am safe…and I feel it relax even more, allowing myself to feel each part of me that relaxes – shoulders, face, neck, arms, torso, legs. I notice that I feel happy. I see different colors behind my closed eyes and I name them…yellows and greens and blues in geometrical matrices, more vibrant as I continue my quiet focus on safety. I am safe and warm. I am calm and prudent in taking care of myself, so I am safe. A virus would have a hard time trying to attach itself to me…it might even ‘electrocute itself’ and die before it could attach to my healthy body, that I take care of so well. I’m as happy as a clam. Maybe I am the pearl in my own clamshell of my home and world. I am the shiny, hard-shelled, exquisite, strong pearl. How delightful for me. I am safe. Safety. Safety means so many things. I am safe. I am happy. I am contained and uncontained. I am strong. I take care. I am careful. Safety. I am comfortable and safe in my prime beliefs. I am held in the palm of a glory greater than me…and I can breathe easily. One slow, deep breath at a time. I can feel that breath…in my nostrils, in my lungs, in my chest, in my heart. Safety. My safety net surrounds me, people, resources, environment, me.”

Try this yourself. Pick a word. Set your alarm for ten minutes from now. Repeat your word and see what other thoughts, phrases, and deep feelings and sensations arise. Allow yourself to accept what comes and view it with interest and curiosity.

Do not feel victim to these ‘comings’’. They do not control you; you can control them. Set your intention, say it out loud, perhaps saying something like this: “I am going to meditate for ten minutes. No words, thoughts, or emotions can reach me unless they are for my benefit and the good of all man-kind. All other thoughts simply cannot reach me, they fall short and disappear, while positive, growth-producing thoughts arise from within or appear in my mind as if from nowhere.”

If you are uncomfortable meditating on a word or a phrase, and allowing thoughts, emotions, and sensations arise from within, then try a guided meditation from without. Here is one. You can read the words slowly and end with their reading or read them and then sit silently.

Taking a few deep breaths first, then reading the phrases below aloud to yourself. Intersperse long, complete breaths where they feel comfortable for you.

  • Safety. I am surrounded by an environment in which I am safe.
  • My home, my personal self, my skin, and the boundaries I’ve set – all work together for my health, happiness and safety.
  • I help to keep myself safe. I keep myself safe through the food I eat, the liquids I drink, and the faces, places, and words I allow within, for all my exposures can limit or nourish me.
  • I choose comfort, relaxation, and calm.
  • I choose to build and maintain a healthy immune system through my activities…and I am grateful for them.
  • I relax.
  • I am safe.
  • Safety.

Researchers continue to investigate meditation. A quote attributed to Albert Einstein is “The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant.”  According to Lin and Parikh (2019), “We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.” They explain these intangible possibilities of the power of thoughts, intentions, and words with quantum physics. Quantum physics informs us that our world is made of particle and energy and that there is no separation of the tangible and intangible, the subjective and objective, the observed and the observer, or the inner and outer world (Capra, 2000). This would mean there is no experiment that is ‘pure’ as each involved person’s intentions, mindsets, beliefs and observations become part of the reality of the outcome (Church, 2018).

For now, however, perhaps we are our own experiment. As such, when you meditate, discern for yourself how you feel afterwards. Perhaps annotate later actions and thoughts that you may engage in that are atypical for you. I don’t know for certain if my meditations change my being and my life, but perhaps it is so when my husband says gently and with concern “perhaps you need to teach another meditation course and begin to meditate a little more (along with your students). Clearly, he believes I am ‘different’ when I meditate regularly!

 

REFERENCES

Byrne, R. (2006). The Secret. Atria Books, Simon & Shuster: New York, New York.

Capra, F. (2000). The Tao of physics (4th Ed.) Shambhala: Boston, MA

Chopra, D. (2015). Quantum healing. Bantam Books, Random House: New York, New York

Church, D. (2018). Mind to matter: The astonishing science of how your brain creates material reality. New York, NY: Hay House

Dyer, W. (2010). The power of intention: Learning to co-create your world your way. Hay House Publishing: USA

Hay, L. (2015). The essential Louise Hay collection. Louise Hay Publishing: USA

Lammers, W. (2008). Logosynthesis: change through the magic of words. IAS: Maienfeld, Switzerland.

Lin, J. and Parikh, R. (2019). Connecting meditation, quantum physics, and consciousness: implications for higher education. In J. Lin, T. Culham, and S. Edwards Eds. Contemplative pedagogies for transformative teaching, learning, and being. Information Age Publishing, Inc.: Charlotte, NC, USA.

Lipton, B. (2016, 2nd Ed.). The Biology of Belief 10th anniversary Edition: Unleashing the power of consciousness, matter, and miracles. Hay House: USA

McTaggard, L. (2008) The Intention Experiment: Using your thoughts to change your life and the world. Free Press, Simon & Schuster, Inc.: New York, New York.