Joy Held's Writer Wellness

"Be well, write well."

Monday Meditation: Am I Meditating?

on April 11, 2011

There are five primary areas of practice to the Writer Wellness plan. Every other week I will post an idea for relaxation (Monday Meditation,) creative play (Tuesday Tickle,) fitness and exercise (Wednesday Workout,) journaling and misc. (Thursday Thought,) and nutrition (Friday Feast.)

“Success is never a destination—it’s a journey.”                                ~Satenig St. Marie,

Unless we have a homemade brain wave monitoring machine, we usually don’t have the means to measure our level of success with meditation in a scientific sense. We can feel certain changes and measure them to a degree. The average meditation journey should experience three specific measurable stages:

1.Tension-this is where we notice just how tight our jaw bones are, how sore our backs are and how busy our minds tend to be

2.Letting go-this is when we notice some of the tension releasing and our breathing is slowing down

3.THERE-this is when we become aware of very few things, less and less bothers us physically and mentally we realize our thoughts have slowed down, and we can control whether or not we want to follow monkey mind down its ragged path. We do not follow monkey mind.

These stages coincide with brain wave activity.

Tension = Beta (busy, busy, busy mind)

Letting go = Alpha (focused awareness on our breath and what it’s doing, fewer thoughts)

THERE = Theta (just about to cross the hazy boundary into slumber-ville)

Sleep isn’t meditation as I’ve said before, and theta is the gatekeeper of sleep so the goal is to remain relaxed and aware at the alpha level. Regardless of how messy the day has been, a successful meditation session need only give us a conscious pause from the issues we’re dealing with and that’s enough. Yep. It only takes a few minutes a day to meditate successfully. But what does a successful meditation practice “feel” like?

This brings up the question of goals. Should we have goals where meditation is concerned? Is it better to let things take their course and follow along? Like yoga, meditation is a blend of healthy balance. It’s right to set a goal to meditate for a specific amount of time each day. It’s right to practice particular habits like sitting still and watching breath flow. But it isn’t right to set expectations beyond the realm of the realistic. Why? Because unlike measuring the fact that our brain activity actually slows down during meditation, it creates more stress to attach a measurement or a benchmark for meditation. “If I don’t find perfect peace in my life in three months of meditating, I failed and will give up meditating.” Or “I should notice a major shift in my actions in a set period of time, and if I don’t I will stop meditating because it just isn’t for me.” These are normal examples of our “quick fix”, I-want-it-now mind sets and this doesn’t work with meditation. With meditation, the less you expect, the more you receive.

To answer the question of what successful meditation feels like, beyond the physical and mental releases (which may not feel gigantic, but they occur,) the positive results of regular meditation show themselves in our everyday actions. We are more patient. We smile more. We laugh bigger. We appreciate little things more. We share more. We hold the door more often. We focus better on other projects when our brains are challenged. We are healthier. We are brave. We trust more. We think the best first. We are less critical of ourselves and others. We are more accepting. We are more loving. We are more truthful. We are more understanding. We are more creative. We are more of who we were meant to be.

But it’s a long journey worth every step. Do you have any meditation stories to share from your journey?

Meanwhile, remember to look for a digital or print copy of Writer Wellness, A Writer’s Path to Health and Creativity at Who Dares Wins Publishing, http://whodareswinspublishing.com.

And check out these great blogs for ideas to keep your writing and publishing healthy and prosperous.

http://writeitforward.wordpress.com/ Bob Mayer

http://jenniholbrooktalty.wordpress.com/ Jenni Holbrook

http://warriorwriters.wordpress.com/ Kristen Lamb

http://inspiration4writers.blogspot.com/ Inspiration for Writers, Inc.

http://pentopublish.blogspot.com/ Natalie Markey

Be well, write well.

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One response to “Monday Meditation: Am I Meditating?

  1. Bob Mayer says:

    Most of my work as a writer is thinking, not typing. At least once a day I have to get away from the computer, shut everything down, put on my eye shade and just let go. Let the brain wander.
    I usually come up with a lot of great material when I do that.

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