Part 2: Simple techniques for creating a meditation practice of your own

So, how can you go about creating a meditation practice of your own? First, find a time of the day when you can be distraction-free, perhaps that is early in the morning before the family is awake, or in the evening (my personal choice) when all are asleep. Once you choose your time, “unplug” from the world, even if you choose to meditate for just five minutes, create a calming space in which to practice. Create a space that is as distraction-free and clutter-free as possible, and as calming as possible, dim-lighting or natural lighting, incense (if you like), and sacred objects (Jesus, Buddha, vase of flowers, photos of passed loved ones, crystals, and again, only if that feels “right” for you). Next, sit upright, back straight, cross-legged, palms facing up gently resting on the thighs, or you can choose to lay down (only if you won't fall asleep), or sit on a chair, with feet on the ground, back straight, palms facing up gently resting on the thighs. Gently close your eyes and breathe, deep, cleansing breaths, could be in through the nose, out through the nose, or in through the nose, out through the mouth, whatever feels right for you. A few techniques you can try to help you step outside the stream of thoughts and feelings that will distract you from simply sitting in your space are as follows:

~Simply focusing on each in-breath and each out-breath, and when your mind becomes distracted by a thought or feeling, imagine it floating on by, in the sky that is your mind, and gently bring your focus of awareness back to your breath.

~Silently or not so silently repeat a mantra, which can be a phrase or word that brings you a sense of peace and interconnectedness, for example: let go, simply trust, faith, love, peace, let go let God, om, grace, etc. the choices are endless, but choose something that is short and sweet and that brings you a feeling or sensation of calm, peace, or love.

~Pray, talk to God, offer gratitude, prayers for others, prayers for yourself.

~Visualizations: visualize thoughts and feelings as passing weather in the expansive and open sky that is your mind. Be at peace with the clouds, the rainbows, the storms, the tornadoes... Simply observe them passing by... Or put your attention on your heart center and visualize your heart opening like a flower, expanding with love and light. The love and light permeates each cell of your body, expands to loved ones, to the world...

~Body scan: start with the tips of your toes, feeling into whatever sensations or tensions you experience, noticing, sending your breath into those spaces to get the energy moving, consciously relaxing or simply bringing awareness to each part of your body as you move from your toes to the crown of your head.

~Sit in the company of a plant, the ocean, a stream, a tree, or even a rock, observe with your eyes, your touch, your smell, offer gratitude and admiration, contemplate its existence, and then simply sit with it, with awareness. You will be surprised at the wisdom you will receive from this simple interaction.

~Try keeping a journal to jot down thoughts, feelings, images, or sensations you experienced during your meditation practice to help you cultivate the "witness" mind to your experience, in order to help you bring more awareness into your experience throughout your day.

As you become more comfortable dropping into your meditative space (peace, awareness, intuition), and it will take time and practice, you will find that you are able to “meditate” throughout your day while engaging in the normal day-to-day activities. And meditation can be found in any activity in which you “lose yourself” in the joy of what is your doing, ie., art, dancing, swimming, singing, yoga, surfing, knitting, cooking, walking...Your life has the potential to become one continuous and rich spiritual practice!