ZEN: A Japanese school of Mahayana Buddhism emphasizing the value of meditation and intuition.
TO MEDITATE: Think deeply or focus one’s mind for a period of time, in silence or with the aid of chanting, for religious or spiritual purposes or as a method of relaxation.
INTUITION: The ability to understand something immediately, without the need for conscious reasoning.
I typically meditate right before I go to bed because there’s always so much going on through the day that right before bed is just the perfect time for it. Since I just started this, I have a really difficult time with distractions. This is another reason why doing it right before bed is so helpful to me. I take all my medicine, wash my face or shower, get into my jammies, turn off all the lights, get comfy, and I crawl into bed, close my eyes and start counting my breaths. When I feel like I’m in a rhythm without having to pay too much attention to my breathing, I let my mind go. I don’t ever force myself to “think about nothing” which is what I feel like most people chalk meditation up to be. I use this time to repeat mantras, remind myself of my blessings, and the I go through all the negatives I felt during the day and I find a way to turn them into positives. I don’t time my meditations, I know when I’m done, and that’s usually when I allow myself to drift off into sleep.
This helps me to stay in touch with my intuition and sense of self. The mantras I repeat to myself before sleep definitely ring through my head during the day, and these mantras will change depending on what’s bothering me, what I’m dealing with, or what I want to work on personally or spiritually.
Currently, some of my main focuses include: having holistic ways to help my anxiety, finding inner peace, being kind to my heart, and having all around acceptance of my life, this world, and the people around me (including myself) for what they are and who we all are.
I read somewhere that “peace is the result of retraining your mind to process life as it is, rather than as you think it should be.” (Wayne W. Dyer) And I think it’s especially important to keep this frame of mind given all the things that can happen to a human being in this world. Violence, judgement, and disease (among many other things) should never impact a human life as much as they can, but they still can.. and they do. It’s scary, yes, but when negativity comes your way, it’s always going to be more beneficial to accept it into your life and handle it with peace and grace – not depression and anger.
These are currently my favorite mantras for my nightly meditations! I don’t remember to recite them all every night, but I usually end up remembering the ones that I feel the most connected to that day. These have just sort of been in rotation lately and they’ve been helping me a lot as we go forward into the season’s change, back to school, and dealing with other stresses that have been on my mind the last week or so!
“Let me fall if I must. The one I will become will catch me.”
I really like this because it sort of reminds me that every bad thing I’m faced with is shaping me to become a better version of myself. And this in turn helps me to accept the negativity into my life instead of ignoring it or looking at it like it’s only bringing me down.
“Do not resist your pain. Surrender to the grief, despair, fear, lonliness, or whatever form the suffering takes. Witness it without labeling it mentally. Allow it to be there. Embrace it. Then see how the miracle of surrender transmutes deep suffering into deep peace.”
This is pretty similar to the first mantra in that it’s about accepting negativity into your life and surrendering to your sadness. It’s so important to feel every emotion fully and to allow yourself to process your emotions properly. When you allow yourself to do this, you open yourself up to so much inner peace and unimaginable understanding of yourself.
“If it comes, let it. If it goes, let it.”
THIS ONE IS MY FAVORITE. I think it’s beneficial to go with the flow and not try to always be in control of everything. There is no possible way to always be in control and trying to be only adds to the stress of every day life! This is definitely something I’ve learned since dealing with my anxiety, and I’m still trying to remind myself every day that I don’t need to always be in control of everything all the time! This mantra is so versatile and can be applied to so many different situations.
“Forgive them, even if they’re not sorry.”
People can be stressful, but everyone is fighting their own battle. Everyone’s journey is different. And everyone is dealing with their owns sets of troubles and hardships. Keeping this in mind and forgiving others is so vital to your peace – even if they’re not sorry or even deserving of your forgiveness. And it doesn’t mean call up your ex and tell him/her you forgive them, or to tell anyone you forgive them, really. But to know in your heart that you’ve made peace with whatever situation warranted and apology by already acknowledging that you forgive someone will help so much in moving on with your life, not stewing over something that happened, and keeping your inner peace in tact.
“Worrying does not take away tomorrow’s troubles, it takes away today’s peace.”
This is another mantra for my anxiety, and is probably the one I say to myself the most. You can worry all you want, but it doesn’t change the future; something that hasn’t happened yet. It only takes away from the present moment.
If meditation is something you think you’d be interested in getting into, definitely make the move and start! It doesn’t always have to be sitting cross-legged with your hand stationary on your knees, with your eyes closed, repeating your “ohms”. It can as simple as taking a few minutes a night before you go to sleep to focus on your breathing and say something kind to yourself. Then you build!
Let me know in the comments if you practice any sort of meditation and how you go about doing it!! I’d love to read about how you all find your zen!