Meditation



MEDITATIONSACRED SPACE OF SILENCE


In all of its various forms, meditation has the potential to draw us inward from the everyday stresses of our daily lives and move our attention from our head, into our heart-space. Eventually, we find ourselves resting in a sacred space of silence where ideas are incubated, healing is instigated, intuition is enhanced, and peace is instilled.

Although we may not always be attentive to it, the hum of a soul-sound rises from deep within us, summoning us to push pause… hush…and take time to be still and “listen” to the echo of silence.

There are so many gateways to usher us to that still-point. The sacred sound of silence could be beckoning us through the beat of the drum, through free-flowing movement and dance; or while we sing or chant, hike or cycle. Maybe the sound of silence beckons us while we journal, or meander out in nature. Some hear the call while completely absorbed in a creative pursuit while, for others, silence motions us through the repetition of a mantra (sacred word or phrase). For many, sacred silence simply bids us inward when we’re seated on our prayer mat in mindful, and deliberate, quiet contemplation.

The activity that creates single-pointed concentration and takes us out of our head and into our heart space, is not as important as is the commitment to regularly heed the call to go within. When we do we touch the stillness of the sacred space of silence and give our mind a breather.

FINDING STRENGTH IN STILLNESS

WHAT MEDITATION IS NOT
  • It is not inertia or sleepiness – To prevent nodding off stare at a wall or a candle flame, ventilate the room, avoid doing your meditation lying down, avoid meditating on a full stomach.
  • It is not straining to rid our mind of thoughts – rather it invites mindful awareness.
  • It is not only for gurus and yogis – anyone can meditate if they put their mind to it!
  • It is not about signs and wonders! It’s about experiencing relaxation and stillness.

“Watch carefully, and you will find that there are some things, even in the active unselfish doing, which would better be left undone than that you should neglect regular meditation.” H. Emilie Cady (1895)

THE BENEFITS OF MEDITATION
  • Sustained meditation practices lead to a decrease in blood pressure, muscle tension, and electrical brain frequencies (alpha rhythms), lowers cholesterol and the reduction of pain.
  • It creates a more regular heart beat; releases stress; boosts the immune system and improves breathing.

  • Deep, regulated breathing during meditation increases oxygen supply to the body, brain, and nervous system.
  • It improves physical and mental health and creates a sense of internal calm, tranquility and relaxation.

  • Meditation enhances intuition, clarity and focus, and awareness.
  • It also builds emotional resilience and causes decreased reactivity to stressful situations.

WHERE AND WHEN TO MEDITATE

Any time can be a meditative moment – it’s all about awareness and intention.

“Watch carefully, and you will find that there are some things, even in the active unselfish doing, which would better be left undone than that you should neglect regular meditation.” Lessons in Truth H. Emilie Cady (circa 1895)

  • It’s better to have a short meditation practice than no meditation practice at all. Find a time that works and stick with it – consistency is the key.
  • Start gently. If new to meditating engaging in too long an initial stretch may put you off from keeping up with a practice. Start out with small increments of time, say five minutes, and increase it as you get used to being still for longer periods.
  • Turn any available space into a meditation area – the deck, the bathroom, a corner of the room, while on the bus or train, out by a favorite spot in nature. Ideally you want to pick a spot where you will not be disturbed. Consistently return to that same place and your subconscious mind will positively anticipate what’s coming next.
  • They say meditating once a day is spiritual maintenance and more than once is spiritual growth!
    Be enthusiastic about your practice!
PREPARING TO MEDITATE
  • The objective is to be relaxed but alert. It helps to anchor your practice by focusing on your deep, regulated breath, or a sacred word or phrase (mantra), an object such as a candle flame, or a body part, that you can return your attention to when you notice your mind has wandered.
  • Be clothed in your right mind – that’s the only dress code! That is, set a clear intention to meditate. Having said that you may want to ensure that your clothing is comfortable and unrestrictive.
  • Ensure you are physically comfortable in your meditation position or environment.
  • Have a blanket or shawl handy in case the temperature drops. Remove it if you get too warm or sleepy.
  • Avoid strong scents and perfumes, especially if meditating with a group.
  • Where possible, avoid meditating around lots of electrical or electronic equipment.

“Do not let waiting in silence become a bondage to you. If you find yourself getting into a strained attitude of mind, or “heady,” get up and go about some external work for a time. Or, if you find that your mind will wander, do not insist on concentrating; for the moment you get into a rigid mental attitude, you shut off all inflow of the Divine into your subconscious.”
H. Emilie Cady, Lessons in Truth (circa 1895)

TUNE IN

Click here to download free podcasts of Rev. Paulette’s weekly Touching the Stillness broadcast on Unity Online Radio which contain a wealth of meditation tools and tips to help you move past the chattering, roving mind to the tranquillity of healing, holy silence.

TAKE A MEDITATION CLASS

Take a leisurely eight-week walk through various meditation practices and reflect on one a week. It’s a great way to enhance your meditation practice. Click here to learn more or sign up for this self-paced online Meditation Practices class with Rev. Paulette, which she facilitates through Unity’s Spiritual Education and Enrichment (SEE) program.