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Music Monday – Meditation

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I have not been as regular in my meditation practice this year as in previous, but I hope to get myself back on the wagon this winter.  I meditate with gentle music in the background, as I find it helps center me, and my monkey mind is a little less wild. I also like to set up playlists so that they run the length of time I would like to meditate, so that I don’t shortchange myself by getting grumpy and giving up after 5 minutes, nor do I lose track of my day and sit for an hour when I really only have a half hour to spare.  I like the tracks to be 5-7 minutes or more apiece so that I am not constantly “shifting gears” with new tunes every 3 minutes like most songs run these days.

Unfortunately, much of my music is still “trapped” on an iMac that pooped out on me, but I will share these three I still have on my laptop playlist for your enjoyment. Enjoy!

Song – Artist – Album
Om Jai Jagadeesa Hare       Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia        Om Jai Jagadeesa Hare
Moon of India                    World Meditation Ensemble    Sacred Fusion
Govinda Hare                     Krishna Das                             Pilgrim Heart    
 
Have questions about meditation? What is it? Why do it?  From me to you, there isn’t anything fancy to it, nor does it have to be a particularly spiritual practice.


Find a spot that is quiet and comfortable, away from any distractions. Sit comfortably (I like a couple pillows under my bottom so my knees and legs don’t get achey), and breathe normally and gently.   You don’t have to have a particular pose, or put your hands or arms in any particular position, though you should sit with your back straight –not rigid or tense — to protect your spine, with the head balanced comfortably on top.

Some people close their eyes (I do), while others let their lids hang but not close all the way. You don’t have to chant anything or think on any particular phrase or topic. You don’t have to have an altar, or light candles or incense (though if you like those things, create a little space for yourself and light up!). As I indicated, I liked to have some music, but some people find that to be a distraction. Find out what creates tranquility in your practice, experiment with different environments (inside or out, bedroom, living room, or dedicated space, sound, scents, etc), and settle in for a little nothingness. Because for me, that is what meditation can be. It is an attempt at pure nothingness, which makes space for…anything and everything!  Through guided practice, you can choose a focus or mantra which can be as simple and narrow as your breath, or as wide-reaching as world peace (cliche, but a wonderful exercise in compassion).

I started when I had my back injury, and I was spending a lot of sedentary time at home alone, unable to even walk to the kitchen without agonizing pain. I was spending a lot of time in front of the TV and computer. Well, honestly, all freaking day was some combination of computer, television, video game, etc. I was feeling really depressed and tired and sorry for myself. I decided I wanted to get myself away from all the constant media input, and focus on healing and centering myself, inside and out.  It was summer when I began, so I would put a thick towel on my back deck in the sunshine, along with a couple pillows to sit on. I would play some soft music, and just sit. And breathe. Sometimes I would think a little mantra in my mind: “I am strong. I am healing.” But most days, the plan was to think of nothing. Concentrate on my breath. Feel the breeze on my skin. Allow the sounds of the world around me to diminish and turn my focus gently inward, without closing off from all that was surrounding me.  I gave myself a gift of at least a half hour of this gentleness and quiet each and every day. What a blessing that simple act can be!

If you are interested in reading more, The Google has tons of links and info of course. There are tons of people trying to sell you stuff these days–books and videos. But there are lots of free resources as well, so avail yourself of them and avoid hucksters. Here are a few to get you started:

4 Powerful Reasons to Meditate and How to Get Started:
http://www.pickthebrain.com/blog/4-reasons-you-should-meditate-and-how-to-get-started/

“How to Meditate”
http://www.alternative-medicine.net/meditation/english.html

Simple Breathing Meditation:
http://www.how-to-meditate.org/breathing-meditations.htm/

Loving Kindness Meditation:
http://www.how-to-meditate.org/loving-kindness-meditation.htm/

Shay
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Shay Moore is the director and primary instructor at Deep Roots Dance in Seattle, WA. She loves writing, movies, costuming, knitting, cooking, and bellydance to the moon and back again; and loves her amazing husband and doggies even more than that.

Shay
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