Don’t talk to me until I have had my meditation
by Jennifer Dinoia
Don’t talk to me until I have had my meditation. How many times have you heard someone say that? Depending on your circle of friends and contacts perhaps never, perhaps a handful of times or perhaps it is something you hear your boyfriend say every morning.
Now, let me ask you, how many times have you heard someone say, “Don’t talk to me until I have had my coffee.” Or “I can’t function without my morning coffee.”? My guess is, you have probably heard this from several people on more than one occasion.
Our society values productivity and high performance. Caffeine induced beverages such as tea, red bull and coffee are growing in popularity to meet the ever increasing pace of society.
Agreed, coffee can be one of life’s simple pleasures. We all love the taste, the aroma and can identify with relying on coffee to combat morning grogginess.
Yet, I also relate to the need for my morning meditation practice before I function for the day.
As any longtime practitioner can attest, they see a noticeable difference in their day when they skip their meditation practice. Skipping those valuable minutes of meditation makes you feel a little off kilter, similar to that feeling of being not quite “awake” until your “cup of Joe” kicks in.
Why is a meditation practice so important?
Scientific studies have shown the dozens of benefits of this thousand year old practice. These benefits include:
-increased compassion for others
-decreased levels of anxiety
-increased test scores in children
-decreased levels of pain for cancer patients
Meditation allows you to establish a witness to the monkey mind and be more aware, compassionate and loving.
My personnel experience with Naam meditation, which uses the science of sound to open the heart, is that instead of being two steps behind and trying to catch up with life, I am more grounded and the day flows much smoother. Even if there are many challenges, there is a grace to the day and I can stay calm amidst the storm. With time, meditation fosters an effortless inner silence and deeper states of consciousness.
What is meditation?
Meditation is a practice in which an individual trains the mind or induces a mode of consciousness, either to realize some benefit or for the mind to simply acknowledge its content without becoming identified with that content, or as an end in itself. (Wikipedia). Confusing right? No wonder people are intimidated. Before I started a “real” practice, I imagined meditation to be sitting still for a long time in lotus posture and not thinking and you had to be calm.
The truth is, it can take many forms and can be done a variety of ways.
Here is a list of some meditation techniques:
Vipassana, Gazing meditation such as staring at the flame of a candle, Sound meditation (Nada Yoga), walking in nature, transcendental meditation, Zen meditation, Tantra, pranayama (a Sanskrit word meaning “extension of the prana or breath” or “extension of the life force”. Yogic breathing exercises and observation of the breath are pranayama. Pranayama is not exactly meditation but a fantastic tool to calm the mind and combine with your meditation practice), Taoist meditation, Mantra meditation, Kundalini meditation, Naam or japa meditation, loving kindness meditation or Metta meditation and the list goes on.
The “best” meditation is the meditation that works for you, in this moment.
I began my meditation practice as a child before I knew I was meditating. I was mesmerized with candles when I was younger and loved staring at the dancing light and observe the magical colors the flame possessed depending on its height.
Years later, I began with three minutes of starring at my hands while in the shower (please read my first blog about how I got into Naam Yoga to learn more about this meditation). I now start my day with chanting followed by 11 minutes of pranayama.
“The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” –Mark Twain
Why does chanting work so well?
Naam Meditation is a science. It is the science of sound and light to heal and uplift humanity. It is the science of self-healing. How does Naam Yoga do this? There are 84 meridian points on the upper palate. When chanting, the tongue stimulates these points. This in turn stimulates the hypothalamus which effects the pineal gland. The pineal gland then effects the pituitary gland which makes the entire glandular system secrete. After only a few minutes of chanting you go from the sympathetic nervous system, which is related to the fight and flight state, to the parasympathetic nervous system. The PNS (parasympathetic nervous system) is where we feel safe and can relax. After meditating it is no wonder we feel good. We are in the right state literally!
Naam Yoga uses sound to heal. Sound unifies all people. Divine sound can heal the heart and mind through the healing fire of love. All people need love and love heals diseases and brings harmony where there was once disharmony.
Dr. Levry, founder of the Harmonyum Healing System, merged many disciplines and continues to work tirelessly to spread Naam Yoga across the globe. He says in his most recent interview, in honor of International Yoga Day, “Naam Yoga is a universal form of yoga which is based on the power of sound. Sound is the most powerful and fastest way to unite with G.d. ”
Try a style of meditation, whether it is Naam meditation or staring at the flame of a candle for a few minutes before you go to sleep or another style you are drawn to and make it a practice.
Whatever you do, please don’t make meditation something you must do right. It is a practice and a journey not something you score well on or can measure like how high you can jump. Sure, there are techniques such as posture, best time of day etc. but please be loving towards yourself in the process. You do not want to create more judgments towards yourself as you tackle a new activity.
Fostering loving-kindness and seeing the interconnectedness of everything is one of the by products of meditation. If you are judging yourself and saying, “I’m not good enough” or “”I’m not doing it right.” then you are missing the point.
Compliance is the most important step in improving your health and making progress. Rarely do we lack the knowledge to begin. What we lack is the discipline to take daily action: to practice. And that is all meditation is: a practice.
When I wake up and meditate, I just sit and do it. Some days I feel the experience one way and the next day it may feel completely different. I don’t put weight on how I performed. I put value on whether I showed up.
And the point is to begin. The point is to make it a practice. A practice that is so strong that you gently assert, “Don’t talk to me before my meditation.”
For those new to meditation and curious how to begin please e-mail me at: email@example.com or call me at 917-450-0733 to schedule a private consultation.