WORDS OF WISDOM FROM A WICKED OLD WOMAN
Posted: November 10, 2015
I might be a wicked old woman, but I do strive for self-improvement. Reading is a great way to assist on that path. I’m reading a book called “Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well Being, Wisdom and Wonder,” by Arianna Huffington, .co-founder and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post, among other accomplishments. For the first quarter of the book, meditation is one of the main topics.
Being the wicked soul I am, I’m sure I don’t appear to be the most grounded or put together person, however, had you known me ten years ago, I think you would see major improvements in my attitude and demeanor. There was a time anxiety ruled my life – day and night. I worried about what people thought of me to the point of making myself sick. I worried about whether I was doing my job right, whether I was raising my girls correctly and everything else.
Because my life was a frazzled mess, I went to a counselor. She suggested I try meditation and this is the method she taught me. For me, this formula works, but there are various methods of meditation. Just do a little research to figure out which one works for you personally. You can modify any method to suite your own preferences. I would love to see my family and friends benefit from regular meditation, as I have. It’s great for reducing anxiety and stress and in coping with life and all the decisions we must make.
This is pretty basic. I’ve been doing it for ten years for the most part. On the days I don’t do it, I feel out of sorts, so I know it’s something I have to keep doing. Here is my personal method – try it and see if you don’t feel better:
- Use your timer or alarm on your cell phone and set it for however many minutes you plan to meditate – beginners should strive for 10-15 minutes until you become familiar with the process, then you can go for longer. I do 30 minutes a day almost every day.
- Lay flat on your back on a bed, floor or wherever is comfortable for you.
- Prop your neck with a pillow so it feels relaxed and comfortable not putting any strain on your muscles.
- Spread your legs out slightly, lay your arms at your sides or rest them on top of your stomach.
- Breath normally, being as still as possible.
- In your mind start with the top of your head and say:
- Relax your forehead
- Relax your face
- Relax your chin
- Relax your neck
- Relax your shoulders
- Relax your upper back
- Relax your lower back
- Relax your hips and pelvis
- Relax your right arm
- Relax your right hand
- Relax your left arm
- Relax your left hand
- Relax your right leg
- Relax your right foot
- Relax your left leg
- Relax your left foot
- Relax your whole body (then I say “Go way deep down inside to the center of your soul where you can find Divine Guidance and pray.”
This takes concentration and practice and it may take several months to get so good at it that as soon as you lay down, you’ll feel your whole body relaxing and you may not even have to go through the mental exercise of telling each body part to relax. You’ll soon notice that if you have any pain in your body as you’re reciting each body area, that when you get to the painful area, the discomfort will ease or disappear. If you get to one body part and for example, start to feel a pain in your neck, mentally go back up and relax your neck and the pain will ease. After getting through all this, you will see your breathing slow down much like it does when you’re asleep.
- In this relaxed state, it is time to recite in your mind a mantra that means something to you – my mantra is the Lord’s Prayer followed by the Serenity Prayer. This is when you really get to a meditative state where your breathing is very shallow and you are almost asleep, however, you are .aware of everything around you – you’ll hear noises clearly, but they won’t startle you. I assume this is like a hypnotic state. A mantra is a statement or motto that you repeat frequently, so it can be whatever you use in your own life, anything that is meaningful to you will work. The key is to use the same steps and mantra to get to this point every time you want to meditate. Of course, you can change your mantra anytime you want to.
- After the mantras, I say my personal prayers to my Father in Heaven, listing the things I’m thankful for and being grateful for answered prayers. Then I ask him for his guidance. Then I clear my mind and try to keep it cleared until the end of my meditation, saying something like, “I need your Divine Guidance, what should I do?” Then I wait with an open, clear mind. Sometimes your mind wanders, but you can bring it back to the present just by focusing on breathing. The longer you can stay in this state, the more relaxed you’ll be when your meditation session is over, the more clear your mind will be and better you’ll be able to cope with whatever comes that day.
For me, meditation is best in the morning, but it will work whenever you can find the time. I personally have had some brilliant moments of inspiration and received answers to problems that needed to be solved, while meditating. It’s during this meditative state that you can retrain your brain, for example, you can begin a mantra to change a personal addiction or behavior you want to change.
If you do this every day for a month, I guarantee you that you will notice a major improvement in your coping skills, your appreciation for life, your awareness of what is going on around you and being able to live in the moment more often. There has been scientific evidence that meditation can actually improve your physical condition.
So take it from a wicked old woman, meditation is good for you. You'll feel energetic, peaceful and happier.