I was supposed to be sitting with a question, What would make my soul happy?, and noticing what came up in order to let the Universe show me direction. And I realized that all this time, I'd been expecting answers like this to just spontaneously 'come to me', thinking that they're floating around nearby and if I just quiet down and clear my receptors, they'll Pop!, attach themselves to me.
Not so, it turns out. Yes, I need to quiet, but that's only to clear the way for the real work to begin. Digging and probing and working.
Because of this experience, I've come to understand meditation not as a chance to relax and rest, but instead as an exercise for my brain, as important as physical exercise. Just like physical exercise, though, I'm not inclined to be perfectly consistent! Predictably (of course) regular exercise does provide great results.
My meditations of choice have been Dr Deepak Chopra's 7 Laws Spiritual Laws of Success. (One for each day, get it?!) I set my timer, read today's Law, and pick a sentence or phrase that resonates with me. I say half of it to myself on an inhale, and the other half on an exhale. 15 minutes, in the morning, setting a tone for the day.
I've been noticing that the tone that I set, however, doesn't really seem to carry forward. Earlier this week, for example, I meditated on conscious choice making, and asking myself what the consequences of my choices will be (Witness my choices/with conscious awareness. Will this choice bring/fulfillment and happiness. 2 breaths, this one.) And then I walked right out of my house without half the things I was supposed to bring with me. Forgetfulness is a Form of Resistance, I get that, but shouldn't I have consciously decided to leave my house after thinking about the day ahead and its needs? Yes, I should have but I didn't. Ah, life.
Sometimes the meditation really hits home, though. Yesterday the statement "When Actions Are Motivated By Love, Energy Multiplies and Accumulates" made a big impact on me. Think this through- if actions are motivated by love, you must love what you're doing, right? And that allows energy to both build up and be stored, implying that you don't have to be the source of all the energy it takes to do what you're doing! This simple idea gave my tired self a hard smack because I've been pouring my OWN energy out for far too long. I need to change how I think about what I'm doing, or change what I'm doing.
This concept stuck like an ear worm all day. While teaching my pilates classes, while running extra errands, while having a 'problem' at the grocery store about an advertised sale and leaving without my groceries, all day long I just kept realizing, "I love what I'm doing! I really do! This is great!" And I had such a good day.
Your mind is a powerful place, and you really create your own reality through its lens. It does take practice and work to polish, focus, or adjust that lens, but it's a simple matter to actually meditate. The more difficult part is giving yourself permission to take that time away from all your other responsibilities, and then to forgive yourself the 'other' stuff that comes up to distract you. But it really is worth it to begin your practice today, right now. One single minute of calm inward focus, of checking in with yourself and letting go of whatever's between your ears that got there without your permission. Add time to that as you grow. I'm up to fifteen minutes, some people can do an hour, some people can only grab time at red lights or when waiting in car lines. We do what we can.