This Friday at our Songbird Friday Flock Night. Vicki Van Winkle, one of Songbird’s newest practitioners, will be presenting Lotus of the Heart, a heart-focused meditation and meditation introduction. If you think you can’t meditate, perhaps this is the perfect opportunity to learn how. If you can meditate, come learn something new. Even if this meditation isn’t for you, there are many other types of meditation. Don’t get caught up in in a narrow definition. I got a strong reminder of this a few years ago when we were asked to do a talk on meditation for a leadership group at Sonoma State.
My first internal response was, “We can’t accept this invitation. I can’t teach meditation because I don’t meditate, and we don’t have anybody else to teach it.” I was thinking this way because I was focusing on sitting meditation: the typical picture that comes into our head when someone mentions mediation. At that time we didn’t have anyone at Songbird who taught sitting meditation. I haven’t done it enough or studied it enough to be able to talk about it. However, we did, and we do, have teachers of other types of meditation. Now we also have sitting meditation teachers.
Carol Hince teaches iRest, a powerful guided meditation that helps to relieve chronic pain, emotional issues, PTSD and more. She teaches six-week iRest series, and it will be part of her quarterly Mini-Yoga Retreat this Saturday. I lead visual meditations – often focused around the chakras. I love moving/dancing meditations. Chanting can be another way or the frequent sound journeys we have at Songbird. I often meditate while I’m taking a shower, walking in nature, or lying in bed when I wake up- before I start thinking about all the things I have to do.
Meditation is about relaxing and focusing our attention. We can focus on the sounds of the music as we dance or the beautiful scenery around us as we walk in nature. We can focus or the sound of the running water in the shower or the feel of the water running over our body. We can focus on the voice of someone leading us into a guided visualization. When I attend a Feldenkrais class at Songbird, I get into a meditative state as I focus on the small unusual movements that help to release the tension in my body. Even doing dishes can be a meditation, if you focus fully on doing dishes instead of all the other things you could be doing. My most creative ideas usually come to me when I am meditating in my day to day activities. Meditation feels magical to me in this way.
Next time the voices in your head tell you that you can’t meditate, ask yourself, “Is this really true?,” and start thinking about all the other times in your life where you might be relaxing and focusing without sitting in a Lotus position doing nothing except trying to quiet your mind.