It might surprise many of you that I’m fairly new to practicing meditation – like two months ago new, and I mean consistently. It takes a lot for me to sit still. A LOT. I squeeze as much as I can in a day, and truth be told, the first thing I want to do when I get home is watch HGTV’s Fixer Upper. I’d reassure myself that I’d be going to bed soon anyway, so I’ll do it then.
So what’s changed?
Recently, I was asked to teach and Introduction to Meditation class one Tuesday evening a month at The Mindfulness Center in Bethesda where I also see patients. Gulp! I scoured my databank for evidence that I could actually do such a thing in front of a bunch of people who I likely didn’t know. Hmm, I know I walk my patients through a body scan. And, I just taught a class on wellness skills, and included a centering-eyes-closed-breathing exercise. Does that count I wondered? Before I got into excessive over-think, I heard myself blurt out: yes, why not! Thank you for asking. Oy vey…
A YES requires courage, commitment, and a NO is easy. A NO shuts down any discussion or possibility. I tend to say yes, jump in with both feet, and figure it out as I go. Does that mean I’m good at teaching meditation? I have no idea. I know that there is room for improvement, and like with anything we take on newly, it’s the willingness to be open, get up and do it again and again, even if we stink at it.
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.
Theodore Roosevelt, “Man in the Arena” Speech given April 23, 1910
Other than getting up the gumption to teach something I’m still learning, what has helped me learn about different guided meditation styles is to research what others are doing and practice it for myself. I was recently asked what style I teach, and I was flummoxed. Er, style? Well, Mary Mo style, of course! While that’s a work in progress, I do have a suggestion. Check out the many guided meditations by Tara Brach who is a local psychotherapist, meditation teacher, and founder of the Insight Meditation Community in Washington, D.C (IMCW). There are plenty to sift through, from as little as 10-minutes to 30-minutes. I’ve also practiced with Deepak Chopra, at least virtually. His guided meditations are here. Lastly, if you know the work of Abraham Hicks, check out these meditations.
It wasn’t just the motivation of being asked to teach meditation to spur me into regular practice. I realized the more time I spent clearing the clutter of my mind, the better my body felt-more at ease. Meditation helps me put the pause on thoughts that don’t serve me. The thoughts that put me in a negative mood and tailspin. With meditation, I’m able to counteract and amplify positive thoughts through being aware of what I’m doing. The difference has been tremendous. I start and end my day with a guided meditation.
What’s your practice? What keeps you practicing?