Skin Sensation Meditation

In the same vein as my last post, I’ve begun trying different types of meditation and I’ve had a delightful experience I’d like to share with you:

Remember that just one minute of meditation can do you good?  Well, during my morning shower, I keyed in to how the natural boar bristles of the body brush felt on my skin — down my arms, sides, thighs, calves…across my back and down the other side.  How the hot water soothed my shoulders…and then the silky liquid soap running from my palm through fingers to become foamy lather.  For these brief moments, all I focused on was the pleasant sensation on my skin.

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This experience reminded me of a practice I’d forgotten – dry brushing (aka Garshana).  Besides the obvious benefit of exfoliating the skin, dry brushing has been used for centuries to increase energy, blood flow, circulation and immunity.  It is done before showering and in a particular circular, stroking, upward pattern.

While traditional meditation clears the mind, body brushing clears toxins from the skin.  So, why not do both at the same time and get a double bonus from one effort?

Hope you’ll try it and let me know what you think.sponge-2541251_1280 Loofah Heart

Busy Body Meditations

You hear a lot about the benefits of meditation these days but that incessant mental chatter is reluctant to give up center stage.  Foregoing a lobotomy, what is one to do?

Sitting cross-legged on a cushion to meditate was as agonizing for me as soaking in a hot bath.  (I can’t wait ’til it’s over.)  Same for sitting straight with hands on my thighs — even if it’s my favorite chair.  Someone gave me a book on transcendental meditation but I got through maybe a third of it (at best).  The standard practice of focusing on the breath doesn’t hold my focus.

A spiritual guide who entered my life like an angel, eased my anxiety over not being able to meditate.  (Counterproductive like rushing to yoga class.) “You know, you don’t have to sit in a lotus pose or chant to meditate,” he said.  “Anytime you’re solely focused in the moment, it’s meditation.  Like when you’re gardening or acutely aware of those bluest of blue skies.”  He was talking about mindful meditation.

Somewhere in all of this I discovered hand drumming and before I knew it, I became a regular at the twice-monthly sessions at the health food store.  Drumming for 3 hours straight felt like only minutes passed. (Talk about transcendental!)  I experienced drumming’s healing effects by osmosis and later learned it’s gaining popularity for treating various health conditions (high blood pressure, cancer, stress, Parkinson’s, depression, etc.  For me, it was chronic fatigue).  See drumming for mindfulness.

One of the drummers showed me a movement meditation.  Focusing solely on the fluid movements resonated with me like when I practice morning Qigong.  I don’t drum in the morning for obvious reasons and prefer the energy of a diverse drum circle anyway.

Can you feel the calming energy in her sweeping movements?  You can feel this way too.  Go ahead. Try it. No one’s watching.

Still, there are days when my to-do list wins out and sets me in high gear before I’ve practiced self-care.  More recently, I’ve heard that beginning the day with even one minute of meditation is beneficial.  One minute?  Really?  I can do that. 

So, when I came across this post on sound meditation from a blogger who also has difficulty quieting her mind, I thought I’d try it.   I simply focused solely on the sounds around me as they appeared:  a cardinal flitting from the feeder to my window screen, another bird chirping in the distance, a whooshing car…rain on the roof, on the glass, through the gutter…the hum of the refrigerator…a creaking board.  This worked beautifully to ward off my noisy taskmaster.  And as my thoughts attempted to wander in wonder of what type of bird I heard, it was easier to gently pull back and simply — focus — on the sound — simply — as sound.

No longer am I stressed that I can’t meditate in the usually depicted forms.  Different strokes for different folks you know.  The key is finding what resonates for you.  If you have trouble quieting mental chatter, you might want to try sound or movement meditation.  I’d love to hear your experience — we’re all in this together.

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“Meditation:  when the space between your thoughts becomes greater than the thoughts between your spaces.” — Alan Cohen

 

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What are we doing?

A young friend, who is a talented musician and new father, shared his disappointing Christmas with me.  When asking his brother if he would like to hear the latest song he  recorded, his brother’s response was, “Sorry man.  I can’t.  I have 10 seconds until the tournament starts.”

My friend then revealed to me that his brother is addicted to gaming.  “He’s usually stockpiled in his room, stacking empty dishes of food my mother brought him because he can’t tear himself away from the game.  I’ve told him he’s disgusting, often not showering for three days,” my friend said.  I shudder in the realization that this technology problem is much bigger than I surmised and a grave concern to what we are doing to our society.  Isn’t the opiod crisis enough?

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My young friend continued, “You remember Jack at my wedding?  We use to talk on my drive home from work and had big plans for recording together.  Then he told me he bought a gaming system and wanted me to get one too.  He doesn’t return my calls anymore.  He won’t even pick up the phone.  I know he’s addicted to gaming too.”

My friend, at age 30 is already a wise old soul.  I was proud of him when he announced he gave up his cell phone because he was texting while driving.  And when he fired the babysitter because she placed an I-phone in his infant’s hands, I felt more pleased.  “I want my son to experience life,” he said.  “I want to take him cross country to see the beauty of the land and meet different people.”

I then shared with him a startling conversation I had with my older and over-weight brother in-law during the holidays.  His wife (an I-phone and Candy Crush addict) proudly told me she could start her oven with her I-phone.  “Why would you want to?” I asked.  My brother in-laws response?  “So you don’t have to get off the couch.” I felt stunned.  We already have an obesity problem in America and now technology is helping people stay inactive, indoors and isolated.  What are we doing?

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I understand gaming rehabs are some of the most expensive and that a gaming addiction is as difficult to treat as bulimia.  Drug rehabs are big business and a revolving door of profits.  When will humans wake up to realize they are giving up free thought and subsequent health under the guise of convenience but the truth of corporate profit?

game over

Addictions — whether drugs,  technology, gambling, food, shopping, etc. — would doubtfully be so overwhelming if people tempered their device with the wisdom and beauty of Nature.  Nature is free and it’s everywhere, reliably standing by, willing to offer peace and insights for living life.  Take a hike.  Plant a garden with your child.  Walk the dog and say hi to the neighbors.  Get off the couch to cut your own grass, and turn on the oven yourself.

It all begins with one conscious choice.

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