I was never much into meditation. As I continued to pursue the spiritual path, though, I found the subject kept coming up from teachers and authors I respected. “A consistent meditation practice is the foundation of spiritual growth” was the message I’d get from one source or another.
In the past I made attempts at meditation. In classes I have taken at church there often was a meditation time at the start of each session. Try as I would to meditate my mind would frequently wander. “Why do we have to sit through this meditation time?” I sometimes thought. “Let’s just get on with the class!”
When reading Susan Piver’s excellent book “how not to be afraid of your own life, opening your heart to Confidence, Intimacy, and Joy” I was again reminded of the value of meditation. In fact the subtitle of the book reads “features a 7 day freedom from fear meditation program”. While I wasn’t going to develop a meditation practice just by reading this book, Piver gave one suggestion I hadn’t considered before:
“Get a meditation teacher.”
Hmmm, maybe this was worth a try. I put into google the search term “Denver meditation teacher” and found Lisa Guyman. Lisa is a certified “Chopra Center Meditation Instructor”. I had read a few books by Deepak Chopra and valued his work highly, so I thought “why not?” My wife Anne liked the idea, too, and we were soon off to a weekend of meditation instruction in one of Lisa’s classes.
The experience was a good one. We were joined in the class by five others at Lisa’s home – a small enough group to ask questions and get personal attention. We were each given a personalized mantra and suggestions on how to meditate. “30 minutes, once in the morning and once in the late afternoon, before meals, are good times” Lisa said. I liked how the class was a mix of the theory behind meditation and practice.
I did have a few questions. “I tend to fall asleep when I’ve tried to meditate in the past,” I said. “That’s ok – if you fall asleep that’s what your body needs at the time,” said Lisa. In my first attempts to meditate I found I wasn’t thinking anything, just feeling silence. “Should I think my mantra into that silence?” I asked. “Should I whisper my mantra or just think it?” was another question. “Experience the silence,” was Lisa’s answer. “No need to whisper the mantra, the mantra will become more subtle in your mind with more practice.” I found these and other suggestions helpful.
Since taking the class I have been meditating twice a day for about two weeks now. Sometimes I still fall asleep during my meditation time. Sometimes my mind is racing with different thoughts, and the mantra helps bring me back to the present moment. And sometimes I just experience the silence. While I can’t say my two weeks of meditation has changed my life, I find I do look forward to these morning and afternoon times of solitude. I find I am better able to focus on the morning tasks after an early a.m. session, and releasing the stress of the day is becoming easier in my afternoon quiet time.
Anne reports positive changes too. “I’m definitely glad that we took the meditation class,” she said when I asked her about her experience. “I look at meditation as another tool in my journey. Getting centered and spending time in the moment during meditation has helped me to come back to the NOW at other times during the day when I am either fretting the past or fearing the future.”
Maybe all those recommendations I read encouraging meditation were right after all. I’m going to continue the practice.