Meditation as Medicine: 3 Calming Practices for Beginners.

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Meditation is more than just sitting.

Though just sitting, practicing doing nothing, breathing, and paying attention to our breathing is fundamental to formal meditation practice, meditation and mindfulness can be cultivated through other methods, such as standing, walking, eating, communicating, and so on.

Writing is also a wonderful, creative, grounding practice that can be meditative.

The act of putting words on a page, whether handwritten, cursive words on a physical page of a notebook or typed words on a computer, is therapy. It is a meditation, a medicine. It is a pouring out of the heart-mind, a necessary act, a way to process, reflect, and integrate teachings, patterns, lessons, and revisions.

The act of moving one’s hand across the page is a miracle, a simple choice, and a habit that can be so cathartic and healing.

Here are three simple meditations to help you get centered before writing practice.

Breathe. 

Our breath is with us from the moment of birth until the moment of death. It is the one bodily function that we can control. Deep breathing is calming. Breath awareness is the foundation of any meditation technique—and one that we can always return to, no matter what.

Start from one, counting up with each breath cycle. Let your breath be natural. On the inhale, imagine your body filling with darkness. You are breathing in the night sky, pitch black with shining stars. Make your mind as vast as the sky. Visualize yourself exhaling smoke through your nostrils like a sleeping dragon.

Compost. 

Lie on your back, scanning the body and relaxing all the muscles from head to toe. Let the weight and energy of your physical being press down into the earth. Relax every part, letting go of all tension, feeling your body melt into the ground. Imagine your body is as light as a fluffy, white cloud floating in the sky.

Then, visualize your body as heavy as a boulder grounded in the earth. Imagine the tension or energy that you no longer need leaving your physical body. See it seeping out, seeping down into the earth, where it can serve as compost for new growth, fresh beginnings, and abundant opportunities.

Trains of Thought. 

Visualize sitting on a bench at a train station, just watching the trains arrive and depart. Our pure awareness is the bench at the station. All the mental activities—the myriad of thoughts, feelings, sensations, ideas, memories, plans, and so forth are the trains.

Sooner or later, our mindfulness will lapse and we will get on one of those trains. We will be lost in thought, having completely forgotten about our meditation. However, the moment you realize that you are on the train, you can magically transport yourself back to the station, back to the bench. Keep watching without judgment, with an open mind and an open heart.

Then, just write. Write your heart out. Write whatever comes to mind. Write using inspiring prompts from a book or course. Write for yourself. Write and get to know yourself more deeply. Let your hand move across the page, or keep typing continuously. Don’t stop to edit or think—just let it flow. Even if it doesn’t sound “good” or make sense, continue to write for five or ten minutes without stopping.

Thank-you, writing. Thank-you, creativity. Thank-you, time and space. Thank-you, sun and moon. Thank-you, everyone.

~

Lokah samasta sukhino bhavantu. May all beings everywhere be happy and free. May my thoughts, words, and actions contribute to this happiness and freedom for all.

~

author: Michelle Margaret Fajkus

Image: Meredyn/Deviantart

Editor: Catherine Monkman

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Michelle Margaret Fajkus

Michelle Margaret is a heart-centered writer, teacher and creator of Yoga Freedom. She has been a columnist on Elephant Journal since 2010  and has written and self-published several inspiring books. She incorporates yoga, dharma, hatha, yin, mindfulness, chakras, chanting, pranayama and more into her teachings and personal practice.

Join Michelle on retreat this July 20-27 at magical Lake Atitlan in Guatemala!

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