By Dr. Gwen Smith

 I once heard a beloved friend of mine condemn meditation as though it were something evil. I asked her if she had ever done it before and her response was no. At that point, I had never done it either however, I was contemplating starting. I’ve never gone to meditation school, if there’s such a thing, and neither have I been trained in what to do. However, there are some things I discovered for myself that have really made a huge impact on my sanity and my ability to be calm in extremely trying circumstances. I am sharing my experiences with you to hopefully inspire you to try your own version.

 I don’t know what meditation means for you. However, for me, it is an activity I really enjoy; it means a lot for me in terms of the general flow of my day and literally how relaxed my body feels during the day. I used to feel very tense as if I am on a treadmill every moment racing to get to the next activity. Not anymore!

 When I did some research, I found that there were different types of meditation that different groups of people do. I wasn’t interested in humming some sound that I had no understanding of the meaning of, and felt a bit guarded about using some music having read about the undertones that music can carry and how it could impact my mind. So, I just thought that I would get my own music and do my own version of what I believed it should be to see the results that I would get. My first experience left me in such a state of calmness, quietude, peace and ecstasy that I really wanted more. I’ve found that I can also reduce my blood pressure most of the times by using this method.

 Scientific studies have now confirmed that there are many benefits to meditation, some of which include stress relief, calmness, memory enhancements, reduction in high blood pressure and more. Simplicity and peacefulness is the best state for me, and I tune in to music that is calm and relaxing (called calm and meditation music), which includes instrumental music. I like to do this in the morning when I just wake up and sometimes at nights just before I sleep. I’ve noticed a distinct difference in the quality of my sleep when I do mediate just before sleeping. I definitely feel more rested and refreshed as I wake up in the mornings.

With the music in place and a quiet environment, I lie on my back (most often) or sit in a relaxed, reclined position (less often). I let my limbs go really limp, totally and completely relaxed as I listen to the music. I relax my brain (let the tension dissipate between my ears). Then I relax my eye muscles with my eyes gently closed. I listen to the music. I then start taking deep breaths, slowly counting in five while expanding my diaphragm and then exhaling until I empty my lungs. I find that as I get more relaxed it is harder for me to keep the breathing as deliberate without having to focus on it.  Focusing on it breaks the connection to the deep state that I like to get to. So I stop focusing on my breathing as I feel my entire body relax. My breathing becomes almost still and deep as I relax further.

During meditation, I use creative visualization. I visualize an extremely bright light beaming on my forehead, and I focus my eyes there. This act seems to lift me up to a higher plane. I almost feel myself elevating to a brighter more positive place, a higher plane. It is enchanting. I feel a connection to the Divine in this place. Then as my music continues to play softly, I feel as though surges of electricity are running up and down my entire body followed by chills and tears. I continue to feel even closer to God and at this point I begin to pray. My prayer is uplifting, rejuvenating and feels heard. It consumes my entire consciousness, and I become totally in tune with the impulses from the Divine. I feel closely connected and in communication. I feel comforted and loved. I feel blissful and blessed. I thank God for His goodness and mercies. I thank Him for my life and my experiences that shape me, for my children and family, for all the loving people and experiences that I enjoy in my life. Gratitude opens up the channels of more abundance to flow. It is a peaceful place.

When I arise from this state, I truly am unmovable. I am centered, I am at ease, and the sun just shines so much brighter in the sky. Cloudy days or snowy days, all I see is beauty around me, and I rejoice to be a part of it. The best part is that I radiate that calm to others around me and their comments to me about it inspire me to continue!  I love making a difference for others around me, even by just being. I invite you to try this experience and to share what opens up for you!

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