From my experiences with mental illness, I find that I have gone through stages from severe illness to recovering to a healthier mental state. While I am serious about my recovery and the practices that have helped me, I did not know exactly what to do from the start of my journey – I had to experiment with several practices to find what works best for me. I will say that everyone can benefit from a form of meditation, but knowing where to start can be overwhelming. The Westernized idea of mindfulness and meditation has developed many forms that can lead a person astray.
Because there are so many forms of meditation to consider, I would like to highlight a few of them. There are more than I can discuss today, so for space purpose, I am selecting a few that I have used and appreciate. My first experience with meditation was a relaxation CD that was given to my by my therapist at that time. She first introduced it to me as a way to relax enough to feel comfortable during our therapy sessions, and I began listening to it every night at bedtime. This particular relaxation CD helped me to unwind from the day’s stress and wake up without those burdens to start my day.
One thing that I like about relaxation meditation is that it starts by allowing me to follow my breath for a while and then it involves me in tightening ang loosening my muscles, one section at a time, to induce an even deeper relaxation. Some relaxation meditation methods will then focus on imagery or a word or phrase to allow your mind to be stilled on that thing – causing quietness for a short period of time – which helps to combat excessive thoughts and mind chatter.
My second experience with mindfulness and meditation was from an excerpt out of a magazine that I was reading. It was actually an add for morning orange juice; it highlighted different ways to start the morning off with success. My favorite method from this add was to keep the mind still and quiet for 12 minutes first thing in the morning before I even got out of bed. I timed 12 minutes and pushed all thoughts away and kept the chatter of my mind back for that time, and I could not believe the results! This method, though only 12 minutes long, was responsible for maintaining a calm and quite head all day! I used this method for many years, and enjoyed the rich benefits of it.
A few years later, I discovered an app called Stop Breath Think that helped me with daily meditation; the app had a variety of mediations to choose from for various needs. I used the app for many years off and on and found a few that were my favorite go to for meditation time. Sadly, the app is no longer available, but there are others like it, such as Calm. I have also used apps to reset Chakras with Chakra meditation music, for short periods of time.
The best thing that has happened to me concerning my mental healing has been discovering the great Yogi behind The Isha Foundation, Sadhguru. He is full of wisdom about the human body and mind, and his teachings are rich with life enhancing resources that are useful in today’s world. I like his Daily Wisdom and his guided meditations very much, but he also has an app called Sadhguru which offers yoga for better days and short guided meditations. He also offers Isha Kriya for free in the app; you can sign up for his Inner Engendering online within the app, as well. There are other programs offered through his Institute, so please check him out!
I have begun a new form of meditation that I am excited about; I am learning about Tibetan Meditation Bowls, or Singing Bowls. I purchased a beginner bowl and a book for beginners to learn about them. It is a very rewarding form of meditation, and I have quickly picked up the skill to make the bowl sing! The sensation within as the vibrations move through my body is really relaxing and healing. One thing that I have learned is to allow the bowl to sing until I can not distinguish between me or the vibrating sound – it really penetrates and becomes a part of you. This practice is calming and soothing. Now I am so excited with my new skill that my plans are to purchase crystal bowls in the whole range to heal all of the Chakras. I also have found a beginner book about Chakra healing.
This is a small sample of the many forms of mindfulness and meditation that are now being practiced worldwide, so I hope that I have encouraged others to give meditation a try. A good point to consider about starting the practice for the first time is to stick with the new form of meditation chosen for a while before moving on to another method; this will give you a chance to really see just how the practice is affecting your healing journey. Meditation is highly recommended to bring balance to the mind and healing to the emotional state, so I hope that others will give it a try if they have never meditated before!