Modern Meditation

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by Erin Abrams

The season of autumn is soon upon us with its dazzling display of color and crisp mornings.  In Chinese medicine, autumn is associated with the element of Metal, which governs organization, order, communication, the mind, setting limits, and protecting boundaries. It's a good time to finish projects that you began in spring and summer – harvesting the bounty of your hard work. Conversely,  it is a perfect time to begin more introspective, indoor projects, and a great opportunity to introduce a home meditation practice.Fall sets a welcomed environment for coming more inside your body and mind to support the element of this season.

Meditation itself is a broad term that encourages relaxation, more compassion, patience, forgiveness, and generosity in your life. However, the idea of meditation can advert many due to pre-conceived pictures of needing a mountain top overlooking a valley of meadows to meditate over.  Meditation doesn't have to be an hour of sitting with peaceful music piping in and not a cloud of thoughts passing by!  Instead, find your moments of bliss throughout your day.  Recreate a meditation plan that fit into your busy life style. Meditation can easily be a few minutes when you wake up or go to bed, conscious deep breaths while standing in line, driving while saying a mantra, or walking in nature without talking. Intervals of mediation throughout the day, or snip-its of blissfulness, can help add up and foster a more committed meditation practice. 

Modern Day Bliss: 
Mindfulness meditation is not a practice of getting rid of thoughts, but of noticing them, letting them go, and consciously connect to the breath. Wash the days events with your connection to your breath.

Wake Up Meditation - Set your alarm five minutes early to start your day with a short meditation.  Your mind is most quieted first thing and all you have to do is just sit up. Grab your pillows as cushions for an additional comfort and use the breath as a reference point for resting in the present moment. When you notice that you have gotten caught up in a thought, simply recognize that and gently return your attention to the movement of the breath. Simple long deep breaths with a slight pause before each inhale and exhale are the only tools you need to begin. 
Car Meditation - mantra or repeating the same sound can results in  regulating brain-hemisphere imbalances, awakens your heart and promotes feelings of gratitude. Typically they are done in Sanskrit but the English translation can be just as powerful.  Try these next time you are stuck in traffic or on a long drive: 
Om Shanti- universal sound that can promote peace and reduces stress.  If you are feeling spaced out and disconnected, chanting “Om” will help ground you before you start your day.
I am powerful - you are defining your ability to control any situation through your thoughts. You recognize that you are in control of your destiny and are able to see that your gifts. Great mantra before a meeting, job interview, or an exam.
I Love - Every time you exhale, think: love. You will start to realize that the things you love pop into your head as you repeat it. Try this if you are feeling down, impatient or defensive.
I Exist -  Helps harness your ability to identify your self-existence. By repeating these words, you are becoming present in the current moment. This helps to practice being non-judgmental toward yourself and empowers you to embark on your busy day.
Standing-in-Line Meditation - Find a stance with both feet beneath your hip bones.  Inhale and exhale for an equal length.  Inhale through the nose for five counts and exhale through the nose for five counts. Feel free to change the length of the breath to a shorter or longer count. By practicing this meditation, you are sure to greet strangers with a smile and create a karmic reaction.
Walking Meditation: This is a great meditation to promote gratitude as Mother Nature humbles us with her beauty, especially in autumn.  Walking meditation involves paying attention tothe feeling of your body walking, the feeling of your breath, the sensations of air or wind on your skin, what you can hear, and what you can see.  Take in the impressive beauty in everything with all senses.
Couch Meditation - When you plop on the couch at the end of a busy day and before you turn on the TV, sit for a few minutes with your eyes closed and breath consciously deepened. Release your day and sink into not thinking.

Just taking a few minutes a day can reset your outlook...taking a few meditation breaks throughout the day compiles clarity and balance.