Find your mind’s “off button”
Have you tried seated meditation and it doesn’t work for you? Don’t worry, you’re not alone.
For years I struggled attempting to sit through many a meditation class. I’d wiggle, pop an eye open, look at my watch, try to focus on my breath — wishing it was over and vowing never to go back.
I thought something was wrong with me until I learned there are many ways to meditate and one is not better than the other. You can mediate any way that works for you! You can sit, move, study or be of service. How do you know what works best for you?? What do you love?
Learn to love your meditation practice. Empty your thoughts and fill your heart with love with this week’s Ageless Movement Practice. Your heart is the seat of wisdom in your body — NOT your mind. It knows what it loves.
As the poet Mary Oliver Says, Allow the soft animal of your body to love what it loves.
Take a few breaths
Inhale and exhale releasing all thoughts. Keep going while focusing on your breath moving in and out of your heart. Feel with each inhalation your heart expand to take in love. With each exhalation feel your heart giving back love.
Stay in this space breathing in love and releasing love back until you’re filled with love and joy. Begin to say “I love you” with each exhalation. From this place of love — read on!
I love I’Haleakala Hew Len’s description of stilling the mind or meditation:
When I experience memories replaying problems, I have choice. I can stay engaged to them or I can petition Divinity to free them up through transmutation, thus restoring my mind to its original state of zero, of void…of being memory free. When I am memory free, I am my Devine Self as Divinity created me in its exact likeness.
When my subconscious is in zero state, it is timeless, boundless, infinite, deathless. When memories dictate, it is stuck in time, place, problems, uncertainty, chaos, thinking, coping, and managing. In allowing memories to rule, I give up clarity of mind, along with my alignment with Divinity. No Alignment, no Inspiration. No Inspiration, no purpose.
Awesome right? So let’s find your mind’s off button so you can align with the divine.
Ways to meditate
Again, thank goodness seated meditation is not the only way to meditate. If it was I’d be in trouble because I can’t meditate that way. My energy moves too fast and my mind only stills with movement. I love to move.
There are many different ways to meditate, still your mind. I’m going to get all yogi on you because it was understanding the four different branches of yoga that taught me the best way to stop the incessant chatter in my head. Continue to read on to find the off button to your brain.
1. Raja Yoga
Raja yoga known as the “Royal Path of Yoga” or the “Eight Step Path” is the path of self-discipline. It contains Yama (attitudes toward our environment), Niyama (attitudes toward ourselves), Asana (physical postures), Pranayama (restraint or expansion of the breath), Pratyahara (withdrawal of the senses), Dharana (concentration), Dhyana (meditation) and Samadhi (complete integration).
A Raja Yogi (male) or Yogini (female) in meditation:
- Creates a positive attitude toward the outer world and the inner world
- Moves their body to release blocked energy
- Breathes fully using their diaphragm
- Controls their desires
- Focuses on the moment
- Stills their mind
- Connects with Source
2. Bhakti Yoga
Bhakti yoga is the path of devotion, emphasizing devotional love for and surrender to God.
By seeing the Divine in everyone and everywhere, Bhakti yoga cultivates acceptance, tolerance, and love for all beings. Bhakti yoga also involves chanting and kirtan (call and response) that evokes feelings of love, connection, and bliss.
A Bhakti Yogi or Yogini in meditation:
- Finds stillness in devoting their lives to their image of God
- Creates alters
- Can practice seated meditation
- May go to church, temple or synagogue
- Joins the choir
- Attends kirtan
- Loves mantra
- Devotes everything to their idea of God
3. Jnana Yoga
Jnana yoga is the path of wisdom and knowledge (Jnana), involving disciplined study of scriptures and constant inquiry into the nature of self. Often called the yoga of the mind, Jnana yoga is well suited for the more intellectually inclined.
A Jnana yogi or Yogini in meditation:
- Reads spiritual texts
- Contemplates information
- Is guided by gaining knowledge from study
4. Karma Yoga
Karma yoga is the path of selfless action, the yoga of doing. Selfless service is the heart of karma yoga. Remaining completely detached from the outcome of their actions, Karma yogis are in continual service for the betterment of all beings with no intention of physical gain.
A Karma Yogi or Yogini in meditation:
- Is found giving service to others
- Often lives in communities like Ashrams
- Loves being a mother, caretaker, social worker, nurse or teacher
What branch of yoga appeals to you?
If you’re practicing seated meditation but you don’t love devoting everything to God you’re not a Bhakti yogi. You’ll be frustrated with your practice.
When you’re a Karmic Yogi and you’re not being of service you’ll feel out of sorts. Service means love to you.
A Jnana Yogi loves to study. If you don’t love to study but feel like you should or because others tell you to — your system will be upset.
If you love self-discipline the Raja path is for you. You work on your attitude, movement, breath, control your desires, focus and connect to Universal Life Force.
Get to know you
Once you know what appeals to you, you’ll know how to practice meditation. It’s that simple.
I know I’m a Raja Yogini, passionately working to create a positive attitude inside of myself and sharing that with others. Movement is essential to me. I have a practice of asanas or poses that I’ve studied or created.
Breath moves me to release pain and tension in order to concentrate on bringing love into myself and out to the world. At the end of my practice I lay still, connecting to Source.
Having a way to unhook the mind is powerful and life giving. I am grateful for this knowledge and to share it with you in this week’s Ageless Movement Practice!
My gift to you:
An Ageless Body Note From Your Mind
Dear Divine One,
I am your mind a powerful tool for you to use to figure things out in this life. Like all tools you need to use me when necessary and put me away when the task is complete. It’s not good to leave me on. I need to rest and recharge.
Turn me off
When you do leave me on I get in the way of you connecting to the Source as I stir things up in your head trying to do my job of figuring things out. I get upset and give you mental instability, headaches, brain trauma, sleepless nights, obsessions and worry. That’s my way of reminding you to turn me off.
When you do turn me off, you connect with the Source to reset and remember that you are divine love. You receive inspiration and I get to rest. When I’m refreshed and recharged I’m ready to handle any task that requires managing, thinking, analyzing, or figuring out.
Please turn me off to be inspired!
I need a good rest now!
Your Mind (via Michelle Andrie)