A Look at Meditation
I've counseled many people from every background and led
workshops and lectures about self-empowering topics for
about 25 years. Over that time, I saw a need. Everyone was
searching. What they were looking for was unclear, many
times. But the search was on. While I could meet many of
their immediate needs, through counseling, they still needed
a source, or connection with who they really were.
This was not a religious pursuit, per se, but a spiritual
one. We all need to know our inner self. And the best way
for us to get there is through meditation: a quiet time of
some sort---contemplation. So out of that need, I saw an
answer. Spreading information about basic meditation became
Almost all of the information I received about meditation
over the years was through personal experience—trial and
error. I did not read any books on the subject. They all
seemed too deep and philosophical. And many times, the books included a whole cultural exploration. This is good for
someone looking into historical information, or perhaps a
religious belief. But just to know the basics of what
meditation is and how to do it, there wasn't anything.
I've been able to connect very well with the groups I've
spoken to because I've been in their shoes. I had first hand
experience looking for my own inner self. And so, the column
you see here will explore for you, the personal experiences
of the proverbial searcher.
I had just graduated from high school, and was looking for
some kind of personal project for the summer. Since I lived
in a very small town, and it was in the 1960's, I was very
surprised to find a yoga class being offered at the nearby
middle school. I was always open for the new and different,
and this fit the bill.
I joined the class as soon as I could and found myself in
some very strange positions. But there was one position that
I kept going back to. It was sitting cross-legged with my
hands resting on my knees, palms up. It immediately made me
sit straight, and my spine was relaxed.
While practicing this position at home, a strange thing
happened. I began to feel unusual. There wasn't any way I
could describe it. But it was a kind of light-headed
feeling---almost like dropping off to sleep—--but I was
I asked the instructor about it on the very next session.
She assured me it was fine. But I had my reservations. So I
stopped. I didn't go back to the class. And I didn't
continue with the yoga practice.
I found out much later that I was beginning meditation. The
instructor must have been concerned about giving too much
information about yoga philosophy and the spiritual
traditions of Eastern India.
Our community was extremely slow about accepting new ideas. She was probably reluctant to introduce something new that could cause problems. So the yoga positions were only taught as an exercise.
I imagine many new or different ideas were stifled in the
beginning. Some hesitate to share information for fear of
being rejected or ostracized. And some of us hesitate to
look at new information because we're afraid of rocking the
As you explore the concept of meditation, you will learn
about the varied benefits that can be brought about by
meditation, including health, emotional release, and self-
empowerment. You will realize that meditation is about ease.
Moving one step at a time.
The Purpose of Meditation
Meditation is a way to connect with the inner self, or what
some believe is the Divine Spark of God that we all are. It
is to become quiet: to allow all outside disturbances to
fade away, to be comfortable with the quiet. That quiet, or
silence, which is allowed in, can calm the mind, restore the
body, and define a spiritual path.
Let's take this opportunity to try a sample meditation on for size. Remember that this is a sample. It gives us the chance to practice. And in practicing, we learn.
Bringing In A Quiet Moment
Take a moment out of your busy day. Go for a five-minute
walk by yourself. Pay attention to the sound of your
footsteps. Let it become even with your heartbeat. When this
rhythm within you overrides the sounds of the day, take a
deep cleansing breath. Look at the sky. Watch the clouds.
Just enjoy the moment. This is the skill of meditation. It
is nothing harder than that: just taking a moment, and
relaxing into it. Allow your mind to relax into it.
This is just a very quick way for everyone to get some idea
of what meditation is like. There are plenty of different
types of meditations, as many as there are people. It
requires a few undisturbed minutes, dedication and a desire.
It will open up a whole new world for you. Just give it a
Copyright 2003, Melissa Leath
About the Author
Rev. Melissa Leath is a personal growth and metaphysical counselor and meditation instructor. She is author of "Meditation, Plain and Simple Workbook," and "The Go-Between: Bridging the Gap." For more information about the ease of meditation visit her website: http://www.MeditationMadeEasy.com For a FREE Spiritual Newsletter go to http://www.123-spiritual-growth.com