Friday, September 5, 2014

Fresh Start Meditation

If you’ve been reading the blog for a while, you know I have been trying to work meditation into my daily spiritual practice for a couple of years now. When I first started, the hardest thing for me was silencing my thoughts. My mind races at 100 mph at all times. I always found prayer to be easier because I’m actually articulating sentences (albeit silently). When meditating, I would get into lotus pose, close my eyes and promptly start thinking about everything from my grocery list to who pissed me off that day. I felt defeated a lot of the time and certainly didn’t feel relaxed.

When I started doing yoga, that helped a lot. I would concentrate so hard on getting the moves right, I had to zone out my constant, extraneous mental dialogue. By the time class ended and we got to shavasana (corpse pose), my mind was totally silent. I could lay there and zone out for 10 minutes. Afterward, I felt so refreshed. In an effort to hold onto that, I incorporated more yoga into my week. I also started doing guided meditations using various mantras. Voila! Mental silence…and on the off occasion I can't get silent, I let the thoughts come but don't focus on them. I also make sure I have a mantra/positive affirmation to recite.

Because guided meditations worked so well for me, I am always trying to find new ones. I just finished Oprah and Deepak’s Expanding You Happiness 21-Day Meditation Experience (I’ve done all of the other 21-day series as well). Once the series are over however, I tend to get lazy and trade meditation for a little extra sleep in the morning. I’m determined not to let that happen this time.
In searching for something new, I happened upon Gabby Bernstein’s “Fresh Start” (or the “Liberation Kriya”) meditation.  It spans 40 days and requires 9 minutes a day. It seems doable for me considering the Oprah/Deepak meditations average about 20 minutes (some for the explanation of the day’s topic and some for actual meditation). If you’re interested in joining me, here are the instructions (video and written):

The suggested commitment is 9 minutes a day for 40 days.
Raise your right arm up and cross your thumb over your fist.
Project your index finger upward.
Do the same thing with your left hand.
Your arms become an arrow.
Close your eyes and breathe long and deep.
After 3 minutes change the mudra by releasing the pinkie finger and continue meditating for the next 3 minutes.
After 6 minutes you will release all your fingers and lift your heart up.
After 9 minutes inhale deeply and exhale completely.
Then let your hands come down and rest.
Do not go past 9 minutes. If you cannot do the full 9 minutes you can work up to it.
It is suggested that you practice this meditation for 40 days to create a new habit. If you skip a day, begin again. This meditation benefits every area of your life.
Enjoy the renewal and liberation.
Now, I know some of this is too hippy-dippy-crunchy-granola for some of you. And that’s ok. I used to feel the same way. Then I tried it and it added a new level of balance and peace to my life. My mood is even and I’m able to find a slice of calm in almost any situation. It gets me focused for the day and helps me sleep better at night. So, here’s to a fresh start/reset/liberation.

If you’re doing it with me, let me know how it’s going. I’ll be sharing my thoughts as I go through the process. Ok…I feel like I should say Namaste or Peace be with you but that’s not me loves. Instead I’ll say Happy Friday and get peace however you can.


Aileen Xu said...

I just finished doing this meditation yesterday - I found it from Gabrielle as well! I wonder how you're doing in your journey through this meditation, and I wonder if you're learning the same lessons as I am or if individuals have unique experiences through this.

In the beginning, it was physically demanding and I had to focus on being patient and persevering through it all. Toward the end, I became more calm and stronger - I realized it was about being strong throughout the form and being active instead of passive. There were other thoughts and lessons that I got from this meditation - now that I just finished, I'm not sure what to do about it or where I should go from here, hence why I'm searching the web for other participants. All in all it was a great experience :)

Maybe I will try out the Oprah meditations that you mentioned. Wishing you the best!

If you're interested, I wrote a blog post on some lessons learned at the halfway point of my Liberation Kriya:

A Curated Life said...

Hi Aileen. I started the liberation kriya 30 days ago but like you, I missed a few days and had to restart. I did a mini update about a week in when I was still focused on how painful it was. Getting past the physical pain and the frustration of starting over has gotten me to a new level. I'm starting to see this is as much about learning to keep a commitment to myself as it is about pushing towards a goal. Something finally clicked and I understood the least as it applies to me: I harness the power I need to reach my goals. I just have to believe in myself and my strength and stay the course. I read your post too. Inspiring! Hopefully or experiences will inspire others to try this. Best of luck in your continuing mediation journey.

Aileen Xu said...

I love that! I totally agree. After doing this meditation, I feel stronger and more capable of reaching my goals. Thanks for the reply. Best of luck to you too!