Meditation.  To many people that is a scary word.  To some, it is scary because they can't imagine calming the chatter in their minds.  To others, it is almost blasphemous.

I have a young friend that is a senior in high school and lives in North Carolina.  He was having a bad day one day, and I inquired if he had ever tried meditation.  He said no, because people had told him he shouldn't do it.  When I asked why, he gave the very vague reply that it was "against God or something".

I can assure you that many people that believe in God meditate.  Many people that don't believe in God meditate.  Meditating doesn't have to have anything to do with religion, but for me it is a deeply spiritual practice.  I find that when I meditate I can more clearly hear and follow my internal wisdom, or what I consider to be God's plan for me.

There are a thousand different ways to meditate.  A simple way to start is to find a quiet place to sit or lie down comfortably.  Start focusing on your breath.  Follow the inhalation, feeling the air go through your nose all the way down to your stomach.  Now follow the exhalation the other direction.  Breathe normally, and just stay focused on the inhalation and exhalation.

You don't have to be able to completely shut your mind off to everything.  That is the goal, but it takes practice.  Your mind can only truly focus on one thing at a time, so if you are paying enough attention to your breathing, you won't be able to focus on much else.  If a thought comes to you, or you start replaying your day over in your mind, don't beat yourself up.  Just gently release the thought and go back to focusing on your breath. 

Most of us have the answers to our questions or problems inside of us, but our lives are filled with so much white noise that we can't access it.  By taking a few minutes each day to connect with ourselves, God, a higher power, or whatever you choose to call it, you are becoming more in tune with the knowledge that we all inherently possess.  Meditation is not something to be intimidated by, or afraid of. It is the simple act of quieting your mind to let your internal wisdom shine through.

Meditation in a New York Minute - Mark Thornton


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