Sometimes when we most need to get to the meditative or mindful state… it can be hardest to get there.
For many people, being a bit energized.. with our thoughts going quickly, many ideas, drawn to many things… sounds are more profound, colors are brighter, smells and tastes are richer… is such a time.
There is good news. We have learned from our clients that during such an energized state just a couple of minutes touching briefly down in this quiet state can change a day, or even a week, for the better.
Approach the experience without expectations. Just the effort is enough… accept that perhaps there is no effort needed… maybe it is the effort that is driving you away from mindfulness and acceptance.
A guide is very helpful. By using one of the links below to buy an MP3 (audio file) and by listening to it right now you might have the experience of a small, but possibly meaningful, increase in calm.
These are links to meditation guides that others have found helpful, but there are so many resources online that you may want to try a few, or even go to Amazon.com or iTunes and search for “meditation” or “mindfulness.”
Mindfulness for Young Children – Amy Saltzman has created a wonderful album that you could share with your rambunctious kids to help them experience that calm… or, if you are willing to try something a bit silly… you might find that when you are feeling like a rambunctious kid these tracks are particularly good ways to have a mindfulness experience… because they are each about five minutes long… so you don’t need to have particularly good concentration or focus.
Adyashanti’s True Meditation does require more of a time commitment, but it is a way into meditative states that doesn’t ask you to do something “special.” We like the constant reiteration of the fact that “trying” is the problem when it comes to meditation.
If you can’t sit still, you might want to check out this introduction to the idea of walking meditation. This short track, The Practice of Walking Meditation, is from a longer album that alternates between the voices of Andrew Weil and Jon Kabat-Zinn. You might want to buy this album (Meditation for Optimum) as a sampler of two of the people who have been most active in bringing Eastern healing practices to Western medicine.
The rest of the resources are more for a time when you are not feeling energized…
Jon Kabat-Zinn has written many, many books and has several albums of guided meditation practice, but our favorite has always been Mindfulness Meditation for Pain Relief. If you do struggle with physical pain this is a great place to start, and even if you don’t, if you can imagine “depression” is a form of pain it might be a good resource. Unfortunately, his albums all require a considerable time commitment (the shortest tracks are about 15 minutes)
There is no way of getting access to the audio tracks from his book on A Mindful Way through Depression without buying the book and then going to the CD at the back of the book and playing it. If you do buy the book, one tip is that the outline of the 8 week program is at the back of the book… you might want to flip to that chapter and then go back to reading through the first part, which is an interesting discussion about how mindfulness practices can help with depression.
Mindfulness Meditation and Stress Reduction for Beginners: The Garden of NOW by Derek Turesky is not for someone who has trouble with mindfulness because of a feeling that the practice is “flaky.” His tracks sometimes sound like the stereotype of a “new age” therapist. But if you can get over that, this is a good resource that covers all the essential practices related to mindful awareness.
Mindful Solutions for Stress, Anxiety, and Depression by Elisha Goldstein also sounds this way at times, but his approach is a bit more cheerful, and less deliberately neutral than Derek’s. Try one of each and choose the approach that fits the best for you.
By the way, we encourage you to use the “preview” function before buying any of these albums. Choosing a guide is a bit like choosing a spouse, there are no “right” or “wrong” answers, but you definitely don’t want to end up with someone whose personality or voice drives you crazy…