By Francie Wong
Some people say that they meditate while doing dishes or walking down the street just enjoying being outside and in touch with their breath. I used to do dishes and chant the mantra, “I am grateful”. I remember standing at the sink full of dishes, tears running down my face while saying it over and over again. In my opinion, I was not meditating when I was washing the dishes; I was, however, saying an affirmation while doing an activity that I normally would not enjoy doing and by saying it over and over, it prevented otherwise negative thoughts to pervade my mind. I no longer cry over a sink full of dishes and I get to choose whether I want to be lost in thought, repeat a mantra like “I am grateful” or just do the dishes.
Pretend for a moment that we all have our own seed within us. Anything like a thought, emotion or feeling is not the seed; it is outside of that seed. Meditation is taking time to calm your body and your mind enough to begin watering that seed little by little. As you water the seed, the distance between where the seed ends and where the other begins (thoughts, feelings and emotions) grows. This only comes through stillness.
I would like you to imagine you are watching a drive-in movie. You are sitting in your car and you are watching the large screen with all of the pictures. There is a speaker that you have attached to the door of your car so you can hear the sound, or you can turn the sound down. The pictures and the sounds are your thoughts. When one meditates, the thoughts will not necessarily stop, however. The more you water the seed within you through meditation, the more awareness and choice you have. It is like creating space between the thoughts and your inner-most being.
If you look at emotions and feelings, almost all emotions and feelings can be traced back to a thought that came into your mind or your consciousness. It used to be that I would lie in bed before getting up and already feel completely stressed out before even brushing my teeth. This is because while I was lying there, I was thinking about everything I had to get done, all the unfinished projects, the house and the state of my marriage. All of these thoughts would come through, I would attach to a lot of them. The attachments created emotions and feelings, which in turn created a lot of stress in my body. And I would have barely put my feet into my slippers. If I had to take a wager, I would bet that many people experience this same kind of thing.
Thought is energy. If you think good thoughts, you feel good; you walk through your day with more ease. If you are thinking negative thoughts, then your day is more difficult, there is more stress in your body and it perpetuates itself. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to choose? How does one get to choose whether they will think any thoughts at all, positive or negative? It is through meditation that one gains the muscle to get to choose; positive thoughts, negative thoughts or just being.
My first experience with meditation was in high school, as with many journeys, my road wove in and out of that path as I searched for quality teachers. For me, they were not always easy to find. The funny thing about teachers, is that they are all human. One must decide for themselves whether or not what is being said feels true to them or not.
For the past 7 years, I have deepened my own practice and am now sharing what I have learned and continue to discover with others. For more information on my personal story that includes surviving cancer, please visit my website. I would be more than happy to answer any questions that you have to help you on your way.
Calm Monkey is a portal for tips and tools on meditation as well as spoken word creative visualizations recorded to help people, especially children drift into sleep.
By Francie Wong