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How to Make Meditation a Part of Your Life

Finding peace.

“Meditate Schmeditate,” my mother-in-law, Dora, once told her son, my husband, Mark, as she set out to Long Beach one summer day to find a quiet bench on the boardwalk for her twice-daily meditation practice. From that day on, every time Mark sat down to meditate, he said to me, “I’m going to meditate-schmeditate,” and we both laughed about it.

Twenty minutes a day, twice a day for over thirty years. Mark rarely failed to make time for his meditation practice. When he was a teacher in the New York public schools, he would wake up 45 minutes early to meditate, then shower, shave, get dressed, make coffee and a peanut butter sandwich (for the energy he needed in his high-stress – very hectic – life). school principal job), then she packs herself an apple, some clementines and some almonds. He then got into his car to drive to East New York, Brooklyn. In my eyes, Mark was a true enlightened warrior.

Mark studied at TM in Manhattan in the early 1970s. Once, when I asked him what meditation meant to him, he said something like, “It helps me focus on meditation, it calms my mind. It helps me relieve stress. It helps me find solutions to problems. I do more.”

I often noticed that he seemed happier and more relaxed when he finished his daily meditations. I’m amazed that you stuck with him day in and day out.

When I asked him if meditation meant turning off his thoughts, he said, “No, on the contrary, it’s just noticing my thoughts and letting them go while I focus on a mantra.” A mantra is a syllable or sound, keep your mind from wandering to list-making and away from the busyness of the day ahead.

Meditation has become a bit of a buzzword. In a recent interview at the 92nd Street Y, Ariana Huffington talked about the many CEOs who meditate, most famously Steve Jobs.

MRI studies have shown that Tibetan Buddhist monks who meditate daily and for long periods of time have increased gamma wave activity in their brains, which helps with a number of cognitive functions, including increased compassion, better memory and test-taking abilities. In short, gamma brain waves are what get you “in the zone.”

It also has health benefits. Science has shown that meditation can reduce stress, reduce cortisol levels, adrenaline production, and thereby lower blood pressure.

In a recent New York Times article The road The Manhattan Meditation Center focuses on networking fashion and tech millennials through meditation. According to the article, many post-meditation deals were made and jobs were also found. “Drybar” style meditation centers are popping up in Los Angeles.

If you ask me, meeting your true love or business partner through meditation is more promising than over cocktails at the latest trendy bar. At least you know that person is in the moment.

Additionally, another paper showed that meditation can help students increase their scores on major tests such as the SAT and ACT exams.

It seems like Mark was really on to something all those years ago. Meditation has served him well throughout his life, he has worked in very difficult situations in the school system, and when he lost his battle with cancer, meditation helped him stay centered and non-complaining, even though I know he just wanted to scream.

It was because of Mark that I started my thirty-year journey towards yoga and meditation. As a high-energy, active, and physically demanding person, I found that in order to meditate, I needed to do a little yoga or dance in the living room, go for a walk, or simply move around in sitting circles to freshen up and let go of the excess. energy. Then I could sit and enjoy the silence. I am grateful to Mark for starting me on my yoga journey. He used to say, “I have great instincts. I grew up on the streets of Brooklyn, which taught me a lot about people.” And I appreciate you sharing it with me.

Being a social person, my favorite way to meditate is in a group with my fellow yogis, and that’s where the practice really unfolds for me.

But this home alone will be something else. To do the exercise is to commit to grace for a few minutes every day. Even just for 5 minutes to let my busy monkey mind rest. Productivity increases when I rest my mind and body.

For those looking to give meditation a whirl, there are many places worth checking out. You can try many different types of meditation on YouTube.com to practice in your living room.

Do your best not to judge yourself. According to meditation teacher and American Buddhist teacher Jack Kornfeld, it takes many lifetimes to master meditation, so why not enjoy it? There is no right way to do this. Just sit back and it will unfold.

A good place to get free training and an introduction to meditation is the UCLA Mindfulness Awareness Research Center, marc.ucla.edu and look for the Free Guided Meditations link. Or search iTunes for both free and paid meditations.

There are also many APPS available to help you learn.

Although when I think about it, the whole concept is a bit of an oxymoron. Meditation application. It’s like the old “jumbo shrimp”. The idea is to reduce the noise in your head. If you can do that without checking your text messages and not bothering your phone, here are some apps you can try, some free and some that charge a fee:

Breathe2Relax helps you practice working with your breath,

Buddhify 2 short-long meditations and information,

Omvana offers music, talks, guided meditations and more. Search the APP store to see what’s available, read reviews, try a few different types of meditation.

I’ve had great success with the yoga nidra meditations I listen to on YouTube.com Google: yoga nidra and its many variations appear

Yoganidra was one of the building blocks of getting me back on my feet after losing my beloved husband Mark to cancer. Grief can be overwhelming. Yoga nidra makes me feel good.

One thing I know for sure, meditation is neither strange nor complicated. It can be as simple as finding a quiet place, closing our eyes, and telling our minds to follow the breath. I tell myself “breathe in, breathe out” until I don’t have to, I just follow.

My best suggestion is to find a meditation center or yoga studio that offers meditation practices.

Some, like Yoga Nanda in Garden City, NY, offer a free community meditation every week.

Or just find that soothing spot by simply doing what Mark always does: put on a comfy hoodie and sit wherever you are.

Follow your breath and relax your mind.

Notice your thoughts as they roll by and let them go.

Follow the breath for 5 minutes or more. Meet your peaceful self.

Go find that relaxing place, I bet you’ll be glad you did.

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