Meditation, Self-Acceptance & the Muse
Meditation presents an interesting paradox. It requires humility and acceptance, and yet it results in self-empowerment and increased confidence.
Low self-esteem, which affects and can cripple many creative artists, leads us to believe that we're not worth much, and therefore our ideas (our songs) probably aren't either. This low self-esteem is a distant cousin to humility. Humility involves accepting ourselves for who we are, which includes our limitations.
So, our goal is to humbly seek answers from within (meditation) and from above (prayer). Even more important is to accept the answers we receive. Accepting them, even if we don't like, or are surprised by what we hear, can enrich our lives with peace and contentment. The answers may also hold lots of wonderful ideas for our creative endeavors.
Artists sometimes have the experience of music, words, or other ideas, coming to them from "out of nowhere". Where is this "nowhere" and how can we go in there after all of those great ideas??
How do we get from the point of damaging low self-esteem (giving a microphone and stage to our inner critics and then beating ourselves over the head about what we're hearing), to genuine humility, meditation, self-acceptance and creative bounty?
Here are some suggestions:
1. Practice gratitude ? When you're so busy being grateful for all the things you have (your health, your mobility, a few bucks in your pocket, food & shelter, friends & family) and that you're good at (face it, there's only a small percentage of the population with musical gifts and even less who are doing anything with them!), your inner critic won't stand a chance! A great practice (which even Oprah Winfrey is known to promote) is a daily list of things you're grateful for.
2. Meditation - There are countless books, tapes, videos and classes that teach people how to meditate. Here are some basic tips and I encourage you to explore further.
a. Ask a question ? If you're busy struggling to figure something out (how those two lines are going to go together, what chord structure to use for the bridge, or how you're going to make rent this month), try letting go of the struggle and simply letting the question of what to do "hang out" for a while. Ask it, and then sit quietly and see what answers pop into your head. You can also try writing it on a piece of paper and putting it under your pillow.
b. Toning ? Toning is a way to use your singing voice to achieve extraordinary calm, connection to spirit, connection to others and physical relaxation. Take a deep breath, filling your diaphragm and then your lungs. On exhalation, choose a vowel, pitch and volume that feel comfortable and effortless, and sing a steady tone until you're ready to take a new breath. For more ideas on using music as a tool of spiritual connection and creativity, I highly recommend the book Essential Musical Intelligence by Dr. Louise Montello.
c. Rest your gaze ? Find something that you find soothing to look at. Some people use a landscape picture, a burning candle, a spot on the wall, a flower-it really can be anything. Focus on the object and gaze at it deeply, letting thoughts come and go and staying present in the moment.
d. Journal ? Write your question at the top of a piece of paper, or on your computer, and answer the question in a stream of consciousness style.
e. Walking Meditation ? Pose your question to yourself at the beginning of your walk. While outdoors, become very present in the moment and notice the things around you. When thoughts and answers flow in to your mind, notice them and then bring your attention back to everything you're seeing.
f. More Meditation Tips - If you find yourself analyzing or "figuring things out" during the meditation process, gently let go of that and ask the question again. Don't judge any of your ideas or answers-simply collect them.
3. Prayer ? prayer allows us to humbly acknowledge that there is a life force bigger than ourselves. Many of the artists I spoke to for my book, "The Creativity Interviews" (http://www.genuinecoaching.com/creativity-interviews.html), spoke of being a channel for something bigger-that their creative works were simply a communication from spirit, and that their job was simply to express it. That IS a humbling thought!
I hope this article will help you to find inspiration, while letting go of the struggle to find it. I also hope that writing a gratitude list, at least once, will help you to connect with your gifts, strengths and abundance.
This article was originally published on the Muses Muse Songwriter's Resource website (October 2004) http://www.musesmuse.com.
(c) Copyright 2005, Genuine Coaching Services.
Linda Dessau, the Self-Care Coach, helps artists enhance their creativity by addressing their unique self-care issues. To receive her free monthly newsletter, "Everyday Artist", subscribe at http://www.genuinecoaching.com/artist-newsletter.html
Yoga Meditation For Pain Relief
The purpose of this article is to provide information on methods and techniques on how to cope with pain, or in some instances, possibly even overcoming pain with the use of techniques derived from Yoga meditation.
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A One Minute Meditation
Maybe learning to meditate intimidates you, and in any case it's tough to find the time for daily meditation. The solution to both problems is an easy meditation you can learn right now, that will only take a minute to do each day.
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"We become sick because we act In sickening ways." Louis Jourard
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Can a meditation supply item help you go into a deeper state of inner awareness? If you choose the right item, there is a good chance that it can help you get more comfortable and allow you to become more relaxed.
Enlightenment through Meditation
Helping the broadest range of people attain enlightenment through meditation is my lifelong preoccupation. I have more than 20 years of daily interaction with people helping them meditate and encouraging them to set high goals and use meditation as a tool for attaining inspiration, precious insights, enlightenment and other benefits that come along with it. In order to practice meditation, you need a pleasant quiet place where nobody is going to disturb you. Once you are comfortably seated, you can start with pranayama (rhythmic breathing exercise), followed by pratyahara (withdrawal of the senses from the outer world), thorough relaxation of the mind and senses, and finally relaxation of the physical body. By breathing rhythmically ? inhaling, holding the breath, and exhaling while following a simple pattern (4-16-8, for instance) ? you will accumulate prana, revitalize your life force, and new spiritual strength will come to you. During the pratyahara you will play the role of a neutral observer of your thoughts, with the ultimate aim of achieving a state of consciousness without any thoughts. In this way, the objective possibility of reaching the most inner part of your Being ? God in you ? is realized. This means that you can now start feeling the warmth in your heart, see the light which is present there, and experience the subtle energy of Divine love. Furthermore, you can become aware of the harmony of mind, heart, and will. Your devotion and relaxation can lead you into deeper levels of consciousness, into deeper meditation. You can turn your senses inward to further increase you awareness. Your meditation will start realizing its goals. This is the level of devotion where you can actually contact the source of inspiration, gain countless insights, and approach the possibility of enlightening your Being. It is the harmony of your mind, heart, and will, that brings you into Unity with the One. When you learn to be quiescent, when there are no thoughts and aspirations of any kind, you will find yourself out of your mental body, out of limitations, free in the consciousness of Unity. Only when your intentions diminish, when your mind becomes unoccupied, the enlightenment will start to show its magnificence. The sustained flow of attention will connect you to the endless reservoir of power, the source of knowledge and inspiration. When meditation occurs, love is its flavor. This love is your true nature. When the consciousness starts perceiving itself, it becomes pure consciousness. What resides is only the voiceless spirit of awareness whose meaning is I AM, I EXIST, I ENDURE. You should meditate every single day, if necessary two times a day. If some day you find yourself distressed, a simple exercise can help you. Light a candle and put it some 30 cm away, at the level of your eyes. Simply by gazing at the blue part of the candle's flame for 5 minutes, you can relax yourself. Your positive attitude, faith, calmness, and serenity can help. You should consciously develop love toward your meditation and meditativeness. The results will be in accord with your efforts, persistence and fortitude. There is not a single individual who can not succeed. There are only different kinds of obstacles with different people. Don't forget to consult your spiritual teacher, who is there to help you overcome your obstacles.
You Can Meditate Right Now
Why Should You Meditate?
Druids and Meditation
It's pretty obvious that the ancient Druids used several forms of meditation. That the Druids were able to still and control their minds is unquestioned, but the techniques they used have apparently been lost to the ravages of time and the lack of written records.
Establishing A Daily Meditation Practice
It's important to establish a daily practice and then stick to it. This doesn't mean dedicating 12 hours a day to meditation, it just means creating a space in your home where you can take a few minutes and meditate and do the exercises. I advise people to start with some of the basic exercises and devote 10 -20 minutes a day as they develop their physical and mental abilities. Many people quite simply overload themselves and expect too much too soon, then get discouraged when they don't see the results they thought they should see.
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When you are unhappy what do you do? Do you go out for a meal? Go to the cinema? The theatre, perhaps? Do you go shopping? Perhaps you like a drink to overcome your unhappiness. Or do you get a buzz from jogging or going to the gym?
Full Body Awareness
Now that you're comfortable working with your breath it's time to bring the rest of the body in. Continue breathing as I've outlined in my article on Breathing. Now in addition to feeling your breath flow and your stomach and ribs expand, I want you to feel the energy that flows into your body with each breath. For me it feels like a lightness, or a very light feeling. It may feel different for you so take some time here and just open up and feel the energy.
Meditating - Staying Awake
Why is staying awake while meditating important? Falling asleep is certainly relaxing, and can be good for you, but to get the full range of benefits from your meditation you need to have your brainwaves in the alpha and theta ranges. When you are asleep, your brainwaves range from theta to delta. Meditation should be a state of relaxed alertness (primarily alpha brainwaves). Try the following tips to stay awake.
Mastery Through Meditation
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Muraqaba- The Sufi Meditation By Sufi-Master Khwaja Shamsuddin Azeemi
When we try to learn a new skill or try to gain knowledge about a specific subject, we follow a guideline or a system, which demands that we pay attention to the subject to fully understand it. Our mind becomes curious to know the where, how and what of it. When we pay attention to the minor details, that minor point itself gains value. However, when we ignore the most important part and do not pay any cognitive attention to it then even that major point loses its value and importance. Through contemplation we gain knowledge about any object and the deeper that knowledge, the more we learn about that object and its qualities.
Basic Meditation Exercises
(Authors Note: Before reading this you should see my other articles on Breathing and Full Body Awareness)
How To Meditate Without Even Trying
I remember when I started trying to meditate. I would sit down, close my eyes, and try to be really calm (my definition of meditation at the time). That was hard: my head would burst with ideas, thoughts, solutions, problems? I would become agitated, and stopped generally after ten long minutes, if not less. It's during my short "meditations" that I felt less? meditative.
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