Sunday, April 28, 2013

Centering Meditation: Learning to Be Our Own Guide

View While Meditating
Pioneer Park San Diego
By Tania Franco

This weekend I guided a Centering Meditation where the participants choose one thing to focus on: counting their breaths, a word, or a phrase just to name a few examples. I encouraged the group to identify a phrase that represents something they would like to achieve this week related to their activities and goals.

Meditation is not just a time to create relaxation or greater peace of mind, it is also an opportunity to get to know and understand ourselves better. Meditation also allows us to have an uninterrupted access to listening to our inner dialogue. Paying attention to our own worries, interests, realizations can empower us to be more supportive with ourselves and consciously become our own personal guide.

On this note, I asked the group to learn about themselves while paying close attention to the hopes and fears expressed in their self-talk, enjoying the ebb and flow of their chosen focus to their habitual thinking.

I tend to meditate sitting in a half-lotus pose with my eyes closed, yet my lower back felt uncomfortable so I chose to lay down. Once laying down, I felt a desire to have my eyes open. When I opened my eyes I had a clear view of a tree top, the blue sky and moving clouds. It was completely relaxing and centering. While focusing on the view, I counted my breaths while practicing diaphragmatic breathing.

I could feel my body become heavier and loose which are physical signs of relaxation. My mind would wander and return to my breath over and over again. It became a calming pattern. I did not fight the wandering I embraced it and allowed it to be. I kept coming back to my breath comfortably and softly.

Many people tend to approach meditation with rigidity believing that they "must" think or do this or the other in order to meditate, and so it becomes an inner struggle, a blaming and shaming exercise which creates tension and stress.

Meditation is not a set of rigid rules or a compilation of right and wrong. If this is your experience, I won't lie, you have work ahead of you, the first step is to breathe and try to let go of these beliefs little by little. Meditation is a moment of being, allowing, and accepting.

-Tania Franco

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