Friday, November 12, 2010

Meditation Tools

This is what I look like when I'm trying to meditate. Do I look calm? Serene? Focused?

Yeah, right!

On the inside, it's a different story. Anyone who has attempted to meditate knows how hard it can be to sit there and calm your mind. I've always tried to focus on my breath, and occasionally a simple mantra. But it doesn't take long for my mind to start spinning into stories... I re-live conversations I've had in the past, thinking of what I should have said. I think about what I'm going to say next time. I think about my grocery list or my overdue library books. You know, all kinds of really annoying stuff that could easily drive a person bananas.

But lately, I've been experimenting with meditating with a mala. I have a gorgeous meditation mala by Tiny Devotions with a turquoise bead meant to enhance communication, healing, and balance. (All things I can use more of in my life right now!) I've been wearing it as a necklace to remind me of my meditation practice during the day as I run errands and do chores. But it's also been a useful guide to help me focus on a mantra (I've been using So Hum) as I sit to meditate. Instead of sitting there restlessly until my kitchen timer beeps at me, I just keep going until I've been around the mala once, twice, or three times (more if I have the time!). And it keeps my mind (and my fingers) just busy enough to allow me to begin to settle by the end of my practice.

Do you use a mala for meditating? What's your mantra? Do you have any other meditation advice?