I am again practicing meditation. By the way, "practicing meditation" is a very accurate use of words. Meditation is a process, a skill that requires effort to improve. However, it is not as insurmountable and difficult as many people believe. More on that topic later.
I've been meditating, and using creative visualization techniques, off and on for almost 20 years. I find, without a doubt, that it helps me focus. In a task-oriented way, I stay on topic better. In a mental, self-talk kind of way, I find it helps calm the constant distractions. I can always tell that I would be helped by meditating when a song keeps repeating over and over in my head. It drives me a little bonkers. I try to put it out of my mind, but it keeps coming back. A few sessions of meditating and my internal singer, I mean dialog, is slowed down.
Lately, I've become interested in Transcendental Meditation. Apparently, there is supposed to be a trademark symbol after those two words. In my research, I learned that an organization has created a business around teaching that specific kind of meditation. As an entrepreneur, I am all for turning an idea into a successful business. As a human being, however, I am a little disappointed in the monetization of such a helpful technique.
Before, I forget....for those of you who are already saying in your mind, "I tried meditating, but I can't do it. It just doesn't work for me", I have a whole 'nother blog post (or website page) on that topic.
I believe what I have practiced for years is focused meditation. That's the one that most people try and believe they fail at. The idea is to clear your mind of thoughts. The truth is that it is difficult to do and to maintain. Over the years, I have become better at it and have learned to allow myself time to improve.
There are many types, or styles, of meditation. Another one is mindfulness meditation. I attended a small Meetup group years ago and was guided through a mindfulness meditation session. It was an enjoyable experience. I've occasionally incorporated it, along with focused meditation.
Transcendental meditation, however, is interesting. From the research I was able to do without paying $1,500 to a certified instructor, it seems that the major difference is simply using a mantra to focus your attention. Simple. And effective.
One of the things they want you to believe is that you must use their training program so a "guru" can give you your specific mantra. It's perfect for you, and only you, based on the year of your birth, your gender, and your desired outcome. Yeah, sounds a little hokey to me, too.
I found a website that listed 51 different mantras, listened to a few of them on the free videos they provided, and selected one that felt right for me. Bam! $1,500 saved!
I've been feeling anxious about my upcoming spine surgery. I've been through it before. I know what to expect. Often that kind of information can assuage concerns. Unfortunately, in my case, it is heightening my anxiety. Ten years ago, it was a painful procedure and a long recovery period. Now, I am ten years older and don't have as much of a support network locally as I did at that time. But mostly, I'm concerned that the surgery may cause a significant change, and limitation, in the life I can live.
I miss traveling. I miss going to visit my friends and family. I miss attending social functions locally or just meals, movies, etc. Last summer when I had my hip replacement surgery, I thought I was just a couple months from a renewed, more active lifestyle. Instead, the last 9 months have been spent in a very limited cocoon - either in a hospital, skilled nursing facility, or home-bound and very limited. (You can read more of my experiences on my Facebook page) It is taking a toll on my psyche. So you can understand my anxiety that this spine surgery may limit me further (or for the rest of my life).
I'm hoping that through meditating, I can relieve most of that anxiety. I'm hoping I can free my mind to see a positive future.
So far, I'm excited about transcendental meditation. I expect it to work for me. I expect to be more focused, less anxious, more relaxed, and more positive. Stay tuned for the results.