“Class! Oh, Class! May I have your attention? Today we are going to talk about mediation… ”
One of the first things I noticed as I delved into THE PSYCHIC PATHWAY was that I had really already begun – already started down the path. This was both reassuring and illuminating. The very intuition I hoped to reawake (see Blog Post #12) actually already had its eyes open. Sleepy, groggy, rubbing its ‘widdle’ eyes at the bright, new day, but conscious, nonetheless. I was being guided by my instincts to begin practices even before I saw the recommendation in print.
Thank god. Evidence – yes, my soul is alive and functioning (if not well) and living in the State of Kelley.
This is what I have discovered about meditation and journaling: the habit leads to the bliss.
It is hard at first. Antsy, jittery, ‘what am I doing?’ ‘This feels stupid.’ ‘What am I having for dinner?’
But the habit creates change that is undeniable.
Scientifically, we know the benefits of meditation; Personally, Ay Yi Yi! – mood swings have left the building, crazy chaotic pace has slowed, decision making has solidified, feelings of being overwhelmed have calmed. Where’d that Crazy Bitch go?
Hearing one’s higher self is an experience that defies intellectual, verbal description. But I can tell you, and this from the Queen of Impatience, I now want to meditate everyday. I miss it when I don’t meditate. I literally feel a physical difference.
Sonia Choquette is the author of THE PSYCHIC PATHWAY. This book was the beginning for her. She is now globally celebrated as a dynamic spiritual teacher, and transformational visionary guide. Her approach in THE PSYCHIC PATHWAY embodies many of the teachings to which she was first exposed in her quest to better understand herself.
Consequently Sonia’s guidance to meditation is very simple, almost child-like – baby steps. Her direction is straightforward, clear, kind, unapologetic, realistic. She supports with quiet, capable strength.
First off, she asks for only 15 minutes of meditation – that’s all. Come on, everybody has 15 minutes. Anywhere, anytime. It’s okay if it changes day to day.
What happened for me is that I discovered what and where felt best for me, after trying different places, different times of day, different everything(s).
Traveling can make forming a meditation habit tough. Breaking the routine, losing the convenience of home, easy access to a private place, unknown surroundings can make it challenging. We took a sudden, unexpected four day trip. I did not journal or meditate a single day. It was definitely disruptive. And I felt the result. I felt scattered, unmoored. But I also acknowledged it was early on in my practice. I forgave myself and the situation, embraced the mini-vacation, and promised myself I’d get back to it when I got home.
That is another gift of meditation practice – choosing to choose your battles. Knowing when to let go of frustrations and little irritations. The seeming need/addiction to being a hot mess all the time, the desperate victim of life, disappears. When you end a session of meditation the experience continues with you through your day. The longer you stick to the habit, the longer the calm stays with you. These days I am reluctant to disturb that calm.
Simply put – meditating feels good.
GEAR CHANGE: Sonia is my new BFF. I journal directly to her. I muse, “What would Sonia do?”
Sonia’s writing is clear and soothing. Her guidance is kind. I find myself returning to various passages of THE PSYCHIC PATHWAY as a reminder, or for clarification. But also for comfort. Her author’s photo on the back of the book is of a spunky optimist. Her smile is broad, beguiling, inviting.
The trip I mentioned was to the very locale where Sonia practices. When I put this together I immediately went online to check things out. ‘Hey, maybe this is fate. Maybe she will have an opening. I can squeeze in a session with my new best friend.’ I expected the same girlish, chipper elf. I found a middle-aged matronly, albeit massively successful, professional. You wanna work with Sonia now, it’s $400 per half hour session. Imagine my surprise! Okay, I’ll stick with my lil’ paperback. And the image of the sprite on the back.
So anyway – just 15 minutes. And Sonia suggests beginning with music. She likes baroque. But any instrumental that doesn’t distract is fine. Obviously, this is not about toe tapping and matching chord progressions. Debussy, Mahler, Bach, Satie, Pachelbel, Rachmaninoff, Miles Davis… you pick. My go-to was Holosync. There are also plenty of Binaural systems out there. They are spin offs of Holosync. I do not know if they provide the same statistics and benefits.
THE POINT: Create a focus point and quiet the mind.
Does it happen immediately? Of course not. I still, to this day, have worldly information and To-Do Lists and frets and fears traveling in and out of my meditation. My ability to set those to the side has expanded. The grace of my practice has engaged.
What makes it easier to put those thoughts aside is that I now recognize the texture of what it feels like to meditate. I’m not searching for ‘What is it?’ any more. I know I’m there because I have visited that particular landscape consistently. Habit.
I didn’t know exactly what I was doing. But I did it anyway. Over and over. I participated in the habit of meditating.
Music doesn’t work for you? Okay.
Another technique to create focus is the breathing method. Focus on your breathing. Start with an inhale for a four count, exhale for a four count. When that becomes comfortable; inhale four, exhale eight. Then; in four, out eight, hold four. Release the focus on the breath when it feels right – like taking off the training wheels – and float into the land of meditation. Return to observing and counting your breathing when any foreign, worldly thought enters. “Do we have enough dog food? Oh, OK. Back to ‘in for four, out for eight, hold for four’….”
Habit married with techniques like breathing or music eventually lead to second nature. What is second nature? I can’t tell you what it will be like for you. Your breathing will slow. There will be great spaces between your breaths. Not holding your breath. Just not breathing – being. Your awareness will float around into memories. Dreams. Sounds. I see things on the back of my eyelids sometimes. Yes, everyday stuff creeps in. And then I gently expel those thoughts and just keep floating.
Second nature is when you don’t have to think about it anymore. You just naturally start to do it. It just falls into place. All of a sudden you realize you are not thinking about it any more, you are not judging it, or questioning it, or wondering about it, or struggling with it – you are just doing it.
Like riding a bike.
THIS IS THE THING: The burden of ‘Am I doing this right?’ is not the issue. There is no ‘doing it right’. There is no getting it perfect. No one wins. There is no prize for Best Meditation.
There’s just doing it.
And that’s also the gift – meditation lets you put down that heavy load.
Doing it. Being in the moment. ‘Doing the doing.’ (That’s going to ring some bells. Manuel Duque, rest his soul.)
I learned a big part of my meditation from my dog. And I will tell you it is correlations like this that deepen and personalize your practice. This is what takes it over the edge – when it stops being a habit and becomes a practice. The techniques are generalizations. They level the playing field and make it accessible so to form the habit. The habit leads to understanding. The understanding leads to making it your own.
My dog Angel lead me.
He lays on our hillside at dusk and at dawn and looks out over the canyon. A bird calls, he turns. A dog barks, he lengthens. A breeze blows, he scents the air. He is in the moment. He is being. He doesn’t define or explain or negotiate. He is.
He lives in meditation.
I thought, “I wonder if I could see as Angel sees, hear what Angel hears?”
And that was when my habit became my practice.
Like I said my friends, it defies intellectual, verbal description. I guess you will have to come to my house and watch my dog.
But now I meditate with eyes open or shut, with or without ear buds and Holosync. Fifteen minutes. Thirty minutes. Whatever. However long the grace lasts. I can do it at airports or on mountain sides cuz it’s not about the sound. It’s about me being in the sound or the silence, at that moment.
Now, – and this is funny because I found this to be the case also in acting: There are people, yogis, texts, yada yada, that say you gotta sit cross legged, you gotta unfocus your eyes and look where the floor meets the wall, you gotta find a soundproof room.
“I can teach you how to act.”
There are no have to’s. Just close your eyes and see what happens.
Keep in mind – not all the worldly thoughts that come into your meditation are noise or distractions. Solutions will bubble up. Remember – your meditation is the conduit to your intuition. That’s what Sonia says. Your meditation is where your soul runs free. I’ve been coming to a lot of realizations lately during my meditation.
Also, there are guides, hints, helpers all around you. The best place, the best music, the best chair. Just look for them. Your ‘Angel’ is just waiting to be found.
Form the habit.
Observe as you go.
You will find your practice.
It’s worth it. Every bit.