When most people think of meditation, they picture a spiritual person in the lotus position in a quiet room. Most individuals have busy days, and do not have the convenience of quiet contemplation in a secluded location. Fortunately, meditation can take place anywhere. Sitting at a work desk, you can mentally block out extraneous noise and concentrate on something entirely different. An excellent time for mediation is just before falling asleep. The tranquil time period just before you drift off to sleep is perfect for this practice. Think of meditating as a more holistic approach to metal health.
What do people meditate on? Some people have a favorite prayer such as “The Lord’s Prayer” that they work with daily. Others have poems or mantras. Books of meditations exist. One is The Calendar of Soul (Steiner, 1982). In this volume, weekly meditations follow the changing seasons. The meditator focuses on one verse for a week; the dates for each week are indicated. Others like to meditate by thinking about a pleasant experience or place.
Most individuals have questions that follow them in life. The question might concern a personal or professional issue. One meditative exercise that is helpful for answering these questions can be practiced at night, and in the morning. As you are between the states of being awake and falling asleep, while you are drifting, you should ask the question, taking that question into sleep. Some also like to ask the question upon waking. Often, after a time (sometimes a few months), you will actually receive an answer to your question upon waking one morning. The secret is to let this answer come naturally, quietly.
Meditating is a chance to disengage from the physical world for a short period. It can help a person gain perspective by letting go of the business of day. Natural settings such as a park or a porch are effective mediation locations. In these spots, the meditator can simply watch a bird or tree. How does the bird interact with its environment? What kind of bird is it? What kind of tree is it? Is it old with lots of character? What is happening around the tree? If you cannot get outside, looking out of a window can have the same effect. Even a small distraction like this can alleviate stress and bring calmness.
The point is to take time every day to make a moment for you. This is a time that is private. People have a tendency to let the world happen to them when they have the power to develop their own space where they are in charge. This concept is important to remember if you have a stressful job or a boss or other colleague who is domineering and negative. After an unpleasant encounter, mentally remove yourself from the situation through meditation. Stewing over the incident is not productive.
Taking time to mediate each day becomes a creative, personal outlet. No one need know that meditative contemplation is happening. Even if the world around a person is chaotic, meditation can have a grounding effect. “Checking out” of life for a few moments to concentrate on something positive can be the one meaningful part of your day.
Steiner, R. (1982). The calendar of the soul. Hudson, NY: The Anthroposophic Press.