Meditation Is Not Group Therapy 

I meditate regularly. I’m not good at it. My mind offers a lot of chatter. Sometimes my mind is too active for me to sit longer than five minutes. But I do it anyway. I sometimes find myself wandering down the grocery isle while I am supposed to be finding inner peace in full lotus in my living room.

When I meditate at home, I use mantras. My two favorite mantras are “Guru Guru Wahe Guru Guru Ram Das Guru”. I say this mantra for self healing and peace. The other mantra I use is “Om Gum Ganapatayai Namaha”. This is a mantra to Ganesha, the remover of obstacles. When my mind starts to wander, I return myself to reciting the mantra. A few years ago. Deepak Chopra and Oprah Winfrey started offering a free 21 day meditation series a few times a year. I’ve participated in them and also bought three of the series for my home use. What I like about it is, they are all 20 minutes, they include a new mantra, intentions and a message for reflections.

So, no. I can not turn off my thoughts. I would argue most people can’t even when they meditation like a pro. I would also argue if you preserver with the “monkey mind”, you can find moments, minutes actually, of pure peace with absolutely no thoughts.

Over a year ago I started participating in a group meditation class which is lead by a friend who is a yoga teacher. Absolutely adore her and love her gentle and restorative offerings. She offers a meditation class in six week series a few times a year. I enjoyed the first three series. However, I did not enjoy the last series which just ended at the end of June very much. One of the reasons I didn’t enjoy it is because our leader started introducing a lot of sharing and “co-listening” to our meditation practice. My hour of meditation was a lot like group therapy or sisterhood bonding. If you know me well, you know this type of group activity would not be comfortable for me. The other reason it was not comfortable for me is because I am highly intuitive, empathetic and sensitive. I’ve already had to learn how to block the emotions of other folks out so I don’t absorb too much. I am also very careful who I choose to “listen” to. In retrospect, these nights of “group therapy” were very emotional and stressful for me and contributed to me feeling burnt out.

While I’m feeling stronger and rested, I’m still feeling a good bit of anxiety about all the crazy stuff that happened in my body. I am working to dial things down. I am not going to sign up for the next group meditation class and instead focus on my own healing and home practice instead. I’ll be glad when this stressful rough patch is behind me.

On a related note, I smudged my home with prayers and sage the other night to try clean the air a bit. A friend recommended I see if I could get a Buddhist Monk to bless my body and my home. I contacted a monastery in Shamong, NJ, http://www.jizo-an.org. The President texted me today. They are looking for a monk to come down to me for the blessing. If not, I can go up to them for some real deep meditation work. You know I mean business when I am calling in the Monks😂😂 Feel free to send me any tips for anxiety and stress management👍🙏 Or just make me laugh. I need to laugh.

(C) 2016 Linda A. Long – All Rights Reserved

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