Catch a meditation with one of our prayer guides each Sunday on Facebook or Youtube.
We begin our service with a 15 minute musical prelude with pianist extraordinarie, Michael Drislane followed by a 15 minute meditation leading into our 10:30 service
Click here at 10:00 a.m. Sundays
Almost everyone initially says, "I can't meditate; my mind is too busy for meditation; I just can't sit still." Of course you can't. You haven't practiced! You wouldn't expect to be able to play piano if you haven't practiced. You wouldn't expect to be able to run a marathon if you haven't practiced. Similarly, you won't be a proficient at meditation until you have practiced a little. And learned what it is and isn't, and what to expect.
We feel like a failure if we can't empty our minds and experience bliss! To start with, how on Earth would you know you were experiencing bliss if you mind really was empty. The point is not to empty your mind, but to notice your thoughts without becoming attached to them, to focus the mind on one thought to which you can return whenever your mind wanders - and it will!
Ir you are practicing meditation on your own, most teachers advise focusing on your breath, feeling your breath entering you nostrils and flowing down into your lungs, and out again. Some recommend counting the breath, or exercises such as breathing in for a count of 4, holding for a count of 4 and exhaling for a count of 4. Some say "don't try to regulate it, just notice it." Experiment. Find what works for you.
You can also try leaving your eyes open and focusing on a candle flame or a water fountain - even your favourite piece of artwork on the wall.
Many people find that the best way to begin meditation is through guided meditations and we offer many of these at Unity. In guided meditation, the leader will often take you on a visual journey to some mystical, magical place where you are calm and free of anxiety to allow you to become relaxed and open to intuitive wisdom from your higher self.
The benefits of meditation are many; relief of anxiety, depression, and stress, lowered blood pressure leading to improved overall health and wellness. Many have been freed from insomnia and addictions through meditation.
If at all possible, find yourself a dedicated meditation space; even if it is only a particular chair. Eventually you will be able to go into meditation anywhere at any time, but in the beginning it is advisable to meditate in the same place at the same time each day. If you are fortunate enough to have a den or a nook where you can be assured of privacy, make that space into a place of beauty and peace however works for you; if you like candles or incense, use it. If you find it easier to be still with soft music in the background, use it. If you don't have such a space, just let the family know that you need to be undisturbed in the living room for 15 minutes at a certain time every day. Just be consistent in your practice.
You don't have to sit in the Lotus posture. The Dalai Lama says there are 4 positions for meditation; sitting, standing, walking and lying down. Find what works for you. Be comfortable but not so comfortable that you fall asleep. On the other hand, don't beat yourself up if you do fall asleep; we've all done that. Find the meditation position that allows you to be relaxed and open. Uncross your legs. Straighten your spine. Some teachers advise touching your thumb to the middle finger; other suggest palms up (there is a chakra right in the middle of your palm; you may feel energy there).
And sit. Again, you my use a breath technique or focus on a thought or a mantra. You might find a Sanskrit phrase that speaks to you, or an English word or phrase that is important to you. The great teacher, Ram Dass uses the mantra "So what?" Make it work for you.
Again, the object is not to empty your mind, but to be mindful, to be focused, to be aware. And trust yourself. You can't do it wrong.
So you can't meditate; so what? If you commit to it, you'll get there. And the worst that can happen is you'll get a few minutes rest.
Namaste (at Unity Vancouver Island, we recognize the Divine in YOU.)