Recently a local newspaper article titled, “Presence of Mind” and subtitled “Meditation can help cope with stressful holiday season,” caught my attention. Struggling with holiday gift shopping, and guilty of not buying on Brown Thursday, Black Friday or Cyber Monday I started reading.
The Zen Master immediately captured my heart defining the Metta method and saying; sitting on the floor is optional, and that a popular meditation spot is a bathroom stall. The Metta method teaches love and compassion for yourself first, and then sending the message out into the world. I have tried to meditate, and couldn’t stop the nagging intrusive thoughts from running around by head. Remember Julia Roberts in “Eat, Pray, Love,” well I read the book, and sitting for hours on a cold hard floor does not work for me. Occasionally I find a quiet place to sit and repeat, love, peace, joy endlessly, hoping a mantra will push out negative thoughts about the Valentine flowers I did not receive in 1982. It does not work.
A Buddhist concept, the Metta method was originally instituted to aid terminally ill people, and has gained a following in other meditation circles because of the positive effects, simple techniques and easy transition.
- Minimize Stress
- Improve healing
- Learning about and training the mind
Two Simple Techniques
- Grounding – Giving attention to the body’s current position
- Orienting – Awareness of surroundings and knowing exits
- Mind is the sky
- Thoughts are the clouds
The article recognizes that when meditating, “you see things, the ideas that cause stress,” and thoughts about finding the perfect gift, and its credit card debt are counterproductive to the joy we hope to create. Recognizing what is on your mind is the first step to eliminating stress and being present for loved ones, enjoying the holidays. The point is well made that although Christmas is about presents, your presence may be a gift alternative.
So, thoughts about running over the driver who beat you to the last parking spot at the mall, can become clouds afloat in your mind. Ask yourself, “how important is this?” and you will gain new perspective and see your anger drift away.
Once rid of those dark clouds, put some happy thoughts in your sky by repeating;
May I be happy. May I be well. May I be safe. May I be peaceful and at ease,
Then send the message to others by replacing the I with you and say;
May you be happy. May you be well. May you be safe. May you be peaceful and at ease.
. . . . just saying