A few weeks back I completed an old idea of blogging about meditation apps. That turned out to be a spur to try on the habit of meditation. These are the experiences I had in February.
I used the Mindfulness II app by MindApps. I wrote about it before. You can see that blog here.
The app suggested using one meditation for a week to get used to it. In the first week, I used the Lake meditation. You can read about my experiences here
You may remember that I had intended to try the Mountain meditation. At the beginning of the second week, I corrected the mistake I made in selecting Lake and tried the Mountain meditation.
And, you’ve guessed it; I didn’t really like it too much. It calls for you to be constant and firm. When I tried it, I felt like I was in a state of change and flux so it didn’t suit my mood. Perhaps I’ll try it again one day.
In the meantime, I tried the Lovingkindness meditation. The meditation tells us that the sense of Lovingkindness is integral to the whole idea of mindfulness and meditation. This particular guided session develops Lovingkindness so it can be applied in other meditations and in every day life.
The session asks us to picture various people or beings and to say aloud these phrases, wishing that the being may:
- Be peaceful and happy
- Be safe from harm
- Be as healthy and strong as is possible
- Live with the ease of wellbeing
You start with a child, a pet or someone else for whom it is easy to feel Lovingkindness. Then you think of yourself, of people close to you, of people for whom it is harder to feel this emotion and finally of the whole world.
The first few times I did this meditation, it made me cry and I felt a sense of relief and gratitude. All in all, I did it about seven times over the course of three weeks. I got to the point where I could wish Lovingkindness even to those who have caused me a lot of grief recently. Every time I did it, I felt better at the end of the 10 minutes or so than I did at the beginning. I’m not sure you can say any better than that.
During the three weeks, I also tried a few other meditations.
I tried the Walking meditation again. This time I did it at home. It felt very odd to be focusing on the mechanics of walking when I normally use walking as a way of freeing my mind to imagine and think.
I also tried the Standing meditation. This was very relaxing and uplifting even though my left leg started aching while I was doing it.
I did the Body Scan meditation. This was one of the occasions when I was very tired. In general I’ve discovered that it is not the best idea to meditate when I am very tired. In those conditions, I find it very hard to concentrate and to remain still – I become very restless.
I managed to meditate several times a week, not every day. I like to meditate late in the day, after I’ve done most of the work of the day. The risk of that strategy is that the day gets away from me and I don’t meditate at all – or I try to do it at the very end of the day, when I’m too tired. This is something to work on in the coming months.