Three months ago I finished a class entitled “Mindful Meditation” that taught meditation and yoga exercises. It was a weekly, two and a half hour class dealing with relaxation of the mind and body to get in touch with bottled-up thoughts, feelings, and body sensations. Mindful meditation works on the premise of focusing the mind in the present, being aware of your thoughts, feelings, and actions in the present without judging yourself. It was a very reflective process that helped me to think carefully about what my body was saying to me at any given time of day. This is something all of us experience, if only we would pay attention.
The sessions were full of techniques for breathing, yoga poses, mantras, and poems that put me in a tranquil state and brought peace to my thought process. It was during this state of tranquility that I was able to sense God’s presence and guidance. It was in this state that I identified the emotional feelings and thoughts that were blocking me from a peace-centered spirit. In this space, I was able to work through my inner blocks, and to become aware of what I wanted for my life going forward. It was truly a great self-care technique, showing me how to take care of myself by giving rest and relaxation to my mind, body and soul, so that whatever thoughts or feelings I had, I could take notice of them before I took any action. It gave me a new way of thinking about why and where my feelings were coming from. My awareness of why I was anxious, sad, worried, or even happy helped me to stay calmer and use less energy becoming over-emotional about my circumstances. My calmness delivered clearer thoughts about my next steps for future projects, assignments, and other responsibilities.
The meditation also helped me release the stress from the day, take charge of my life, and I feel in touch with myself. I believe that as I became more present in my thoughts and feelings, I could hear God’s directions for my life, and I began to make better decisions for myself, family, and those whom I am responsible to. The class was an incredible journey to say the least, and I enjoyed every minute of it, and I am looking forward to continuing the practice on my own.
As I am finishing up this blog post, I am thinking how mindful meditation could help many people as we continue to become involved with different events in this the holiday season. How beneficial would it be to take a few minutes each day to sit, breathe, and listen to our body and thoughts before the onslaught of the many parties, stressful shopping trips, and other social events? Maybe we would become mindful of not over eating, or spending more money than our budget allows. Perhaps we would avoid involving ourselves in family drama. Or maybe we would have a relaxing holiday by taking less engagements. I believe if we are mindful of these things, we may have a chance to be more present and aware of what Christmas really means as we acknowledge the gift of life that we have been given in the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Why don’t you make a holiday gift to yourself and check around in your neighborhood or community and see if there are any mindful meditation classes that you could become involved with. Maybe a church, synagogue, mosque, YMCA, local gym, or some other venue would have a class that you could enroll in. It would be a wonderful present to give yourself and your family in the New Year.
Dr. Joyce Scott Thomas is the Associate Director of the Academy of Preaching and Celebration.
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