Week 26 (M): on guided meditation
Meditation was something I knew how to do before anyone taught me. I love the idea of guided meditation; it seems like a good way to keep focused on the task at hand (which hearkens back to what I was talking about with last week’s mindfulness discussion). The two videos below are the best of a variety of guided meditations I found on Youtube.
When looking for a guided meditation, I think an important part is to look for someone’s voice that you find soothing. The content of the meditation matters too, of course, but it’s important to be able to listen comfortably to them while they guide you. Otherwise you could spend the whole time distracted by how annoyed you are by their voice. I liked these two in particular, but your mileage may vary.
The first is for chakra cleansing. I plan to use it in combination with stones I bought specifically for chakra cleansing. I imagine this would be a useful meditation to do on a regular basis. I think of chakra cleansing sort of like cleaning the house: it has to get done regularly, or else I go a little nuts. I plan to use this one stretched out on my back on a yoga mat, in a quiet dark room.
The second is for deep relaxation and sleep. Sometimes I have problems with insomnia, so I’m hoping this might help. I think this could also be a nice way to relax into sleep every night, a way of delineating between waking and restful hours.
On a related note, this article on mindfulness meditation from Scientific American crossed my path this week. It’s worth a read, as it talks about the benefits of mindfulness and meditation. Meditation is helpful for a range of ills: insomnia, anxiety, depression, etc. Not to say that it’s a substitute for other types of treatment, but I think it’s an excellent supplement to them.
Week 25 (M): on mindfulness, or how to chop wood and carry water
How do you go about your work? While reading this, I started thinking about how mindfulness and work go hand in hand. One of my favorite quotes (and perhaps you’re familiar with it) is this:
I don’t remember where I first found it, but I do remember reading it and having something click in my brain. I understand this as an entreaty to always pay attention to the task at hand (regardless of how “enlightened” you are). It stresses the importance of being mindful, how you ought to focus only on your current actions. Be present, which sounds like excellent advice.
When I’m dancing, I lose track of what’s happening around me, and sink into the feeling of being wholly in my body. When I’m knitting, the looping of the yarn and the swooping of my hands make for a meditative rhythm that keeps my focus on the task at hand. When I bake, the recipe becomes all that matters: the perfect leveled scoop of sugar, the milk poured so the meniscus is perfectly on the line.
All of these things are things I try to do with my whole being. This sort of presence and awareness is something I strive for, in everyday life as well as in magical practice.
Consider this a bonus post for the Pagan Blog Project; we’re on E anyway this week. I bought into my first farm share this morning, so I’m excited and I wanted to share.
I live in an area that has quite a few farms. I’m not talking giant factory farms, where you’re not sure what the animals are being fed or where chemicals are essentially poured into the soil. I’m talking small-scale operations, many of which are what’s called community-supported agriculture (CSA). Basically it’s a way of distributing food grown locally to people who live nearby. Most CSAs that I know of are very concerned with sustainability practices and organic farming, both of which are important to me.
If you live somewhere that you can participate in something like this, I encourage you to do it. (You can search for a local CSA here.) Supporting local food sources is a pretty smart move in my opinion, as are shopping at things like farmer’s markets. There’s something amazing to me about being able to buy direct from the person that’s responsible for growing the food I get to eat later that same day.
The way a farm share from a CSA works (at least in this area) is this: you pay a set amount of money up front, in advance of the actual growing season. Then, whenever the first batch of crops comes up (usually the first week of June around here), you can pick up your first share. From June through October, you go to the farm every week and pick up whatever’s ripe that week. Most farms will give you a box, though some use bags, and you fill that with as much fresh, organic, locally grown produce as you like. For some crops, there’s limits (e.g. you can only have two potatoes this week because there weren’t a lot, but you can have unlimited kale), but mostly it’s just about filling your box with whatever strikes your fancy.
I got my CSA from Next Barn Over, but there at least four other options nearby (it was really hard to choose one actually!). Next Barn Over grows things like bok choy, leeks, peas, and parsnips, as well as a whole slew of other crops. Come June, I’ll get a box of fresh produce (veggies mostly, but I hear they have pick your own herbs and strawberries too) every single week, through the end of October. I can’t wait!