“Lazy man’s meditation” and “Effortless meditation” sound very appealing to me. These phrases are used to describe Vedic Meditation. I had dabbled in meditation for years and was never able to commit to a consistent practice. Reflecting, it was most likely because I was “trying to meditate,” trying to sit up straight, trying to clear my mind and trying to be peaceful. None of these things are required for a meditation practice.
I was first exposed to Vedic meditation during a professional development day. Three hours was all I needed to be hooked. Instantly, I felt differently practicing this way and it was so easy. I began listening to podcasts, reading, and seeking more information about Vedic meditation. I registered for a weekend initiation course with my mentor, Derrick Yanford, and committed to practicing for 90 days.
Vedic meditation comes from the Veda. Veda is the ancient body of knowledge from India. The Veda is the source of yoga, meditation and Ayurvedic medicine. It is the basis of all Eastern philosophy. Vedic meditation is effortless and natural. You simply sit in a chair with your eyes closed for about 20 minutes in the morning and again in the early evening.
In the course you learn a Mantra—a simple meaningless sound—that you repeat silently. The Mantra quiets the mind and takes you to a settled state. As your mind settles, your body begins to rest more deeply than sleep. You come out of meditation feeling clear, refreshed, and ready to engage.
A four-day, virtual, rounding meditation was offered in January and, thinking this would be a wonderful way to begin the new year, I registered. A list of expectations was sent out to participants. The weekend was meant for resting; no stimulation (social media, television, work, working out, etc.) The most challenging part for me was no coffee! Once registered, I immediately thought of all the ways to fill my time: Reading, cleaning my house, etc. The person hosting the retreat clarified at orientation, rest means more than “not working,” it is “doing nothing.”
When I have a break from work I immediately fill my time with everything and anything (household chores, visits with family, etc.) This retreat was the first time in over 40 years that I truly rested. I enjoyed it; I welcomed it. I did not want the four days to be over—I felt incredible. It was an enlightening experience. I now practice two times a day for 20 mins each. For me, the feeling of being rested was worth the time spent meditating. I used to believe I could not take 40 minutes out of my day. If you think you do not have the time, check the usage of apps on your phone; it’s amazing how much time you have. I felt energized and more at peace. People around me noted shifts in my behavior, my mood, and reaction to stress. My boss came into my office following a meeting where the topic typically would have left me agitated. He came in to share, “you seemed very grounded in there.” My wife noticed subtle changes too. She pointed out shifts. For example, getting lost is a source of anger and stress for me, but instead I found myself laughing and okay. These moments illustrated my routine of meditation was working.
I have entered 2021 drinking less coffee, resting more, and feeling grounded. It is never too late to begin the practice of meditation. There are many types of meditation. Find the one that works for you. Time with yourself is time well spent.
The retreat I virtually attended was hosted by the The Spring Meditation Center. More information on Vedic Meditation and to register for a retreat can be found on their website.
By: Michelle Bailey