Meditation: Finding the Serene Blue Sky

se·rene

səˈrēn/
adjective
  1. calm, peaceful, and untroubled; tranquil.
    “her eyes were closed and she looked very serene”
  2. (in a title) used as a term of respect for members of some European royal families.
    “His Serene Highness”

noun

archaic
  1. an expanse of clear sky or calm sea.
    “not a cloud obscured the deep serene”

One of my Core Desired Feelings this Season is Serene. I want to feel that tranquility, that clear blue sky in my mind and soul with no clouds to obscure the clarity.

Meditation finds that blue sky. Or rather, helps remind me that it’s there. When the day is overcast, or storming, or snowing, or full of birds, it’s hard to remember it’s even there.

Think about the actual sky. You don’t think about it most times. You notice when there’s interesting weather, or you intentionally stop and look, but you don’t live in a state of neck-breaking upturned focus. Nor should you. But it’s always good to remember there’s the blue sky above the storms.

That’s what meditation is like. When I sit in my chair and close my eyes, my mind is a turbid storm, most days. But in breathing, in silence, in just focusing on sensation and letting thoughts come and go, I find that blue sky. I remember it, and it’s there.

One step closer to serenity.

Meditation, for me, is very straightforward. I find I can’t control my thoughts most of the time. They come, I follow, usually to worry. They go, I forget why I entered rooms. When I’m watching TV, it’s like they aren’t there at all. When I’m in the flow of a project, it’s like the blue sky is all around me. So meditation helps me control them. It’s an exercise of the mind. Even willpower, in a way. Focusing on thoughts to change them, to recognize them, to find patterns, is hard at first. It was nearly impossible for me. But with practice, I got much better.

I don’t light candles or sit on a special cushion or listen to music or hold my hands up or do anything like that. I could. But I don’t need to.

I use an app, Headspace, the best meditation app I’ve seen. It’s highly recommended (by Emma Watson – and it has my vote too). It’s very simple, very easy to understand, and very easy to use. They have basic packs to teach how to do it, because sitting in silence is not something we’re used to. They also have special packs for certain situations. I’m currently on the anxiety pack, and it’s been very helpful. But even if I just did the basics pack over and over again, it would be helpful.

Meditation sounds a lot like acupuncture to most people. Weird. New age. Slightly foreign. Not to be trusted. Useless. For hippies.

It’s become slightly more mainstream, to the point where my mother would try it (always the litmus test), but people still hesitate. Admitting it feels weird. I meditate. It hasn’t quite hit the okay-ness of yoga, but I think it’s creeping ahead of acupuncture.

Either way, this isn’t a paid promo for the app or anything. I just happen to really, really like it. I’d tried a few free Youtube meditations and they were okay, but the music was actually more distracting than I’d thought. And with Headspace, you get a lot of explanations for the various techniques. It’s also where I was introduced to the idea of the blue sky kind of mind.

Meditation has helped me. One of my habits this year is to meditate every day. In good weather or bad, learning to control my thoughts is important.

Do you meditate?

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