Meditation: even swans need to do it!
Last spring as I was walking around the lake near my home, I came upon a family of swans by the shore: two beautiful, huge adults and 10 little baby swans. Ten![Yes, I know they’re called cygnets but that word isn’t cute enough to do them justice].
The two parents were putting up a very loud squawk and, as I got closer, I saw that one of the babies had become stranded on the shore side of a big log and the parents were encouraging it to climb over.
The baby kept trying to climb over but the log was too big and the baby too small. So the parents took turns stepping up on the log, turning around and squatting in the hopes the baby would grab on to them and be pulled out. After about a dozen attempts, they succeeded.
The irony was that if any of them had looked to the baby’s left, they would have seen it could easily have swum around the log to freedom! But they were all too focused on the problem right in front of them to look for other solutions.
It struck me that this was a perfect example of the benefits of meditation. Stop, take a break, relax, regroup and look around for a fresh perspective. That usually allows inspiration and new ideas to flow in.
Focusing on a problem is seldom the way to solution. Or, as Albert Einstein said, [quote]“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”[/quote]
How I learned to hate meditation
My own relationship with meditation has been fraught with ups and downs. In my twenties, I joined a cult, which seemed like a very good idea at the time, but was hard on a lot of levels.
One of the many disciplines we were encouraged [I’m being polite here] to undertake was to meditate for one hour every morning and one hour every night. It was virtually impossible for me. I like to be physically active and found sitting in one place for more than 5 minutes at a time was very difficult. So meditation wasn’t working for me in the least!
And, being a perfectionist, I felt that if I couldn’t meditate for the full hour, there was no point in meditating at all, so I rarely did it!
How I learned to love meditation
Twenty years after starting on the Native American path, I decided to give Eastern meditation another try and this time, it worked like a charm. I now have a daily meditation practice of meditating on a mantra for 15-20 minutes each morning and I love it. My readiness was probably a combination of having matured and slowed down and finding the right meditation practice for me.
Also, 15 minutes is pretty easy compared to the two hours a day I was relegated to decades before. It’s now part of my morning spiritual practice and my favorite part of the day.
By stilling the usual clutter in my mind, it makes room for inspiration. Some of my best ideas and solutions slip in during my meditation time. Just as the swans might have found the easy way out if they’d stopped their frantic rescue efforts and taken a look around.
My next two posts will remind you of the many reasons to meditate [including some you may not have heard before] and different techniques of meditation to try.
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Molly Larkin is the co-author of the international best-seller “The Wind Is My Mother; The Life and Teachings of a Native American Shaman.” She is passionate about helping people live life to their fullest potential through her classes, podcast and blog at www.MollyLarkin.com