Why swans should try meditation! And you should, too!
Several years ago, I was walking around the lake near my home, and came upon a family of swans by the shore: two beautiful, huge adults and 10 little chicks. Ten!
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 chick too small. So the parents took turns stepping up on the log, turning around and squatting in the hopes the chick would grab on to them and be pulled out. After about a dozen attempts, they succeeded, but appeared to get very stressed in the process.
Ironically, if any of them had looked to the chick’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 gain 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, “We can’t solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”
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 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 to be 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 meditation another try and this time, it worked like a charm.
I now have a daily 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 told to do 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.
Benefits of meditation
There are many benefits to meditation, including:
- Reduces stress and improves outlook
- Helps lower blood pressure
- Strengthens the heart
- Decreases heart and respiratory rates
- Increases blood flow
- Improves sleep
- Reduces the intensity and length of allergy and asthma attacks
- Manages chronic pain
- Boosts brain power
- Slows down age-related brain atrophy
Many of my students have told me meditation hasn’t worked for them, and it usually comes down to these reasons. They…
- haven’t found a meditation technique that feels right for them
- can’t find the time
- can’t be consistent, that is, they can’t create the habit.
So I created an online course that teaches:
- A variety of meditation techniques so you can find the one that works for you!
- How to find the time in your day
- How to create a daily habit.
I invite you to check out the course, Meditations on the Natural World, at this link and get started on a profound change in your life!
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” and other books on health. She is passionate about helping people live life to their fullest potential through her classes, healing practice and blog at www.MollyLarkin.com