Quiet Meditation

First we take a breath,
eyes closed or open,
sensations of being in a body alive.
We hear the sounds around us.
We feel the weight of our body, the air on our skin.
Notice the thoughts and chatter of our mind.
Be gentle.
Notice the experience.
Bring your mind to the breath.
The rise and fall of the chest.
Back, back, and back again to the
Awareness that we are light,
and fluid,
and solid all at once.
How beautiful!

Namaste, Ursula

Meditation Benefits

Meditation offers an opportunity to explore the process of opening our heart and mind. With Insight Meditation we will explore the possibilities, challenges and rewards of quieting the mind’s chatter, deepening our awareness of surroundings and our Inner Self, as well as, cultivating love for ourselves, others, and the world.

Insight Meditation Community of Charlottesville says:

We do [meditation] because it provides insights into the changing nature of the world and our perceptions and lets us better accept and relate to ourselves and others with clarity and with kindness.

For information on this local group:


The Mayo Clinic says:

Meditation can wipe away the day's stress, giving you a clean slate. You can practice meditation anywhere — at home, on the bus, at work or wherever you are. See how.

Meditation has been practiced for thousands of years. Originally, it was meant to help people deepen their understanding of the sacred and mystical forces of life. These days, many people turn to meditation for relaxation and stress reduction.

Meditation produces a deep state of relaxation and a tranquil mind. Meditation can give you a sense of calm, peace and emotional stability. And these effects don't end when your meditation session ends. Meditation can have lasting effects on your emotional and physical well-being.

Don't be daunted by meditation. Anyone can practice meditation. It's simple and inexpensive and doesn't require any special equipment. You can spend a few minutes in meditation almost anywhere — whether you're on the job, out for a walk, riding the bus, doing the laundry or waiting at the doctor's office.

Meditation and medical illnesses

Many healthy people use meditation as a way to relax the body and reduce stress. But meditation may also be useful if you have a medical disease or condition, especially one that may be worsened by stress. Scientific research about the benefits of meditation is continuing, and the results are mixed. Keeping that in mind, some research shows that meditation may help such conditions as:

* Allergies
* Anxiety
* Arthritis
* Asthma
* Cancer
* Chronic pain
* Depression
* High blood pressure
* Heart disease

Be sure to talk to your health care professional about the pros and cons of using meditation if you have any of these or other medical conditions. Meditation isn't a replacement for traditional medical treatment. But it may be useful in addition to your other treatment.
Fitting meditation into your lifestyle

When you meditate, you clear away the information overload that builds up every day. When your mind is clear of distracting thoughts, you gain new perspectives and new ways of handling stress and other problems. You become more self-aware. You focus on the here and now — not on your ever-growing to-do list.

You can also practice meditation easily on your own. You can find everyday opportunities to meditate wherever you happen to be. You can also make meditation as formal or informal as you like — whatever suits your lifestyle and situation. Some people build meditation into their daily routine. For example, they may start and end each day with an hour of meditation. If you're short on time, all you really need is a few minutes.

Everyday ways to practice meditation

Here are some ways you can practice meditation on your own, whenever you choose. Take a few minutes or as much time as you like.

* Breathe deeply. This technique is good for beginners because breathing is a natural function. Focus all attention on your breathing. Concentrate on feeling and listening as you inhale and exhale through your nostrils. Breathe deeply and slowly. When you feel your attention wander, gently return your focus to your breathing.
* Scan your body. When using this technique, focus attention on different parts of your body. Become aware of your body's various sensations, whether that's pain, tension, warmth or relaxation. Combine body scanning with breathing exercises and imagine breathing heat or relaxation into and out of different parts of your body.
* Repeat a sacred name or phrase. A mantra is the name of a sacred deity or a sacred phrase that you repeat silently or aloud. You can create your own mantra. Mantras are the building blocks of transcendental meditation. Examples of religious mantras include a Jesus prayer in the Christian tradition, the holy name of God in Judaism, or the Om mantra of Hinduism, Buddhism and other Eastern religions.
* Walking meditation. Combining a walk with meditation is an efficient and healthy way to relax. You can use this technique anywhere you're walking — in a tranquil forest, on a city sidewalk or at the mall. When you use this method, slow down the pace of walking so that you can focus on each movement of your legs or feet. Don't focus on a particular destination. Concentrate on your legs and feet, repeating action words in your mind such as lifting, moving and placing as you lift each foot, move your leg forward and place your foot on the ground.
* Engage in prayer. Prayer is the best known and most widely practiced example of meditation. Spoken and written prayers are found in most faith traditions. You can pray using your own words or read prayers written by others. Check the self-help or 12-step-recovery section of your local bookstore for examples. Talk with your rabbi, priest, pastor or other spiritual leader about resources.
* Read or listen and take time to reflect. Many people report that they benefit from reading poems or sacred texts silently or aloud, and taking a few moments to quietly reflect on the meaning that the words bring to mind. You can listen to sacred music, spoken words or any music you find relaxing or inspiring. You may want to write your reflections in a journal or discuss them with a friend or spiritual leader.
* Focus your love and gratitude. In this type of meditation, you focus your attention on a sacred object or being, weaving feelings of love and gratitude into your thoughts. You can also close your eyes and use your imagination or gaze at representations of the object.

Practice meditation skills

Be kind to yourself as you get started with meditation. It's common for the mind to wander during meditation, no matter how long you've been practicing meditation, and that's OK, too. If you're meditating to calm your mind and your attention wanders, slowly return to the object, sensation or movement you're focusing on. You can use an image to bring yourself back to your focus if you'd like. Try this: Picture balloons floating away with your thoughts, or imagine your thoughts as pigeons and mentally clap your hands to get them to fly away.

Experiment, and you'll likely find out what types of meditation work best for you. Adapt meditation to your needs at the moment. Remember, there's no right way or wrong way to meditate. What matters is that meditation helps you with stress reduction and feeling better overall.

"Love is the greatest force on earth. It is the basis of everything. It has no boundaries. The whole world exists in love. We come with love and we go with love. And in between we live with love."
Sri Swami Satchidananda