On today’s Episode of The SHAIR Podcast our focus will be on meditation. Our featured guest will be my wife Marcela Diaz and she will be answering questions from our listeners that would like tips on how to get the most out of their own meditation practice.
Michael Hilton, Stephanie Schilling and I host a BLAB online meeting every other Sunday called Sobriety, Recovery and Beyond and I have downloaded the audio from that online meeting for our listeners to enjoy on The SHAIR Podcast. We hope you enjoy the meeting.
Omar: So Phenina had sent me an email a while back and she wanted us to discuss meditation and how to meditate. Here’s my whole thing, I’m going to start out talking a little bit talking about my experience with mediation when I first started doing it. Sitting still for any length of time was impossible with all the crazy stuff in my head. That’s what it felt like when I first started meditating, like there was some sort of dynamic committee of lunatics in my brain and then I would start thinking about,
“Oh my god, I forgot to pick up the cat from the vet,” or, “Oh, my wife told me I got to go pick up some cheese from the grocery store,”
All of a sudden a to do list would come up. I forgot to do this, whatever the case may be. That’s just crazy talk and then all of a sudden I’d hear a bus drive by right and it’s like,
“Oh, I wonder who’s on that bus” For me it was just a matter of how do I sit in silence when there’s no silence. Even when it’s quiet in the house there’s chatter in my brain. Honey, if other people can relate to that maybe you can talk a little bit about the external and internal chatter.
Marcela: Sure, well that happens to everybody. It’s not exclusive of people in recovery or anything. All of us go through that. The chatter is non-stop for everyone. Meditation’s not supposed to make it stop. What you do is just not get attached to it at least in what I’ve learned from it. It’s more like going with it not getting into it. If you hear the bus just notice that the bus is going. Don’t get into a story behind who’s in the bus or whatever, just notice the sound and notice that if you get really distracted with external noise and external factors you can make that part of your meditation. That is actually what you do in mindfulness meditation. It’s just noticing what’s around you. Even the thoughts, you can notice the thoughts. You don’t need to go into them and follow the story and get into the drama of whatever it is that’s coming up for you. You can just notice that it’s there and let it go and come back.
Everybody gets lost and the important thing is just to notice that you went into some whatever story and just come back and not punish yourself and go, “I suck at this,” that kind of thing. That doesn’t work. There’s no point. You’re supposed to enjoy it. Notice what comes up for you and just let it go. If it’s easy for you because meditation is something super personal. It’s something that you do for yourself and whatever works for you is fine. You don’t need to focus on your breath or sing or chant a mantra or count sheet or whatever. It’s just whatever works for you. You focus on something that you enjoy.
One technique that I’ve used is focus on somebody you love. You focus on that person, you see their face and you notice them. You focus on somebody especially if it’s somebody who you love unconditionally which is easier with a child or a parent or something like that. Somebody who’s completely, completely, you don’t have any issues with that person. You focus on a child, your niece, your nephew, your son, your daughter whatever. You just look at them and you see their face and their eyes and remember how their voice sounds like and you do that for a few minutes, a couple of minutes. That’s a mediation. That’s all. It’s something that takes you away from all the busyness that you were talking about before, that your head is just off in some story and just focus it on something. I don’t know if that helps.
Michael: We got a question, could you answer this one from your perspective, difference between meditation and prayer?
Marcela: Okay, typically what it’s not I think they can be quite similar. Typically what the definition is that in prayer you talk to your higher power and in meditation it’s more like listening. That’s the typical answer. Again it’s very personal and sometimes prayer can be a meditation in itself and again that’s fine. It’s whatever works for you.
Stephanie: Did you find that it’s better to do your meditation in the morning?
Marcela: For me personally, yes. I like that because that sets the tone for the day. I like that but many people do it at night or whenever.
Stephanie: I know for me my prayer/meditation or what I like to think I try to do with meditation is in the morning but when I used that app that you have that you had put up Michael.
Stephanie: The calm. I need to try to do that during the day because that thing just made me go to sleep. I was that relaxed and I was so stressed out after work that day. It wasn’t work it was just like one of those days I just felt really … You know that thing worked and nothing usually calms my brain but I could literally feel like you say just even the thoughts that would come in and try to interrupt the calm part. I could just feel them go away after I focused on it. It was really neat but I need to try to do that one during the day and see if I can stay awake.
Marcela: That works too. The idea of meditation is not to fall asleep but if you use it at night and I do that too. I just put it and it turns off automatically or something and it’s my way of dozing off sometimes when I’m too much in my head I do that too.
Michael: With meditation I think people are under the misunderstanding with meditation and how always be under the misunderstanding of it is you practice it for a week and you’ll be levitating the week after with bolts of lightning coming out your head and you never have no dialogue in your head. That’s the thing people have said to me is, “Well when I try meditate I’ve still got noise in my head.” I don’t know anyone that doesn’t meditate that doesn’t experience that. I know I still experience that after years and years of using meditation.
Thanks again for joining us!
See you then!
Disclaimer – The opinions shared on this show reflect those of the individual speaker and not of any 12 step fellowship as a whole and though we discuss 12 step recovery and the impact it has had in our lives we do not promote or endorse any 12 step anonymous program.