Ken G. from Sherman Oaks, Ca. asks:
“Do you have any meditation tips for beginners, or those who can’t turn off their mental to-do lists?”
Meditation is a pretty big scary topic for many. I like the way you asked "people who can’t turn off their mental to-do lists." Well, first off, try simple baby steps like forcing your racing mind to listen to some calming music. You have to find a spot and set it up as your mini sanctuary. Plan it so you achieve it. Light some candles and dim the lights and play some waves of the ocean or the sound of vacuum cleaner – Oops! I was thinking about my infants… haha! No – but waves of the ocean or music without words works well. Make sure your spot is comfy physically and then close your eyes. This is when you train your mind to focus on a mantra or just a sentence that you like that enlightens you. For me, I love my yoga mantra, "Lokah Samastah Sukino Bhavantu" which means, "May all beings everywhere be happy and free, and may the thoughts, words, and actions of my own life contribute in some way to the happiness and freedom of all." (Side note: My brand, Chakras by didi, has a shirt that has this mantra on it!) You focus on this line and repeat it over and over and over again. At the beginning you can try for 5 minutes, then gradually add a minute once you get comfortable with longer periods of time. You don't have to time it either but feel the passing of time. If you feel it is time to open your eyes, then do so. There doesn't need to be a strict timetable to this. I also like to put an air diffuser around me so I can diffuse my oils and add the sense of aromatherapy to the experience. Whenever you find your mind wandering about anything but that sentence, just allow yourself to come back to it and repeat it again. Take deep breaths. Even if you manage only a short time, that short time already helps you on your first steps to quieting your mind. Try to think positively and be present to when your mind begins to think negatively and be conscious in taking back to the positive.