Meditating and quieting the mind is an important part of Desert Rising’s temple and magic system:
Did you know that humans have between 50,000 and 70,000 thoughts a day? That’s 35-48 thoughts a minute! As I write this, my mind is noticing, singing, hearing, formulating, worrying and wondering...all at once. Quieting the mind through seated meditation, and moving meditations like Yoga and Tai Chi, has become an important part of my life, and has focused my writing.
We often aren’t aware of our mind’s chatter until we sit down to meditate. When I sit to meditate I feel as though my brain is spinning constantly. It is rare that I empty my mind completely. But slowing the thought process and noticing what arises again and again can show me patterns of worry or fear in my life. Uncovering those unconscious thought patterns helps me conquer depression and negativity. Noticing and quieting the chatter of my mind creates ease when I want to focus on just one thing – such as writing. If it is a good day, I can snap right into creative mode. If it is a bad day, I can understand why and meditate or do yoga to control my thoughts and emotions.
Meditation can be done anywhere – you don’t need special pillows or a quiet room, though those can be nice as you lengthen your practice! An easy beginning is with your own breathing, because it is always with you. I like to do this meditation when I’m in a long line, feeling impatient: I count my breath, until I reach 10, then start over. In and out – one breath. If I lose track of what breath I’m on, I start over at one. Counting focuses the mind, and the natural deepening that occurs by paying attention to the breath relaxes the body. When I reach the front of the line, I am peaceful. Another easy breath meditation – sniff in eight short breaths to fill the lungs, then release in one long exhale. Do for 3-5 minutes to create a relaxed focus and relieve worry. When you get more experience with breath meditation, simply immerse your mind on the in and out breath, without controlling it, from 5 to 30 minutes and beyond.
Finding the meditation style that is right for your life, whether seated, or moving like yoga and Tai Chi, will help you fit moments of peace into your life. Remember, even meditating once or twice a week can lift your mood, quiet anger and create a feeling of peace and calm that will help you feel more grounded in your everyday life.
The Counselor lifted a wooden stick and ran it around the lip of a beaten copper bowl the size of a serving crock. A tone sang out, full and rich in the echoes of the One’s altar. Sulis gasped at the clarity.
“Still your mind,” Counselor Elida advised. “Bring it back to the music. If your mind wanders, don’t give up; just bring it back to the note, letting it fill the space with clarity, with light. Allow your mind to be free of the distractions of the world around it.”
Sulis closed her eyes, refraining from looking around at the other students. She knew from the past few mornings what they would look like, since she’d studied them while pretending to focus her jittery brain. Jonas would be sitting stiff with his eyes closed, his face strained as though with the heavy effort of forcing his mind to obey. Lasha and most of the others were more like Sulis, shifting in seated positions that got more uncomfortable as they sat still, their brains untamed by their will—all except Alannah. She alone looked like she understood.