Despite my mood stabilizer to help chill me out, my mind still runs pretty fast, and rarely gets a break from constant thoughts zooming in and out. So, as a result, meditation has always been a struggle for me. It wasn’t until recently that I found a way to calming my mind during mediation so thought I’d share what I’ve learned.
I was raised Catholic. I was one of those kids that went to church during Lent on my recess break which one could say laid the groundwork for meditating. Due to the ambiance of church, I was more or less forced to sit in the pew and be quiet. I found prayer to be helpful in calming my mind despite the ongoing rapid thoughts. Sometimes I would walk around the church and do stations of the cross and pray that my mind would become calm. I didn’t know I was hypomanic and didn’t know any of the symptoms so just thought if I tried hard enough the ruthless intense anxiety and rapid thoughts would cease with prayer.
After grammar school, I attended an all girls Catholic high school so studied religion and kept up with prayers, however, when I left for college my piety pretty much went out the door. I studied Hinduism and Buddhism and Taoism but never really prayed that much anymore. Then after college I struggled with entering the real world so would go to church when it was empty, and force myself to sit still like I did as a child and try and clear my mind. It was a practice that was hard but I kept up with it for a few years. Then I fell off the wagon, again, and stopped going to church so my spiritual meditation took a hit. Years went by with no prayer but sometimes I would try and meditate but it never lasted long and didn’t seem to work.
So after a lifetime of going in and out of prayer, and attempts to meditate, I realized that bridging prayer with meditation was the cure or what would work best for me. I thought of those days as a young child when I did the rosary before going to bed to help curb my insomnia, and thought maybe that is the key. So this is what I practice.
When I go to the gym I lift weights and do cardio and afterwards I reward myself with a steam. In my opinion, taking a steam is a privilege so I don’t allow myself to steam unless I meditate. I lie down on the bench and say the rosary in my head. I know this sounds cheesy but I visualize a small light in me that grows and grows and as it grows all the dark matter leaves my body. It’s the perfect combination of meditation and prayer and the fact I don’t allow myself to steam unless I practice my ritual is the best set up for me. And the kicker is since I love steaming, I don’t allow myself that luxury unless I pray and meditate.
If you are someone that struggles with meditation, and you believe in prayer I suggest you try bridging the two. It might have taken me decades to figure it out but, better late than never right.