Structured Meditation

I love my new Jon-Kabat Zinn Guided Mindfulness Meditation CDs.  They are the companion CDs to his book “Wherever You Go, There you Are” which I reviewed a while back.

These practice CDs are fabulous because they provide structure which makes me actually do it!  (not every day, but  3-4 days/week for 10-20 minutes)

Here is my mini review of the 4 CD package:

1. Sitting Meditations (10, 20 and 30 minutes) –  You can select a track based on how long you want to sit and he does some talking and some silence during the practice.  He does have a weird accent which I can’t quite place.  Unfortunately, I wonder about this during almost every sitting when I am not supposed to be thinking about anything.

2. Lying Down Meditations (10, 20, and 30 minutes) – these are nice.  It feels more like a “calgon take me away” activity if you get to lie down while you are doing it.  There is a whole CD dedicated to this which means it is totally OK!

3. Mountain Meditation and Lake Meditations – I tried the Mountain Meditation once. 30 whole minutes of trying to envision your self as a mountain.  Strong and solid and ever changing with the seasons, is what I recall.  A little bit out there, but kind of nice for a city girl to imagine she is nature for a bit.  Good to mix it up. I like the idea of being a mountain or a lake.  Sounds peaceful, right?

4. Silence with Bells – I have not tried this one yet.  It has one 30 minute practice where bells ring at set intervals and a second where bells ring at random times,  “sometimes quite chaotic”.  The CD cover says something about “cultivating equanimity in the face of the unexpected.”  This seems like something I might need to work up to.  I will start with the set internals of course (structure!), maybe this weekend, and eventually graduate to the chaos.  The good thing is, no distracting accent!

The CD cover also says “CAUTION: Do not use these programs while you are driving”.  That cracks me up.

And yes, CDs do still actually exist.  Kabat Zinn has upgraded from cassette tapes, but has not made the leap to digital tracks yet.  Luckily, I was bequeathed an old stereo w/CD player a while back which the universe must have intended for just for this purpose.

I did actually consider Deepak Chopra’s 21 day meditation challenge which started yesterday.  They e-mail one guided meditation each day, but I could not find information about how long each session was.  How could I plan time to do these meditations with no specific time?  See, I need structure!  I got frustrated and realized I could just use my CDs that I love and just try to stick with it for 21 days (the amount of time it takes to develop a new habit.)  Not sure I am ready for every day, but now it is out there on the internet so I guess I have to try.