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Karen Maleck-Whiteley: More ways to get your meditation on

Live Well, Stress Less

Posted: August 5, 2010 10:35 p.m.
Updated: August 6, 2010 4:55 a.m.

As I recently meditated on last month’s article, considering what to share with you this month, I recalled two more wonderful tools for meditation, stress reduction and breath training.

Remember, there are many paths to the state produced by the practice of meditation. The key is to find a method that works for you so you can develop a regular practice of relaxation and connection.

We all need the physical, mental and spiritual health benefits that flow from regular relaxation and mental quiet time.

One path may be high tech meditation — connect to your inner self through your computer

For all of you technology babies, this product is right up your alley. “The Journey to the Wild Divine: the Passage” is the one of several programs offered by the folks at Wild Divine (

This program is beautifully done, with gorgeous graphics and music. You use what they call an “active-feedback” device — three finger sensors send your body responses to the computer and allow you to make things happen onscreen.

Think biofeedback combined with a wonderful interactive game.

Teachers like Dr. Deepak Chopra speak to you as you move throughout this virtual world and help you learn beneficial techniques.

Even young children can use “The Passage.”

One of my ADHD children worked his way through this program as well as the second companion program, “playing” it as a game, but all the while learning important focus and relaxation techniques he still uses today.

He loved the way you get to build stairways with your breath, open doors with meditation and juggle balls with your laughter.

Wild Divine also offers a more traditional program teaching guided meditation called Relaxing Rhythms.

This program also uses the feedback device and features guided meditations done by many famous health and wellness professionals including Dr. Andrew Weil and Dr. Dean Ornish.

These products are a little pricey ($299.95 on the Wild Divine site), but I found them to be well worth it.

For those who prefer low-tech meditation, try connecting to the external world through nature

If you can think of nothing worse than sitting indoors for a couple of hours literally attached to a computer, there are other methods to achieve your own regular meditative state in the outside world.

Noticing and connecting to nature is one of the best ways to develop a grounded, balanced sense of yourself and feel better at the same time.

All that is required is a little time and a place to be which makes you feel good.

You can start in your own backyard. Try sitting outside for 10 to 20 minutes a day in the morning or evening. Think of this as your quiet time.

Start by watching what is going on in nature. This is all you have to do. Watch the wind rustle the leaves of the trees.

Watch what the birds or squirrels are doing. Watch the ripples on your pool or the splashes of your fountain.

If thoughts intrude or you get distracted, just go back to your observation of everything you can notice.

If you are lucky enough to be at a beach — or somewhere else more remote in nature — notice the waves, the heat of the sand and the clouds going by.

Or watch the constantly changing flow of a creek or the flow of the wind through the redwoods. Focus on really small things too — the bee going from flower to flower on your lavender bush or the ant trying to carry something much larger than itself. Just notice and observe.

Now close your eyes and notice everything you can hear — the sound of the breeze in the trees, the birds calling to each other, the gurgle or splashing of the water, the quiet in between.

Notice you can focus on sounds close by and then expand your awareness to hear sounds farther and farther away — people talking in another yard, cars on the road, a far-off siren.

Focus on the sounds inside yourself: your breathing, your own pulse, your digestion. Notice how calm you have become.

If it is dark out, try laying on a blanket outside and watching the night sky.

Notice the planes going by and the constellations and planets you can see. If you watch carefully, you may see satellites going by — they look like tiny stars moving in a straight line.

You may also be able to count some falling stars, especially during this time of the year.

The farther you get away from the city lights, the better the viewing will be, but it still works in the Santa Clarita Valley.

As you lay there, relax and breathe. There is nothing else you need to do for this little while but be you, laying on your spot of earth, spinning in space, a part of it all.

If you have a nature-related hobby, such as fishing, gardening, hiking or bird-watching, you can do the same thing while enjoying your hobby.

In the quiet spaces, practice noticing all the beautiful details of the place you are in, using all of your senses.

You may even notice after a while you develop a heightened sense of things or experience time slowing down, things becoming magnified or brighter, and a feeling of being immersed in and a part of your environment.

The goal is to add at least a few minutes of any of these techniques from last month into your daily and weekly routines.

The more you practice these few minutes of quiet time, the more life becomes easier to handle and the better you feel.

Karen Maleck-Whiteley is a certified hypnotherapist, coach, speaker, and author. Karen is also the co-owner of Balance Point Spa in Canyon Country.


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