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Meditation: Time to Stop & Listen


As a co-active coach, one of the underlying principles that I subscribe to is that everyone has their own answers within. Most of what I do as a coach is to give people the time, space and permission to find these answers (and sometimes I provide a question or two to get things going).

So, outside of a coaching session, how can we learn to access these answers that we all have? One thing that I'm learning is that the answers can't come to me if my head is always busy figuring things out, working, talking, or reading. If I'm doing those things, I'm actually blocking myself from hearing my own wise answers.

One sure way to get an answer to a question is to ask the question and listen for an answer. We're all quite well-versed at this practice, "Have you seen my briefcase?", "What would you like to do for dinner tonight?", "When is that report due?".

And what I've noticed for myself is that I forget this logic when it comes to listening for my own answers. Rarely do I sit quietly and listen. Rarer still do I actually intentionally *ask* myself a question.

I'm working at increasing my practice of asking and listening for answers from within. Since I'm still a beginner, I thought I'd ask someone with more experience to speak further on this topic with us.

Karen Kofman, who co-led a workshop on "Gratitude" with me in November 2003, has a background in corporate training. She currently gives workshops of a spiritual nature involving inner serenity. Karen practices reiki, aromaptherapy, yoga and meditation.

Linda: What is your definition of meditation?

Karen: Meditation is a process to empty and calm the mind, which results in a sense of peace, serenity and calmness and eventually opening yourself to new insights and a sense of overall well-being.

Linda: How has your life changed since you've been practicing meditation regularly?

Karen: Meditation has come into my life very slowly, when I first started I didn't notice much change, but over time, there have been major spiritual and emotional awakenings. I am more settled, less anxious, have more energy and am less judgmental of those around me.

Linda: What's the best way for someone to start meditating?

Karen: The first thing I want to make clear is that meditation is not complicated, doesn't take a lot of time, and can be done by anyone. Most of us have dabbled in meditation by participating in conscious relaxation, perhaps during an exercise class or sport activity.

Here is a meditation exercise you can try for yourself.

Start by paying attention to your breathing. The practical effect of focusing completely on your breathing leads to a sense of calmness, as it takes your mind away from the "clutter" that constantly tries to invade.

Take a few deep breaths to relax your body and mind. Begin to breath again and with each exhalation feel your body relax into a peaceful state. Let go of thoughts, worries. Feel the presence of stillness within you. Feel a softness around your heart.

If thoughts emerge, acknowledge them and go back to your breath. Continue this process for 3-10 minutes to begin and you may increase the time as you feel necessary.

With repeated efforts, the goal of clearing your mind to think of nothing will come more easily. You will have the ability to be clear and open and to welcome spaces for fresh and clean thoughts to emerge. The process of meditation will begin to take on its own energies.

Thanks so much to Karen Kofman for sharing her wisdom with us this month! It's certainly inspired me to "stop and listen" more often.

(c) Copyright 2005, Genuine Coaching Services.

Linda Dessau, the Self-Care Coach, is the author of "The Everyday Self-Care Workbook". To receive one of her free monthly newsletters, subscribe at http://www.genuinecoaching.com/newsletter.html


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