Poll: Meditation

lotus by Raman VirdiFor the past year, I’ve been trying to do meditation on my own. I’m horrible at it. Every five years or so I try it again.

In the past, I’ve done it purely for secular reasons–to help from feeling overwhelmed, to ease some physical pain, or just to feel a little more peace. But, lately, I’ve been thinking that that might be my problem. What if I used meditation as a companion to my other spiritual practices?

Another potential problem could be that I’ve always tried to do it on my own. I’ve listened to a couple podcasts, read a couple books (literally, 2). But, nothing really spoke to me.

So, my poll today is purely selfish. And, I’d love to hear about your experiences with meditation (What helps, what doesn’t? Why did you start? Why do you continue?) in the comments section.



EmilyCC lives in Phoenix, Arizona with her spouse and three children. She currently serves as a stake Just Serve specialists, and she recently returned to school to become a nurse. She is a former editor of Exponent II and a founding blogger at The Exponent.

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8 Responses

  1. Howard says:

    I’ve meditated for years, now I can slip in and out of trances at will as I go through my day but it was difficult to learn at first. You’re going for the; oh my gosh how did I drive the last 3 miles without even knowing it trance, but knowing you’re in it while you are. It’s simple to describe; just stop thinking! But that’s almost impossible to do so instead you give a small part of your mind something simple and repetitive to do while you listen, create or relax rather than daydream using the rest of your mind. It takes a lot of practice but it gets easier as you go. I began during early morning scripture study. When ever I felt the Spirit I concentrated and meditated on that feeling/signal attempting to stay with it for as long as I could. Later after I knew the basics I switched to listening to Enya while I meditated. Here’s a trick that helps many easily enter a trance bow your head and imagine looking at a focal point in front of you through your third eye instead of your eyes.

  2. MDearest says:

    I have pretty lame prayer habits, probably because I don’t like approaching prayer as a duty. I know I suffer the consequences of that, and I’ve wondered about meditation as a form of prayer. My sister, who left the church as a teenager, practiced meditation off and on for years. She has joined another Christian church and has a strong testimony of the Savior. I wonder if it could benefit my chronic depression, and perhaps the Lord might like seeing me be more diligent.

    (my .02)

  3. Janna says:

    Hi Emily – I’ve found guided meditations extremely helpful, as I have a very busy mind. The key for me has been being able to listen to them on my iPod/iPhone – the voice directly in my ears really helps.

    Back in 2005 when I started meditating, my “training wheels” meditations were Deepak Chopra’s “The Soul of Healing Meditations.” I moved on to Erich Schiffmann’s “iMeditate” app – he’s cooky, but so insightful. He starts his meditations off with a little chat, then goes into the meditation for 10-15 minutes. I recommend his “50 to 1” counting method. I also enjoy the “iRelax’ app that includes Yoga Nidra meditations, which are wonderful for stress reduction.

  4. Jess says:

    I started meditating when I was in college. It is really hard at first, but well worth it. It has helped me with my concentration and stress, but I’ve also noticed it is easier for me to be assertive. I think it’s because one of the side effects of learning to clear my mind has been that it’s easier to sort out what I really think from what other people think, or what I “should” think, and I’m more secure in owning my thoughts and opinions.
    I agree that there is definitely a spiritual element to it, too. Some of my clearest answers to prayer have come while I was meditating. (Again, it is easier for me to sort out my voice from the voice of the Spirit.)
    One thing that helps me is ambient white noise. When I was first starting out, breathing exercises were what helped the most; having something physical that was so connected to my body to focus on made concentration a lot easier.
    Best of luck!

  5. Em says:

    I “tried” once but I don’t think it counts. A boyfriend convinced me to try, but it was SUPER awkward because we were in his parents’ living room and they kept walking in and I felt embarrassed. So needless to say it was not a powerful or even positive experience. I’ve never tried it since and to be truthful I’ve never really wanted to.

  6. MB says:

    I haven’t tried the kinds of meditation books are written about.

    That’s probably because I have the sort of mind that I can get to calm down and be quiet and let go and get enlightened if I sit quietly in a tranquil room and stare out the window or go for a walk just observing or spend 15 minutes in the sunshine watching trees. Reading a few verses of the Sermon on the Mount and pondering them uninterrupted while staring into space works for me too. I try to do one of those things most days.

    Does that count as meditation? Perhaps for me it does.

    However, everyone has a different sort of mind. If my mind was speedier or more talkative than it is and I couldn’t get it to stop running full speed by doing the above, I’d probably try more conventional meditation to see if it would help.

  7. spunky says:

    I used to do more meditation when I was young, but lost a bit of it in the last few years. I sort of do semi-meditation now, usually when I am putting little ones down for bed, and need to stay there to comfort them. It is quiet and dark, so I find short sessions at that time help me. Its unorthodox, but I do what I can.

  8. Judy Curtis says:

    I have tried many different forms of meditation over the years in connection with studying various religions and at length have come to the conclusion that all forms are different ways to accomplish the same thing. I recently did a series on Kundalini meditation and realized after a couple of sessions that it was their version of the Holy Ghost. The more you learn, the more it all comes together. I tend to incorporate those that work best for me into my belief system and it all makes life more meaningful and insightful into the self. Here is a current one that is universal and gives me great peace. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tW4nyzXPDbE&feature=related.

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