Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Has meditating made me a better writer? By Sandy Semerad

I've been practicing meditation for a while now. The operative word is “practicing.” I’m still trying to get the hang of it.

I've practiced with Depak Chopra and Oprah on some of their 21-day meditations. I've listened and followed dutifully as they've guided me, hopefully to a higher plane.

As you probably know, the meditation process includes deep breathing and repeating mantras and trying to block out brain static.

Some of the Hindu mantras are doozies to pronounce. Many of them are mouthfuls, like Om Gum Ganapatayei Namah. But if this mantra can remove obstacles as it’s supposed to do, I’m all for it. I just need to learn to say it properly.

I like the mantra Om better. It’s simple and easy to repeat and is supposed to bring me in harmony with the universe. I love harmony, although I write about murder and mayhem, and if repeating Om can synchronize me with my higher power, I’m in.

Whether I’m participating in a guided meditation or practicing on my own, I begin by getting comfortable. I like to lie down, not sit up. There’s the danger of falling asleep this way but so be it.

I start by inhaling and exhaling slowly and deeply while focusing on my breathing. I also observe my body, which can be a deterrent, if it’s aching and tense. I zoom in on my body parts. Tell my body to let go and imagine I’m melting wax. Sometimes my body listens, sometimes not so much.

Next, I observe my mind. This is tricky. My mind loves to wander. I try to be positive, but my mind has been known to dwell on negative stuff, and I have to replace the negative crap with positive affirmations. I do this by making a mental list of the things I’m grateful for and say, “thank you” for each one.

After I’ve completed my grateful list, I repeat a mantra. As I mentioned earlier, I like Om, but here’s a list of others that are supposed to seep into your soul and turn negative habits into positive ones:

Om Namah Shivaya—this mantra is supposed to increase self-confidence and divine energy.

Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu—This mantra means, “May all beings everywhere be happy and free, and may the thoughts, words, and actions of my own life contribute in some way to the happiness and to the freedom of all.”

Shanti Mantra Om Saha Naavavatu Saha Nau Bhunaktu Saha Veeryam Karavaavahai Tejasvi Aavadheetamastu Maa Vidvishaavahai Om—(Best of luck on repeating this one). It’s easier to say the English translation: “May the Lord protect and bless us and nourish us. Give us strength to work together for the good of humanity. May our learning be brilliant and purposeful. May we never turn against one another.”

I've been told it’s best to meditate daily and with time I hope to become more proficient. I usually try to practice for 10 minutes and longer if possible.

Although I’m still learning the process, I’d like to think meditation has made me a better author. My writing muse seems to be in favor of it. She’s the one who spurs my creativity, gives me ideas for my story lines and characters, and helps me connect with the great creator. What more could I ask?

 Below are three of my books. A couple of my characters have been known to meditate: 

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