Stop and Listen (Meditation)
By Linda Dessau, the Self-Care Coach
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 steer them in the right direction).
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
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 the "Gratitude" workshop 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, aromatherapy,
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
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. •
© Copyright 2005, Genuine Coaching Services. 04/28/05
About the Author | More by Linda Dessau
Linda Dessau, the Self-Care Coach, helps artists enhance their creativity by addressing their unique self-care issues. Feel like your creativity is blocked? Sign-up for the free e-course, "Roadblocks to Creativity" by visiting www.genuinecoaching.com.