Mornings meditations are magical, especially when this quiet time is focused on the heart space. Use this 7-minute meditation to create your seasonal life with intention. Read on to learn the whys and hows of strong and supportive morning meditation practice.
This post also contains affiliate links based on my personal experience with products that support a seasonal lifestyle. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. I hope you find them useful.
The 12-Day Winter Wellness Challenge
December and January are tough for even the hardiest seasonlist. So much darkness surrounding housebound days. So many of us are struggling with more intensity because of the added stress of pandemic lockdown.
Sign up for the 12-Day Winter Wellness Challenge and join this seasonal living community with daily activities that support personal wellness during the darkest days of winter.
What is meditation?
When I first began meditating in my 20s, I thought the end result was a mind devoid of thought. This intention created a lot of struggle in my heart and mind. My experience was anything but peaceful.
Then, like many, I began to see meditation as a stress management strategy. I cultivated an awareness of my breath to help me manage life as a single mom and community activist.
It wasn’t until I joined the Shambhala Community in Baltimore that I began to understand what meditation truly is intended to create in one’s life. That peaceful and loving community taught me through lessons and by example that meditation is about creating a relationship to the self that is strong and stable at my center while thoughts and events swirl through and around my daily life.
That is my own definition of meditation.
The formal definition of meditation
Meditation can be a practice, like this morning meditation on opening the heart center. It is a consistent and regular part of one’s day practiced bringing clarity to the mind, openness to the heart, and stillness to the body.
Meditation is a practice where an individual uses a technique – such as mindfulness or focusing the mind on a particular object, thought, or activity – to train attention and awareness, and achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm and stable state.Wikipedia
Enjoy the 7-minute Moring Meditaiton to Open the Heart Space!
Why do we meditate?
As mentioned above, people meditate for any number of reasons: stress management, in pursuit of peace and equanimity, as a part of their manifestation exercises, as prayer, and to pursue enlightenment.
As I’ve sat in quiet contemplation and meditation with Quakers, Buddhists, ecopsychologists, Shamans, and various other communities of practitioners, I’ve come to discover a unifying intention among practitioners. They possess a belief in a potential greater than the reality they experience in the non-meditative state. By connecting with a particular method of meditation, they cultivate a regular practice that eventually opens up to profound experiences of tranquility, insight, awareness, and clarity.
I believe we meditate to have an experience of the radical interconnectedness of all beings.
Tell me, why do you meditate? Leave a comment in the thread below.
What are the benefits of a regular meditation practice?
Researching the benefits of meditation is a little challenging.
First, we need to be clear about what we mean when we say meditation. For this post, I am referring to the benefits of various mindfulness meditations, like the one we are practicing with the Morning Meditation to Open the Heart Space.
Harvard University is studying the benefits of mindfulness meditation. They are especially interested in the impact a regular practice has on depression and anxiety.
- Gaining a new perspective on stressful situations.
- Building skills to manage your stress.
- Increasing self-awareness.
- Focusing on the present.
- Reducing negative emotions.
- Increasing imagination and creativity.
- Increasing patience and tolerance.
How would you describe the primary benefits of your regular meditaiton practice?
Why morning meditations?
It is said, and I believe, that the way you begin your day is the way you live your day.
This is true with diet, exercise, and hydration. I find it to be especially true with my internal state of being.
The periods of my life where I have a regular morning meditation practice have cultivated resilience and creativity in the way I meet the moments of my day. I feel more closely connected to my relationship with the Divine. And for me, most importantly, I take the moods and habits of others much less personally.
The Heart Center
By placing attention on the heart space while contemplating caring, compassion, appreciation, and love we positively impact what we attract and retain in our own lives. The scientific research of HMI is demonstrating that moments of collective attention to the heart space with similar intentions can affect levels of violence and fear-based actions in communities.
Experience this morning meditation to see the impact of the heart space for yourself. Then, explore the work of the Heart Math Institute to be a force for good in challenging times.
Keep this in mind while preparing for your morning meditation practice…
Because we are sensual beings, the environment we create for our meditation experience can make or break the practice. For this morning meditation, we want to reduce the amount of sensory experience. This will heighten our awareness of the heart space and allow you to experience its’ opening more fully.
Create the right environment for your morning meditation
Tend to these 5 things to create an optimized space for your morning meditaiton:
- A private space where you can sit undisturbed for the 7 minutes of the meditation, perhaps a little longer.
- A way to sit comfortably either on the floor or in a comfortable chair. You will want to remain upright.
- Set a comfortable temperature so that chills or excessive heat do not distract you.
- Listen to the meditation with earbuds to eliminate distracting sounds from the surrounding environment.
- Set an intention for the meditation before you begin.
Eyes open or closed?
Various meditation practices will give differing instructions regarding eyes open or eyes closed. Because we seek to eliminate as much input from the senses as possible, we will do this meditation with eyes closed.
Straight back and relaxed body
To remain awake and alert during an eyes-closed meditation, it is important to maintain an upright position. Find an equilibrium in the body that allows for a straight back, with shoulders down in a relaxed position.
Since we focus on the heart space, we do not want the body to collapse around the center. Rather, we seek to have a courageous, open-hearted posture.
Why we focus on the breath
We focus on the breath in meditation to give the mind a place to rest.
We also take several deep, extended breaths to signal to the body it is safe and can relax.
This relaxed state associated with deep, regular breaths shifts brainwaves from Beta to Alpha. Alpha brainwaves are associated with the experience of presence or the ‘power of now’.
The best resource to understand brainwaves, meditation, and experiences of consciousness is Dr. Joe Dispenza. Here’s a quick introduction to brainwaves and experience:
Thoughts arise naturally
In closing, I want to encourage you to be gentle with yourself. Know that thoughts arise naturally. Meditation isn’t about ceasing thoughts.
Meditation is the practice of allowing thoughts and experiences to arise and allowing them to pass without engaging with them. My favorite meditation teacher from that Shambhala Center in Baltimore once said: thoughts arise, the trick is to not invite them to tea.
Helpful Meditation Apps
I’ve used meditation apps off and on over the years. Honestly, these days, I find YouTube to be the best app for maintaining a daily meditation practice. There are high-quality meditations from any number of traditions that allow you to explore the discipline affordably and with ease.
That being said, here are two useful meditation apps that can help you build a reliable and enjoyable morning meditation practice.
- Insight Timer: I love this app because I can find meditations from one of my favorite Buddhist teachers on it. His name is Bhante Sujata, also known as the Loving-Kindness Monk. Insight Timer has courses, music, and other medications plentiful in the free version of the app.
- Ten Percent Happier: they say it is the meditation app for skeptics. All I know is you can find good instruction here from some of my favorite teachers.
There are plenty more but start with these 2 first. Stay away from Headspace. It’s just a money suck. IMHO.
Use these affirmations to help your mindset throughout the day
A couple more meditations form Lorrie Season to help you start your day in a better frame of mind:
Mindful Eating Affirmations
Be sure to grab your gratitude journal!
A daily gratitude practice is good for your mindset, your health, and creating a seasonal life! Read on to learn a morning meditation for your gratitude practice. I created a FREE gratitude journal to support your daily practice. It’s available through the form below. Enjoy!
It’s all part of the seasonal living framework!
The seasonal living framework rests on 5 pillars: gardening, cooking, self-care, activism, and astrology. Learn all about it by clicking the image below and download the Seasonal Living Framework Workbook!
There’s a party happening and we’re waiting for you to arrive!
We also gather over email once a week to focus on one specific garden, kitchen, or wellness topic in-depth, with lots of step-by-step how-to’s. The best way to jump into the email conversation is with the Seasonal Living Workbook; you can download it here and explore the seasonal living framework with an email course!
So much love and free information in one place, but it’s not the same without YOU!