The definitions of meditation:
– To think deeply or focus one’s mind for a period of time, in silence or with the aid of chanting, for religious or spiritual purposes or as a method of relaxation.
– To think deeply or carefully about (something). To contemplate, muse, consider, reflect, or ruminate.
– Plan mentally; consider.
I used to think I knew what meditation was. I believed it was a religious and/or spiritual experience one gained by quieting the mind long enough to allow for a transcending experience. Basically, I thought it was kind of hokey. If it had any impact at all, I figured it was for Monks whose whole basis of life is a devout and/or religious way of being. Either way, I was pretty sure it was not for me.
Recently (on my path to becoming a counselor), I started hearing about all these different studies being done that show how positive of an impact meditation has on the brain. The studies show people who practice meditation have a higher chance of staving off or completely avoiding mental illnesses as they age. It apparently also aids in your brain’s natural neuroplasticity. Needless to say, the studies and a handful of ted talks gained my interest enough, I finally decided to go see for myself what all the fuss was about.
I researched meditation facilities all over the state and finally settled on Mayu Sanctuary. I was looking for a more secular form of meditation that could be adapted to anyone’s lifestyle, regardless of their religious or spiritual beliefs. This venue was the perfect fit and not too far of a drive from either my home or work. I browsed the website and then ended up visiting to get a feel for the place. I thought I was just going to browse their small store and ask a few questions about meditation. I ended up meeting the owner, who is also a meditation instructor. She was very informative and super nice. My whole stay ended up being a little over three hours!
During this time I participated in a footbath meditation, bought a meditation pillow and signed up for three private meditation lessons. The footbath meditation session was fabulous! It consisted of a meditation specifically designed for a 45 min footbath, which walked through relaxing every part of the body, with a few built-in silent sections that allowed you to just absorb the moment. The footbath itself was a beautiful wooden bucket. I chose Lavender and Peppermint combined with sea salt from a selection of herbs and salts. The bucket was carried for me to a super comfy chair covered with soft blankets you could drape to stay warm. A towel was placed over the bare part of my legs and part of the bucket to help keep the smell and warmth close. It was also there to dry your feet off when you were done. Complimentary tea or water was offered and I was given a bell to ring should my water get cold. I was invited to stay as long as I liked!
After my foot bath, I was treated to a 30 min demonstration of the meditations pillows, where the owner explained the proper sitting positions on each pillow and then invited me to try them out at my leisure. I had no idea there were so many different options and eventually chose a lovely round, dark brown and blue meditation pillow. This versatile pillow is meant for either a kneeling position where you essentially straddle it or a cross-legged position at an angle. It spoke to me as a sensual earth tone with a splash of color, which is so me.
By the time I left I was amazingly relaxed as if I had spent a whole day at a spa! My mind was clear and not nearly as noisy/chatty as it usually is. I knew in my heart, I was about to venture on a journey with an unknown destination or anticipated travel time.
Here is the link to the place which has inspired me.