Are there things you know that will make your life better and easier, and yet you can’t figure out how to incorporate them into your routine?
One of my key omissions is meditation and silence. That’s why I was very excited when I interviewed Sarah McLean, author of Soul Centered: Transform Your Life with 8 Weeks of Meditation. McLean’s father had dementia and she understands how difficult it can be to offer yourself those few moments of silence.
For McLean, the silence has been an important part of her spiritual and personal growth.
“By practicing silence, we explore our intuition and our connection to the divine,” McLean says. “When I sit quietly, I become more aware of my own thoughts and I notice the habits that keep me from seeing the beauty in life,”
McLean offers these simple tips for inviting mindful silence into your life.
Wake up with awareness.
Give yourself a slice of silence for the first five minutes of your morning. Avoid instant connections to people, TV, radio or Internet.
When possible, walk outdoors. Listen to the sounds and feel the stillness.
Enjoy a Silent Snack
For one meal or snack a day, turn off all noise and eat in silence. Be present with the taste of your food.
Practice Silence by Listening
Being a listener is a great way to start practicing silence. Wait until you are moved to speak; don’t compulsively fill up the quiet.
Practice Silence with Your Loved One Who Has Dementia
McLean wrote this after a visit with her father:
“There seemed to be nothing I could say to relate to him and to jar his memory. One day, I sat with him and meditated. Somewhere during my meditation, I had the thought to open my eyes to be sure he was all right. I was surprised to see him sitting up, alert, bright eyed, and smiling. He looked blissful and joyous. I closed my eyes and continued to meditate. When I left that day, I felt as if I had connected with him, and he with me for the first time in years. As a meditation teacher, I was amazed that it had taken me this long to think to do this. I visited him a few more times in December and early January and meditated, and felt fulfilled again and again. “
By adding in those moments of silence, you’re inviting more joy, fulfillment, inspiration, and connection.
Along with her 25 year meditation practice, Sarah McLean has explored world spiritual and cultural traditions: she’s been a 2-year resident in a Zen Buddhist monastery, lived in an ashram in India, taught English to Tibetan Buddhist nuns, bicycled along the silk route through Pakistan, meditated in temples in Thailand and Japan, and trekked the Golden Triangle in Asia. She worked with Deepak Chopra for eight years as the Program Director of the Chopra Center for Well Being. Sarah McLean is passionate about teaching and sharing what she’s discovered about the modalities of mind/body health, self-awareness and her spiritual journey. Endorsed by Deepak Chopra and featured in The New York Times, Sarah is the founding director of the McLean Meditation Institute in Sedona, Arizona, which offers meditation classes, retreats and teacher certification courses. www.McLeanMeditation.com.