Minefield Meditation, or “What Was I Thinking?”

People often ask me “What kind of meditation do you teach?” or “Do you teach ‘Mindfulness’ Meditation?” If they are roughly over 40 or 50, they might tell me how they once did  TM. I am never satisfied with how I answer their reasonable questions, and don’t promise to do any better here. I teach time-weathered techniques that will help a person to meditate, based on what I’ve learned as well as on my own experiences during the golden decades of the “meditation revolution” and since then. But after that, your experience is your own and up to you. Eyes closed and sitting still are standard prerequisites, but walking eyes open in a park or garden can be too.

I started studying yoga to fulfill a P.E. requirement in college, before the Age of Branding (of meditation and yoga). Later, as a spiritual aspirant, I, like many peers, studied a bit of Eastern philosophy, Kabbalah, Iyengar Yoga, etc.  My eclecticism was subject to whim and personal interest. Meditation steers us to our own unique practice that simply defies branding, even if we are loyal adherents to a particular Path. Meditation leads us inward to explore our unique make up, observe our own minds and detach from identifying with our thoughts. Your meditation is the kind of meditation you do, with the tools, techniques, or teachers you acquire along the way. Call it TM, Zen, Shmen, Mindful, and whatever you call it, keep it fresh and juicy! 

For now, stop and take five meditative minutes. Clear your mind. Then wonder at life’s synchronicities—the phone call by “mistake” that leads to a promising job, the “inner voice” heard that urges you to do something “out of the blue” that turns out to be beneficial or avert a disaster. Be surprised. That being said, here’s a handle on it:

1.Repeat a mantra silently or out loud. A beautiful one is “Aham Brahmasmi,” “I am That,” “That” being the Unifying Principle, Oneness, the Field or the Self, etc.

2.Give the mind its moment to chatter and then stop it in its tracks with a question, such as “What was I thinking?”  It’s like going down a hiking trail and realizing you’re on a dead end path. You simply change directions. Surprisingly, the perfect way unfolds soon as you let it. 

We don’t need to call this practice “mindfulness,” “awareness” or by any other name, But if you like names, you can call it Minefield Meditation as in “we’re in the mines, mining and minding our own business.” We can choose (or “mine”) the light of present awareness over the dark of past regrets or future worries. We can take away what’s “mine” and be left with the “field,” both a goal and state of meditation. Dwell in the field before going back to the mines. 

Celebrate freedom this July 4th weekend by freeing your mind and being open to surprise.


About sheilaklewis

As a writing coach, meditation teacher, writer, and academic tutor, I'm passionate about words and the silent spaces between words. In this context, I run book clubs and writers' groups where the resonance of carefully crafted words can spark readers and writers to share their own stories. Connecting through conversation; making memories matter; embracing editing and revision, and imaginative wordplay are some solo and collective outcomes. I came to what I call my "Meditate Write Now" practice after years of art-making, writing grants, curriculum, children's stories, and more. Meditation kept my mind from meandering too far off point and also led me to write from the still point within. May our paths cross in creative journeys across time and internet connections! Other details: My husband and I are the parents of two amazing sons and one daughter-in-law, and smitten grandparents of Micah (born December, 2013). I don't drive, and have lived in the same apartment on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, for too long.
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6 Responses to Minefield Meditation, or “What Was I Thinking?”

  1. reikiforlife says:

    Thanks,Sheila, for the cool thoughts.

  2. Soli Davis says:

    I love the no hurry Island.. it sounds like a great space to create in one’s own mind… I loved your article too.. thank you as always for the insightful thoughts!

    • sheilaklewis says:

      no hurry island is probably in direct opposition to running for the
      hurried Long Island Rail Road, as I have done many times. So no hurries
      or worries or flurries!!

  3. reikiforlife says:

    yes, no hurry, even if it’s something you want to do, like see a film… no reason to rush, things will come around again.

  4. AJ says:

    Your last sentence, dwell in the field before going back to the mines, is so simply powerful. I also muse, as you did, that dwelling in the feilds of doing what you love or being with those you love or being in a location you love may at some point cancel out the effects of going back to the “mines” at all. Perhaps with mindful thinking we can transform the idea of going back to the “mines” into the idea of simply solving life’s problems in the light.

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