Meditation is not just sitting silently in a lotus position with your hands folded in your lap.
There are many forms which can be done alone or in group: sitting, standing, lying down or moving; in the morning or anytime during the day.
Sitting meditation has many variations: breath-focused, mantra-focused (repeating a sacred word or phrase), music-focused, mandala-focused (drawing or coloring sacred visual patterns), centering prayer, and guided visualization to mention a few.
In addition to sitting meditations, there are also moving meditations: tai chi chuan, tai chi chih, chi gung, yoga, ecstatic dance, walking meditation, labyrinth walking, dances of universal peace and more.
All of them are designed to do one thing: bring peace. Inner harmony is why meditation is so beneficial to de-stressing the body, mind and spirit. Inner peace is inner stillness, a wonderful sense of being, of connection with the divine, of love.
There is no one "right way" to do meditation. Whatever form brings you to that deep inner stillness is right for you at that time. A walk in nature can be a wonderful meditation -- anything that brings you into the present moment and away from worries of the past and future.
Meditation is relaxing and rewarding. Practicing an individual form for 20 minutes at a time everyday is recommended, but longer sessions of an hour or so with multiple forms can also be beneficial in quieting your monkey-mind (the chatter in your head) while allowing your body to be more relaxed, and thus permitting you to go deeper and deeper into the core awareness of your self.
We are fortunate in Walla Walla to have so many options for learning and practicing meditation. I hope you will find one that is perfect for you.
Joy Kachel is spiritual leader at Unity Church of Peace, where she offers Meditation for Inner Harmony classes on Tuesday evenings from 6:30-8 p.m. She is also a master energy healer and teaches healing classes and facilitates a monthly reiki healing circle. You can reach her at the church at 509-520-1915 or personally at 509-529-1048. Go to www.drjoykachel.com for class information and registration.