Just to begin with, I’m no expert on meditation, and I haven’t been doing it all that long, less than a year. For years I thought you had to hold perfectly still, breath a certain way, and clear your mind of all thoughts in order to meditate. So I thought it was something I couldn’t do, as I had so much trouble with all of the above.
But then I did some reading, and I discovered that I could use tools to relax and focus on something, and it’s still meditation. So I use music, candles, and incense to create a quite atmosphere. Then I may use some tools, like 3×5 cards with affirmations written on them, in order to focus my thoughts rather than get rid of them completely. Another tool I use is a string of Mala beads, where I chant the name of the Goddess, one for each bead.
The important thing is that I’m learning to sit still, quiet my busy mind to just a few thoughts at a time, and I call this meditation.
Sometimes I have trouble even doing that, so I’ll begin my meditation by giving myself Reiki, and this relaxes me to a point where I can pick up my affirmation cards or beads. Letting go of the stress of life even for just a few minutes can change my outlook for hours afterwards.
Other times I count backwards from 12 to 1, and create a sacred place within my imagination where I can find peace and quiet enough to listen. And I hear and see things that are useful or inspirational to me that I can carry with me from the meditation. Or I’ll pray, or list all the things I’m grateful for.
When the incense has burned down and I blow the candles out and turn off the music, I return to my ordinary world a little more relaxed, with a little more clarity. If I keep it up for several days in a row, I’m a happier person as a result, and that feeling of calm stays with me throughout the day. What I don’t do is judge my performance, because it’s not about that. It’s about finding a quiet space within myself, and learning to listen. That’s how I meditate.