Prayer – Meditation – Spiritual communication – Be Quiet – Pause – Reflect – Gratitude
There are entire books dedicated to Prayer. Web pages by the hundreds devoted to meditation. I am no expert on the subject. I am sharing what works for me. In my opinion, prayer/meditation is a powerful coping skill. I will devote a page to prayer and meditation adding quotes and ideas to help. Not every person has the same level of faith in God. Not everyone practices the same religion. Even going to the same church, people will respond differently to the suggestion to pray. What can prayer do for a person with PTSD? It is a time to Pause – reflect – acknowledge things I am grateful for. Meditation is an opportunity to clear and control my own mind. One of the challenges of PTSD are hyper-alert, chaotic thinking, and mind overload. I highly recommend taking time each day to sit quietly and keep the mind quiet. I started with 15 seconds. Yup. That is very short. It is a powerful feat for me to remain quiet inside and out for 15 seconds. I haven’t gone past 5 minutes. The time is so short, one could reasonably ask how this could possibly help? Google the phrase “power of meditation and prayer”. Post after post and entire books with information that barely scratches the surface of what it can do for a person.
In my mind prayer is a very specific type of meditation. I am going to share a bit about meditation in general first. Most people are familiar with the idea that meditation involves sitting still and controlling your own mind.
Webster defines mediate – to engage in contemplation or reflection http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/meditate
When PTSD has me by the scruff of the neck shaking me like a dog toy, stopping my body from pacing or frantic activity can function like a reset button. Hitting a pause gives my mind a chance to move from PTSD knee jerk reaction to the first step of taking back control of my life. Pause…5 seconds, 10 seconds, one minute.
Try your own experiment right now – pause right now, for 5 seconds. If you feel comfortable, close your eyes and stop all external in put. That is a brief start.
I call this restart effect – the Power of Pause. Do remember as a child being told to count to 10 when angry? The power of pause. Feeling nervous before giving a speech were you taught to briefly pause before beginning? The power of pause. Pause is quite different from freeze. Freeze implies immobilized unable to move. Pause is a choice to hold still. Hopefully long enough to let the large part of your brain to take over and think. Contemplate the next move and reflect on consequences. One of the ways my abusers controlled me was to not permit me a second to think and contemplate my actions. “When I say jump, you jump.” Absolute obedience without thought. Now, I learned to pause. My first counselor took many sessions teaching me now to move from this absolute obedience to thinking for myself. He taught me the power of pause.
Lengthen and deepen the meditation time. Inside your own mind is a wealth of information if you pause long enough to gain access. Maybe a notebook next to where you meditate to be able to write notes about what your mind shares with you during your meditation time. Pause, contemplate, feel, reflect, and plan are all tools that can be used during meditation time.
Prayer is taking all I meditated about and sharing it with Heavenly Father. I love the quote, “Don’t tell God how big your problems are; tell your problems how big your God is.” Taking meditation to the next level and communicating with God has a whole new dimension. I believe in the power of prayer. Unfortunately, some people put limits on prayer like where, what to say, how long and other things that have nothing to do with prayer. One of my most amazing spiritual experiences occurred in a weed choked field over looking a freeway and junk yard. If I knelt down I would have disappeared amongst the thistle. Prayer can occur any where, any time for any reason. My favorite way of praying is talking to Heavenly Father as if He were sitting on the couch next to me. Or maybe visualizing walking on the beach talking and chatting about how I am doing. I don’t always reach that state. Often they are quick snatches before falling to sleep. Someone may ask, how do I start? Turn to God and start talking. Some suggest a ritual of events, like folder your arms, close your eyes, bow your head then pray silently. This works. Walking in nature carrying on a conversation also works. I believe people put way to many restrictions on prayer. We’re His kids, He wants to hear from us. He sent His Son for us. Prayer is our way of checking in.