May - ABC’s and 123’s: Back to Basics Meditations

Sometimes it’s hard to focus on coherent thoughts or to “clear your mind” as many people think they have to do when meditating. So do some math, or practice your ABC’s, and test your memory skills in a callback to childhood road trip games. Couple these activities with a slight attention to your breathing to help bring it to a calmer state - adding extra beats on the inhale/exhale and in between portions as you go along.

Simple but slightly complex math that forces you to stop and do a bit of mental calculation can be a way to force your brain to shift focus from crowding thoughts. Do some simple division or multiplication in your mind: 12 times 17 or 534 divided by 3. Others might find it helpful to do it on paper, you know yourself best and what does and doesn’t work or feels most comfortable for you. The key here is to find the path that suits you and your needs and follow it. The act of forcing your mind to say to itself, “3 goes into 5 one time so that’s leaving over 2...” etc. can be an effective tool in clearing your mind of other thoughts.

If doing computations feels too overwhelming, counting can sometimes help. Start at one and just count out loud or in your mind, slowly pausing between each number for a beat. You might notice those beats will be quicker, probably unconsciously matching your breathing pace, at the outset. Use that moment between each number to give yourself space to start adding those pauses between inhale and exhale - but don’t hold your breath, just let it flow as naturally as you feel able between breaths. And if you should lose count? No big deal. You can start over, or start back from the last number you remember. There is no end goal, just count for as long as you feel is necessary.

Remember the old alphabet games you’d play with your siblings or your parents? The “Going On a Picnic” game was a particular favorite in our family. We didn’t limit the items you “brought” to the picnic to food, it could be ANYTHING that started with the next letter. Made for a lot of laughter at the imagery of bowling balls, crocodiles and diamonds showing up to the picnic!

If you’re not familiar with the game, "Going on a Picnic" is a game where everyone in a round takes turns saying “I’m going on a picnic and I’m bringing an Apple” or anything that starts with A. The next person has B and will say “I’m going on a picnic and I’m bringing Buttons and an Apple” a la the 12 Days of Christmas song pattern. It can be a challenge as the letters and chaotic word/item choices accumulate.

Doing it by yourself, you can use the same breathing techniques described before to add pauses where appropriate in your narrative of this Appealing Bowling Ball Circus themed picnic. If you reach Z and are not quite feeling ready to stop, no reason why you couldn’t start over. There’s various ways you could increase the challenge level to help yourself better focus - starting at Z and going backwards, or adding adjectives or other descriptors that start with the same letter as your chosen word: "Appealing Apples", “Jittery June bugs”, “Laughing Lions”, etc...

The most important key here is, if you “mess up”, it’s ok, just start over or “cheat” and start where you remember. Or just make up new words for that letter if you can’t remember what the heck you used for M, or change the calculation you’ve started doing to something a bit easier. You’re in charge and no one is losing if you change the rules!


Bubble ABC's and 123's image.


Om, Seated Buddha, Lotus Flower, Tree of Life Meditation Yoga Charms Zipper Pull Silver. Meditation Yoga Charms
Click to view.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published