Meditating through the holidays

A man meditates in front of the Rose Valley, close to Cavusin and Goreme in Cappadocia (aka Kappadokia) in the heart of Turkey (Photo credit: Moyan Brenn)

A man meditates in front of the Rose Valley, in the heart of Turkey (Photo credit: Moyan Brenn)

For most of us, the joy of the holidays also brings a rising tide of stress and anxiety. How can we enjoy this incredible time of year without being followed by the shadow of stressful thoughts? Meditation is a powerful antidote to all the mental and emotional hustle.

As the days get darker there is an innate tendency to want to go inwards, slow down, hibernate, and to reflect. So how do we find this illusive inner peace? I always suggest to my students to find a quiet, comfortable space to sit. Put the phone on silent, and gently slide into your inner world. It’s waiting there for you every moment of the day. You don’t have to count breaths, scan each part of your body, or even chant a mantra. Although many of us do have personal mantras, but lets keep cursing out of our meditation today.

True meditation is the art of letting go. Letting go of emotions, letting go of repetitive thoughts, letting go of the past and the future, and simply allowing yourself to melt into the here and now. Check in and see how hard you’ve been on yourself, and let go of anywhere you’ve put too many rigid expectations on your life. Turn down the dial of your inner mental critic like there was a volume nob for that snob in the back of your head. Take a psychic break.

The body feels what the mind thinks, whether its real or not. So you become stressed the more you think, because the body has to process more images into emotion than it can handle, and ultimately that drains your energy. As you sit still and let go of the day, refill your tank with energy that you left in the past and future, in a problem, or with another person. Center yourself, accept who you are, let go of the accumulation of stressful thoughts, and crack a smile of contentment as you experience being alive.

When you sit down to meditate, give yourself 15-20 minutes of doing nothing but letting go and accepting how you feel. Time yourself, and don’t get up until your finished. Deepen into the moment, and live life more fully from the inside out. They call it the present moment because it’s a gift, and perhaps it’s the best gift you can give yourself this holiday season.

18-2David Gandelman is the founder of, and host of the Energy Matters podcast. He connects personal experience, ancient wisdom traditions, and humor, to create a safe atmosphere for people interested in learning meditation. He lives in Cortland.