My last post about meditation seems to have struck a chord with some folks. I realize now that there's something I forgot to address in that post -- meditation for women, specifically. Now, you may be thinking, "Is there such a thing as gender-specific meditation?" After all, meditation is meditation, no matter who is doing it, right?
A few years ago, I took an interest in the concept of balancing male/female energy. One of the things I became aware of was the fact that my meditation practice wasn't all that appealing to my feminine side. As a result, I found myself feeling a vague sense of dissatisfaction with my practice which led to avoidance. Eventually, I found a balance and a practice that suited me better.
Before that, I hadn't allowed myself the freedom to meditate in a way that honored my feminine. Yes, I found walking meditation to be a bit more useful for me, but I got stuck in thinking that I wasn't really meditating unless I was sitting. The question that swirled in my head was this -- was I forcing myself to do a practice designed more for men than women?
It was a question that I had never thought to ask, but it was one that made sense. After all, when yoga originated in India, it was practiced solely by men. It would make sense, then, that the practice was created with males in mind. This isn't a bad thing -- it's just something that a woman should keep in mind, as a woman's needs are different than a man's. [For more on the topic of women taking back the practice of yoga, see the film YogaWoman.]
The same could be said about meditation -- the practice comes from a lineage of male teachers. Again, this isn't a bad thing. It simply begs the question: how can this male-centric practice be adapted for women and/or does it need to be?
Just yesterday I came across a book in which the author believes that meditation does need to be adapted for women -- Meditation Secrets for Women: Discovering Your Passion, Pleasure, and Inner Peace. I just started reading it, and the book is excellent. It addresses that niggling sense that something isn't quite right for women forcing themselves into male-oriented approach to meditation and gives women secrets for adapting the practice to suit their needs.
If you're a woman who's been struggling with maintaining a meditation practice, it could just be a matter of trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. Yoga isn't one-size-fits-all, so why should meditation?