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Basics: meditation

hqdefaultThere is so much information out there about meditation, there are varying schools of thought and ways of practicing. You need to figure out what resonates with you.

Workshops 

A good way to start is to research if there are any courses or workshops in your area, it can be an encouraging and supportive way to learn with a group and I find the energy of people in a room really heightens my senses and deepens the experience.

Online 

Look online, youtube is amazing and has so many free resources. Often I will search for inspiration while watching TV and listen to see if I connect with the persons voice, that way when I actually sit down to meditate I have a playlist ready to go that I know will work for me.

When starting out guided meditations can be a life saver. If you sit with yourself and your own mind you can start to question what you’re doing, you might not relax properly and ultimately you end up  “playing” at meditating, you can start thinking about other things to the point that you then get up and go do something else.

Having thoughts enter your head while meditating is normal, you just acknowledge them and let them pass through – like a cloud drifting in the sky. When it happens just return to concentrate on your breathing. I even used to count my breaths as my inner mind was so distracted and loud. I used to say “breathe in 1,2,3,4 and out 1,2,3,4”.

Begin!

  1. What do you want to focus on? Just plain old breathing, a guided meditation, a meditation on healing? Its good to have an intention about what you are about to do but don’t get too caught up in the expectation. Check out this short video by Bernadette Logue on expectation vs. intention link

  2. Get comfortable, you can sit up or lie down it doesn’t really matter. Make sure you won’t be disturbed. The length of time doesn’t matter too much, if you can only spare 5 minutes its better than nothing.

  3. I always start by grounding myself to the earth by picturing roots coming out of my feet and going down into the centre of the earth. I do this because I find I get a floaty feeling when meditating to the point that I can feel giddy and unbalanced afterwards.

  4. Picture yourself surrounded by a white light (a protective bubble). I like to protect myself as it means that if I open up my energy field either consciously or sub-consciously I know that I am protected and will be safe.

  5. Take some (5-10) long, deep breaths in and out. When you exhale really let go, even sigh really loudly it honestly helps!

  6. As you’re doing your deep breathing imagine your feet and toes relaxing, your legs, your stomach and continue all the way up your body. Particularly pay attention to your shoulders, let them physically sag down. Relax your jaw, your eyebrows, your head and one thing I do is picture my brain relaxing. Sounds funny but I picture it kind of relaxing and deflating a bit – it works for me.

  7. Hit play on your guided meditation or continue with whatever meditation you have planned for yourself.

History

Traditional meditation has its roots in ancient cultures, commonly Indian and Buddhism teachings and practices are cited when talking about the history of meditation. For me these practices have a holistic, spiritual and ritualistic way to them – I learnt meditation through a Buddhist centre and I am grateful for the grounding it gave me and it taught me to really respect the roots of it and how far it can extend into your very being.

Modern meditation

A modern term that seems to be a bit more “acceptable” is mindfulness. This seems to have sprung up everywhere! It leaves behind some of the heavy principles and teachings and simply teaches you to focus on the act of breathing which allows you to then notice your thoughts, ultimately over time getting to know your inner thoughts gives you the means to change your patterns. This article explains it better than I can  link

New wave

There are like-minded people out there that agree with me that meditation in terms of sitting yourself down and really relaxing and going deep has its benefits but it’s not the only way. There are many others like yoga, going for walks next to the ocean and quietening your mind, running, doing crafts (knitting, colouring), writing in your journal.  Anything that relaxes you, I’d love this list to include enjoying a glass of wine!

Google

See if any of these interest you:

  • Angel meditations (Doreen Virtue)

  • Angel channeling (Melanie Beckler)

  • Mantra’s – start with OM

  • Binaural beats (frequencies that are said to open our energetic body up)

  • You can focus on themes: dealing with emotions like anxiety, accessing guides, cleansing and healing chakra’s.

  • Affirmations (Bernadette Logue)

Where else can meditation principles help?

 Work

  • Stop and assess yourself randomly while you are working, you will most likely be holding your diaphragm in because you are tensed. Breathe in and let the breath go all the way down to the point your belly is sticking out (google belly breathing). Do this 5 times.

  • Take a couple of seconds or minutes in the bathroom stall to breathe, ground yourself and surround yourself with white light.

  • Chakra system (a little beyond the basics but worth including), if you have a speech or important meeting visualise the corresponding chakra as glowing brightly e.g. throat chakra for communication.

 Sleep

  • Relaxing your body to sleep through deep breathing. You also learn to check yourself, where am I holding tension? And you let your body sag and relax.

  • Quietening your mind in order to sleep by acknowledging thoughts but letting them drift by. When I get bad I picture my mind as a blank whiteboard, if it’s really bad I actually have to picture the word ‘blank’ over and over. Im not so bad now days though.

  • Extra tip – when im going to sleep I picture 3 boxes in my mind and you can label them whatever you want but one is always work or the current day that has passed, I skim through the day and put it all in this box. If any work conversations start to replay I put them in the box and acknowledge that those thoughts are the past, time to look forward. You can also picture any worries or fears going into a hot air balloon and sending these up into the sky – release them.

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