Anyone who knows me, knows that I am a big meditation advocate. I usually tell people that meditation saved my life, and it did. I meditate every day, for my health and well-being. It has been such a consolation.
Meditation comes from the Latin word, concentrate which means to centre, and in meditation, we are cantering in on ourselves. Connecting with ourselves, our true self is found only in the level of consciousness that we experience in meditation.
Over thirty years ago I was introduced to a meditation class. At that time, it was not, as usual, to find meditation classes as it is now. The room was cream, beautifully peaceful, with a cream carpet. We left our shoes outside and were encouraged to be silent once we entered the room. It was a real sacred space.
I found it very difficult at first because when I lay on the floor I would start to think about, did I turn off the cooker, what did I have for dinner, did I put the washing out! All the normal type thoughts that cross all of our minds, every day. Imagine 60,000 thoughts pass by every day whether we want them to or not. Meditation is about learning to quieten them down and not engage with them, so they don’t become a story. Not emptying our mind, as I was led to believe initially! The thought of emptying our mind is also a thought!!
In the East, it is thought that we in the West, do not use the mind to its full potential. That it is like living in the basement of our mansion without having the keys to access the upper rooms which are most beautiful.
I can certainly see what that means, and I do believe that in the West, we have a poor idea yet of just how powerful our minds are, but we are on the way to finding out.
The benefits of meditation are numerous. Slows down the breathing. Lowers blood pressure, calms the nervous system, engages the Vagus nerve, and the whole process is parasympathetic in nature. All lead us to better health, mentally, physically, and emotionally.
It brings about clarity and peace of mind. In my opinion, it doesn’t really matter how long you meditate for, or what time of day. They are the details that are not important, but they are the ones that people focus on and then decide they can’t meditate. As long as you are practicing some form of meditation, it has its benefits. I am not a rigid thinker around meditation, if it is a stress to practice, then it is not useful at all. Make a time that suits you, if it fits in it stays in.
When I teach classes, I usually finish with a short meditation. There is always one participant that will say I can’t meditate.
That statement has been the catalyst in inspiring me to create a course for beginners and for those who think they can’t meditate. It has three modules to it, simple and easy with exercises for you to follow to help you find your way to developing a meditation practice. It’s a self-learn course with a dedicated Facebook group especially for you, where you can ask questions if you need to. You also have lifetime access to it so you can keep going back to it as often as you need to.
I love the work of the great teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh, he has been so influential in my life. His work is so simple. His explanations of things are also so simple too. That’s the secret really, keeping it simple not overcomplicating it.
In meditation, we are learning to let go. Firstly, letting go of the busy outside world, so that we can give our mind and body a much-needed rest. But letting go of frustration, anger, and fear. Letting go is a skill, that we need to cultivate, it takes time and patience, patience with ourselves, and meditation is a great way to do that. If we can name the ‘something’ that we need to let go of, then we can easily develop our practice.
Thich Nhat Hanh tells a story of a farmer who owned four cows. He woke up one morning to find the cows had disappeared. He went to the Buddha and told him his predicament. The Buddha said he hadn’t seen them. The farmer was in a real state of panic and told the Buddha that not only had his cows disappeared, but his crop of sesame seed had failed because they had been eaten by insects so therefore, he was thinking that because he had such a terrible year, he might kill himself. So, the Buddha suggested that before he did that, he should look for the cows in the other direction.
When the farmer went off to look in the other direction the Buddha turned to his students and said, you are so lucky, you do not have any cows to lose!
So, the suggestion is to put a name on the ‘cows’ that you want to let go of, in your meditation practice! Maybe it’s annoyance about a situation, person, or thing. Whatever it is, maybe use the acronym of the cows as a means to help yourself ‘let go’ and create a new way of being for yourself.
Remember you are human and allow yourself the time to learn, but most of all the benefits way outweigh the time it takes to meditate.
I wish you a good experience on your journey to meditation.
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💗 Zen~ology my short course for beginners meditation is now live & for the first 11 days you can avail of an introductory price! Once the 11 days are up the course will be at its full price ~ so please don’t miss out!
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