What is Meditation?
Wikipedia says 'Meditation is a practice where an individual uses a technique, such as focusing their mind on a particular object, thought or activity, to achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm state. Meditation has been practiced since antiquity in numerous religious traditions and beliefs.
Some of the earliest written records of meditation (Dhyana), come from the Hindu traditions of Vedantism around 1500 BCE. The Vedas discuss the meditative traditions of ancient India. Around the 6th to 5th centuries BCE, other forms of meditation developed in Taoist China and Buddhist India.'
Meditation is sometimes combined with yoga. 'Yoga meditation is the art and science of systematically observing, accepting, understanding, and training each of the levels of our being, so we can coordinate and integrate those aspects of ourselves, and dwell in the direct experience of the centre of consciousness.'
Meditation can reduce anxiety, help with insomnia and improve longevity. It is a process that involves relaxing the body and quieting the mind. People meditate for different reasons: to feel calm, to diminish stress or pain, to get through a crisis, or to engage in a spiritual practice. Meditation is for everyone, not just 'spiritual types'.
If you're new to meditation and would like to try it, there are hundreds of guided meditations you can find on YouTube. Pema Chodron is a great guide to start with, even if it's just for a few minutes a day. I recommend YellowBrickCinema if you’d like just hypnotic chilled out music so you can create your own meditation. Meditation music is great for falling asleep to as well and can aid restful sleep.
Everyone finds their own preferred method of meditation. I can get into a meditative state during yoga, in solitude or in a guided meditation, and I can also go into a meditative state listening to reggae. You can meditate pretty much anywhere.
3 Things To Do When You Meditate
A commonly used way to prepare for meditation is to imagine these three things:
Sit comfortably with both feet on the ground, ideally without shoes, and imagine roots growing from your feet and pushing down into the ground, deeper and deeper, winding and penetrating deep into the earth until they reach the earth’s core. Wrap your roots around the very centre of the earth.
Imagine pure, clean water (or perhaps rays of light) pouring down on you, washing away any stuck energy, worries, negativity from your being. My Reiki Master says you could imagine a mini vacuum cleaner sucking away all the negativity, cleaning the space all around you - head, shoulders and body.
Wrap yourself in an imaginary cloak that protects you and your positive energy, or it could be a sphere of light around you - impenetrable from the outside, yet you can step or reach out of it whenever suits you. I sometimes imagine being in a Zorbing ball for this. Let the light surround you and protect you.
Happiness is an Inside Job
If you're interested in exploring meditation as a daily practice it’s great to go to a local group meditation to get you started. When guided well, the gentle, nurturing atmosphere can really be something special and bring tranquility.
Often guided meditation will take the form of an imaginary walk through nature, an idyllic environment, a soothing and gentle stroll describing enjoyable experiences that will relax us and heal our souls.
Another form is the emptying of the mind and aiming for the absence of thoughts. When a thought comes, send it away. Let’s remember I’m not an expert and am early on in my journey - the first time I took part in guided meditation was at secondary school about 35 years ago and I've been doing it sporadically ever since. It is most beneficial when you do it regularly, and if that means setting a reminder, then why not put one into your phone right now?
I can almost guarantee there will be a guided meditation group near you if you want real life rather than online. If you're in Gloucestershire I can recommend the monthly meditation group sessions with Gill Kirkham (pictured below) who you can find on our Coaching & Mentoring page. Let me know how you get on!
Love Sal x