Meditation, The Way of Effortless
Is the purpose of meditation is to handle stress, to tune out, to get away from it all? While that's partially true, the real purpose of meditation is actually to tune in, not to get away from it all, but to get in touch with it all
Where to Meditate
With guided meditations, you can plug in, close your eyes, and go within in any safe place you choose where you will not be disturbed.
When to Meditate
Morning and evening coincide with our body's quieter rhythms. Our body knows how to be still; we just have to give it opportunity.
Being comfortable is the most important. It is preferable to sit up straight on the floor or on a chair to help cultivate alertness, but if you are ill or need to lie down, that is fine. The mind has been conditioned to sleep when the body is lying down so you may feel sleepier. Your hands can relax on your lap, palms up or any way that you feel most open.
will inevitably drift in and dance around your mind, but that's normal. Don't try to do anything with them – let them be. If you find yourself thinking about what's passing through your mind, just return to focusing your awareness on the mantra or your breath – you will soon slip into the space between thoughts.
When we pay attention to our breath, we are in the present moment. In an unforced, natural rhythm, allow your breath to flow in and out, easily and effortlessly.
The effects of meditation are cumulative, and setting aside as little as 15 minutes a day to retreat and rejuvenate is beneficial. Many schools of meditation prescribe 30 minutes of meditation twice a day, and as your meditation practise evolves, you can extend your time. It's better to spend just a few minutes meditating every day rather than meditating for an hour a week.
The Five Things That Can Happen During Meditation
1. We can experience thoughts and let them go
2. We can bring our attention back to our breath.
3. We can focus on outside sounds, and use them to take us deeper.
4. Following the breath and using the outside sounds, we can move deeper
5. It can feel like falling asleep, however, really you are going much deeper than sleep
Contact Kathy Welter – 604-421-1722 [email protected] for more information
Dealing with Stress
A considerable amount of research has shown that meditation has benefits on mental health. This section explores how meditation can help you to deal with your stress.
• By practising relaxation techniques on a daily basis, we learn to let go of the unhealthy emotional states that lead to the arising of physical tensions. Meditation includes a strong element of bodily relaxation. To begin to understand how this works you can listen to your relaxation MP3 and note how you feel.
• You can learn how to directly affect your mental states, promoting calmness and contentment. Learning how your body and mind interact will help you to influence your mental states by changing your posture and breathing. The mindfulness of breathing will also help you to use your breath as a way of
• Calming yourself in the moment.
• Meditation will help you with anger management. The Metta Bhavana (development of loving kindness) meditation can also help you to manage stress and emotions more effectively, and help you develop your self-esteem and self-confidence (something that quickly becomes eroded under stress).
• Meditation can teach you tools to dispel anxiety, ill will, and self -doubt. Changing states from one of anxiety or ill will towards self or others is a key to understanding the benefits of working meditation into your life.
Choosing a Time
You need to decide when you're going to meditate and stick to that time. If you plan your week, then plan your meditation into your week to make sure it happens. It's too important to leave to chance and you want to avoid potential self -sabotage in failing to set a plan in place.
Although we suggest that you can meditate anywhere, like the office, it can be good to have a particular place to meditate regularly and to make that place a little special, meaningful, and beautiful. You can do this by having some pictures that remind you of why you want to meditate – like natural imagery. You can have candles and incense. Find what works best for you.
There's no one best time to meditate. Many people find it useful to get up a bit early and meditate before the pressures of the day mount up. They want to prepare for the day so that things go well. Other people like to meditate before going to bed in order to "unwind." Both can work.
There are wonderful benefits of meditating before you start your day. There are powerful benefits for clearing the mind through meditation before going to bed. There are huge benefits of meditating right after a vigorous cardio workout! Whatever best suits you, we’d like to invite you to try all different times and see what gives you the greatest benefit.
Should I listen to music when I meditate?
The idea that you should listen to music while meditating is very common. It probably goes to seeing meditation as a means of relaxation. Of course, meditation does help you to relax, but it goes beyond that and helps us to be more alert and focused. Music & guided imagery can assist us; however, it’s not something that you need to meditate.
If done mindfully, anything can be a meditation in itself, just as walking or washing the dishes can be. You can take many activities and make them richer and more satisfying by taking more awareness into them. Music, as we've seen, is just one example. If you're going to listen to music as meditation then try not to do anything else at the same time. Don't work, or read, or balance your chequebook while you're listening. Just listen to the music. Sit or lie down comfortably, and just pay attention to the music. You'll probably find that you enjoy it like never before.
Meditation in a busy place:
Call to mind the living, breathing, feeling human beings behind the music and wish them well. And then accept that noise as part of your meditation practice. Stay loosely focused on your breathing, and let the noise be a sort of secondary focus of the practice - if you stop seeing the noise as the enemy of the practice and instead see it as part of the practice, then the conflict will vanish.
Trying to fight the noise is unlikely to work. The noise is not going to go away because you don't like it. If you respond aggressively to it then you're just getting yourself into a fight that you cannot win. There are many creative ways to deal with outside distractions and noises when meditating. There is the coffee pot in the morning, or the dishwasher, or someone flushing a toilette. There are people on cell phones or talking. There are penetrating voices in the doctors offices. These are all places you can meditate, however, the distracting noises may seem prohibitive. They are not if you can find creative ways to make peace with them.
Perhaps allowing the noises to be where they are and letting them create a background presence to your inner meditation. In almost “no time” you will find they are drifting to the background as your meditation begins to draw you deep into it’s centre.
Noticing the breath, the in and the out breath, and the tiny spaces before and after each, taking notice of each breath it’s differences, almost like a thumb print, every breath is different. Starting to notice the differences….now stop this process and notice the noise.
You can see how far away it was becoming Good, go back to the breathing again, and let it become the focus. As we see our focus is the very thing that takes us away from noise or distractions. Focus….meditation….breathing….
Being "in the moment"
Mindfulness can be seen as the practice of "being in the moment"
Actually, being in the moment means being truly aware of what is going on right here and now, in our experience. Much of the time our experience does not have this quality of awareness or mindfulness. A lot of the time we are like robots, automatically living out habitual patterns of self-pity, anger, wish fulfillment, fear, etc. These habitual tendencies take us over and run our lives for us - without our being able to stand back and decide whether this is what we actually want to be doing
When we're in this robotic state, we're not aware of what's going on. We're fearful without being aware that we are fearful or that we have an option not to be fearful. Our internal chat and dialogues send our emotions into all kinds of frenzied experience. Often we aren’t making ourselves very happy at all.
Being in the moment is just another way of saying that we are aware of what is going on in your experience, you are not just being fearful but are aware that you are fearful and are aware that you can choose to be otherwise. Of course a lot of the time when we are not being in the moment, we are literally thinking about the past or present. We might be dwelling on the past - brooding about some past hurt. Or we may be fantasizing or projecting about a future in which we imagine all kinds of terrifying experiences that have not even occurred yet!.
Often these pasts and futures are not real pasts or futures, but simply fantasies of how things might be or of how we would have liked them to have been. And as with all unmindful activity, we have no awareness that this fantasizing is pointless. All that it does is reinforce unhelpful emotional tendencies that can never truly enrich our lives.
Some signs and symptoms of inner peace:
• A tendency to think and act spontaneously rather than on fears based on past experiences.
• An unmistakable ability to enjoy each moment.
• A loss of interest in judging other people.
• A loss of interest in judging self.
• A loss of interest in interpreting the actions of others.
• A loss of interest in conflict.
• A loss of ability to worry (this is a very serious symptom).
• Frequent overwhelming episodes of appreciation.
• Contented feelings of connectedness with others and nature.
• Frequent attacks of smiling.
• An increasing tendency to let things happen rather than make them happen.
• An increased susceptibility to the love extended by others as well as the uncontrollable urge to extend it.
WARNING: If you have some or all of the above symptoms, please be advised that your condition of inner peace may be so far advanced as to not be curable. If you are exposed to anyone exhibiting any of these symptoms, remain exposed at your own risk.
ADDITIONAL REASONS FOR MEDITATING
As you meditate you gain new insights into your inner self and the external world
You will increase mental efficiency.
Controls over body chemistry and suspending time are well documented for Meditators.
Many people still use meditation as a means of spiritual development but many others use it to relax and reduce the effects of stress.
It is often asked, "Why do you meditate?" ... "What do you seek to gain?"
The inner place of quiet is the quiet mind, the place of gentle contemplation right in our own homes, our places of work. We do not need to seek it in the temples when it resides within our inner temple.
Understanding the difference between seeking and being is just one of the great gifts of meditation.
Many people meditate for spiritual reasons and many have taken up the practice as a means to lower their blood pressure ... and still others use it as a way to reduce stress.
Meditation itself is simply the practice of mindfulness.
The experiences of calming, reaching that inner state of peace, a sense of flowing in the right time with the world around you, these are all some of the delicious side effects of meditation.
Understanding this concept allows us to let go of what we think or believe meditation to be about. Let go of what others are experiencing, and be at peace with our own experience.
Meditative practice allows the mind to restore, as even during sleep, it is very rare the mind is still!
And yet the great unconscious part of our mind is this stillness, with somewhere way in the back a very tiny TV running, which can at times become very loud, very forceful and very disruptive.
The thinking mind is never comfortable with the quiet mind. And yet the quiet mind allows for all.
When meditating it’s really a powerful knowing to recognize this. Use your internal remote control and just turn the TV set off, or lower the volume, listen to the quiet and breathe deeply.
How lovely to hear the silence both inside and out!
We are truly not our thoughts, our thoughts are manufactured for us, out of our daily experiences, witness’s, TV, news, drama and the life long interactions we have with our own personal “story”
Excerpts from “Meditation- The Way of Effortless, by Kathy Welter-Nichols.