Meditation is the collective term for a number of techniques used to still the mind, relax the body and produce a state of inner harmony. It differs from sleep, hypnosis or other types of relaxation simply because your mind remains alert.
There are many ways to meditate. You can meditate while sitting, walking, or practising yoga, but it is easiest to learn by sitting comfortably in a quiet room for several minutes twice a day, every day. There are 2 basic steps: to focus on a single word or phrase (of your choice - perhaps "peace" or "one", or a religious word) or simply to focus on your breath; and to ignore or disregard all other thoughts.
When we focus on a single word, thought or image, we produce a state of calm that increases mental alertness, while relaxing other body systems.
Meditating twice a day for 15-20 minutes has
been shown to be the most effective. Make an effort to practice every day, even
if it’s initially only for 5 minutes. You may find it’s easiest to meditate
first thing in the morning and last thing at night.
Find a quiet place. Make yourself comfortable by either sitting cross-legged on a large cushion on the floor, or upright on a straight back chair, with feet flat on the floor and hands resting lightly in your lap. For meditation, don't feel tempted to lie down as this might make you fall asleep.
By focusing on your chosen word or your breath; let it have your whole attention. Continue to breathe slowly and naturally. Just let your breaths come and go. If you are using your breath as a focus, count each breath as you exhale repeating the word “one”, 1 and 2, or count to four and repeat.
Do not force your mind to concentrate, just let it rest without effort on your chosen focus. Just ignore any other thoughts and let them flow out again.
Gradually let your mind return to everyday thoughts. Open your eyes but stay sitting for a minute or two. Stretch gently before you get up.
Meditation takes practise so persevere! Practise
at least once a day for 5 minutes, gradually lengthening the time.
There are many types of meditation. The one
definition that fits almost all types is..."Consciously directing your attention
to alter your state of consciousness."
There is no limit to the things you can direct your attention toward... symbols, sounds, colours, breath, uplifting thoughts, spiritual realms, etc. Meditation is simply about attention... where you direct it, and how it alters your awareness.
Traditionally meditation was (and still is) used for spiritual and personal growth. More recently, meditation has become a valuable tool for finding a peaceful oasis of relaxation and stress relief in a demanding, fast-paced world.
Put your expectations aside, and don't worry
about doing it right. There are infinite possibilities and no fixed criterion
for determining right meditation. There are, however, a few things to avoid.
It's not necessary - or advisable - to meditate on a completely empty stomach. If you're hungry, have a little something to eat before meditating.
I take a few moments to focus on my breathing. As I breathe in, I imagine gathering all my tense or anxious thoughts, and as I breathe out, I blow all those thoughts away.
Now as I breathe in, I draw down calm and tranquil thoughts from my mind. As I breathe out, I spread these thoughts through my body. The body relaxes, and my mind becomes calm.
I imagine stepping into a hot air balloon. The balloon slowly lifting up into the blue sky, looking down, I see the picture of my life. Any problems seem so small.
I stop and observe the space between my thoughts. I move to that space with my awareness and it begins to expand. I feel the power that lies between and behind my thoughts.
It is the power of who I am. It is the strength within. I begin to see the potential of my life.
Sitting quietly, I become aware of my surroundings. I focus on any object in front of me, allowing it to fill my awareness.
Letting go of any distractions, I hold only the object in my awareness. Even if I am distracted, I gently return my focus to the object. I identify one quality of the object, and focus on this. I hold this one thought.
The primary focus in this Mindfulness Meditation is your breathing. However, the primary goal is maintaining a calm, non-judging awareness, allowing thoughts and feelings to come and go without getting enmeshed in them. This creates calmness and acceptance.
Sit comfortably, with your eyes closed and your
spine reasonably straight.
When thoughts, emotions, physical feelings or external sounds occur, simply accept them, giving them the space to come and go without judging or getting involved with them.
When you notice that your attention has drifted
off and become engaged in thoughts or feelings, simply bring it back to your
breathing and continue.
Colour Healing Meditation
We are not just our physical selves. We are
multi-dimensional beings, composed of an Inner Spirit, a mental body, an
emotional body, a vital body, and a physical body.
Total healing requires restoring harmony to all of our bodies. This meditation is designed to cleanse and harmonize your various bodies with the healing energies of colour.
Sit comfortably with your eyes closed.
Visualize a large ball of radiant Golden light a few inches over your head. Visualize that ball of light slowly descending through your crown, filling your entire being with golden light.
Imagine yourself absorbing that light as it
nourishes, cleanses & heals your whole being - your Spirit and all of your
bodies - dissolving all blocked and toxic energies.
Repeat this exercise, visualizing a ball of Red light. Continue through the entire spectrum like this, visualizing a ball of Orange light; Yellow light; Green light; Blue light; Indigo light; and Violet light. Go through the spectrum at whatever pace feels appropriate.
Take some time to visualise yourself in a state of good health.
In this simple healing meditation, you send the powerful healing Life Force directly to the area in need of help. This Life Force is the energy behind all healing.
This easy and relaxing meditation makes use of a
little-known secret about the eyes. Allowing the eyes to rest in a soft downward
gaze has an instant, automatic relaxing effect.
Sit comfortably with your spine reasonably straight.
Continue gazing downward... the act of gazing is your primary focus (rather than the area at which you are gazing). You may notice your breathing becoming more rhythmic.
It’s ok to let your attention drift a bit. If your eyes become very heavy, it’s ok to let them close. If you notice you’ve come out of your relaxed space, simply bring your attention back to your relaxed downward gaze.
This is a meditation for connecting you with
your Inner Spirit.... your essence or core Self. It uses the light that is
already within you as an object of focus. It's a fairly simple meditation, but
is quite powerful, and potentially very deep.
Sit comfortably with your eyes closed.
Look at the "screen" that fills the space behind
your closed eyelids.
There will be particles, images, or patterns of light on this screen. (Consider anything that is not pure darkness to be a form of light.) Gently focus your attention on the light.
Don't try to create or interpret images. Don't attempt to focus clearly. Simply look at the light with relaxed attention.
If you feel as though your consciousness is shifting, or you are slipping into a dreamlike state, allow it to happen. Whatever you experience is ok.
Centering is meditation in action. Within you is a space that is always calm and at peace. This space is often referred to as your "calm center". Being centered means remaining in your calm center amidst the busyness of everyday life. Being centered means not allowing your inner light to be overshadowed by stressful circumstances or negative thoughts and emotions.
When you are centered, you are in a state of clarity, focus, peace, and balance. When you are not centered, you are unclear, unfocussed, stressed, and off balance.
A good centering technique will require only minimal attention, allowing you to keep some of your attention on the activity at hand. Here are some very easy, effective centering techniques.
While involved in whatever you are doing, bring some attention to your breathing for just a few moments... it needn't be your full attention... just enough to bring you back to your calm center. Breathe naturally, or perhaps just a little more slowly and deeply
Reclaiming Your Energy
When you are feeling stressed and scattered, take several slow, deep breaths. With each in-breath, imagine you are pulling all of your scattered energy and attention back to your inner self... your calm centre.
This centering technique combines breath awareness with the phrase or mantra, "Let go." It is especially helpful when you are tense and/or fixating on a stressful situation or a negative thought or emotion.
As you inhale, (silently or aloud) say, "Let"
As you exhale, say "go"... while letting go of all that is stressing you.
Imagine a bright sun filling your heart chakra...
the calm, subtle energy field that permeates your chest area. Imagine that sun
gently emanating peace and joy throughout your entire being.
Example of MP3 downloads on this page
12 mins 20s
SELF HELP BOOKS using Mindfulness
Mindfulness: A practical guide to finding peace in a frantic world
The Mindfulness and Acceptance Workbook for Depression
The Mindful Way through Anxiety: Break Free from Chronic Worry and Reclaim Your Life
The Mindfulness and Acceptance Workbook for Anxiety: A Guide to Breaking Free From Anxiety, Phobias, and Worry
Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness meditation for everyday life
Full Catastrophe Living, Revised Edition: How to cope with stress, pain and illness using mindfulness meditation
Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life