Self love | Meditation
There is a misconception that meditation must be done seated in lotus position with an empty mind, eyed closed while focusing on nothing and reciting Ohm. This is almost impossible and as a beginner this misconception, unfortunately, puts many people off of the idea of meditation.
Meditation is not just about silencing the mind and relaxing the body. The true basis of meditation is mindfulness, to find a sense of quiet calmness through focusing and breathing even in a space of distractions.
Our minds are often accumulated with thoughts, both negative & positive. This landfill of thoughts has the ability to pile up so excessively that one is unable to make sense of them. Our focus is constantly shifting to multiple thoughts rather than allowing them to pass by.
During meditation, we want to accept our thoughts and allow them to pass rather than getting tangled in all of them. Allowing ourselves to get tangled up in our thoughts, leaves any person in a state of panic “oh gosh! Thoughts, I shouldn’t focus on this thought! Why am I thinking? Stop thinking, and clear the mind! Clear the mind!” This only leads to more thoughts and creates further tension within the body, essentially doing the complete opposite of the intention of the meditative practise. This can also explain why so many of us today suffer with anxiety and stress, because instead of focusing on our breath, we allow ourselves to get caught up.
There are many tips and tools to use during meditation to allow us to accept our passing thoughts, calmly, while fixing our focus and training our minds to be mindful.
Here are some ways you can try. See which works best for you.
I recommend following the chosen technique and practising it every day for just 10 minutes. You will be amazed with the positive changes you’ll experience, it will allow you to sleep better, complete more tasks, notice and appreciate so much more.
Find a comfortable seated or supine position. If you are seated make sure your knees are below your hips, you can achieve this by sitting on a pillow or you can even just simply sit on a chair with your feet on the ground. And close your eyes.
Close your eyes and begin to focus on your natural breath. With each inhale and exhale begin to count your breaths from 1 – 10. Inhale-1, exhale-2,inhale-3, exhale-4 and so on. If you lose your count because of inhabiting thoughts, just simply go back to one and continue counting.
This is one of the best ways for a beginner to get into meditation because you allow yourself to accept that sometimes thoughts distract you and know that you can always begin again.
Another way to keep track of your breath is by counting pray beads; this is slightly more difficult that counting to 10 but it may work better for some. There are 108 beads on a strand and you simply hold the beads in between your index finger and thumb & using your thumb you count through each bead. This method of counting must also link to your breath.
When breathing, you want to breathe your natural breath. The natural breath inflates the belly on the inhale and deflates the belly on exhale and always keep in mind that your breath is your life force. There are a few breathing techniques that you can use but my favourite one is nostril breathing. Bend your ring-finger and place both your middle and index finger in the centre of your brow. Block one nostril with your thumb and inhale through the other nostril, then release your thumb, block the other nostril with your pinkie and exhale through the unblocked nostril , then inhale through the same nostril block that nostril with your thumb, release your pinkie and exhale through that nostril and repeat a few time. You don’t want to do any breathing technique too much or you may feel lightheaded.
The most simple technique is to inhale through your nose into your belly for 3 seconds, hold for 3 seconds and exhale through your nosefor 3 seconds this must be repeated a couple times. You can increase or decrease the seconds to suit you.
We are so blessed with our senses. Sight, smell, taste, touch and hearing have benefited us with the opportunity to truly appreciate the world we live in , in every single way.
It is known that when one blocks off one sense, our other senses improve. Close your eyes to strengthen your other senses and begin going through each sense. What can you smell what can you taste, see, hear and feel? You can spend some time on each sense and you’ll begin to notice how the more time you spend the more things each sense takes in. For example, if you focus on listening, at first you may only hear the loudest and nearest sounds but as you spend more time you’ll begin to pick up on softer sounds that are further away.
A mantra is a wonderful thing to focus on. We become what we instil in our minds and therefore have the ability to become exactly who we want to be. A mantra, it is a simple prayer, word or positive sentence that you repeat with each breath. Choose something that will really impact you, words that you need to hear because when focusing one’s mind on this chosen mantra, it actually programmes into your mind. You can also use this form of meditation to break bad habits or instil positive habits into your life. For example if you want to meditate more often, your mantra could be. “I give myself time to meditate every day, my meditation is important, my meditation calms me” or something as simple as “I am happy here “. This can also be incorporated with the prayer beads, by simply repeating the mantra with each bead.
We have 7 chakras within our bodies; each one affects a different aspect of our lives. Your root chakra is located at the base of your spine, this is the chakra that grounds you and gives you confidence. The sacral chakra is located in the lower abdomen, two inches below the naval this chakra is linked to one’s security and creativity. The Solar plexus chakra is found in the centre of your rib cage this chakra allows us to connect to our willpower and ability to accomplish things. The heart chakra is located in the centre of your chest this controls your ability to love yourself and others. The throat chakra is linked to truth, honesty and our ability to communicate. The third eye chakra is located between your brows this allows us to focus and understand things for what they are. The crown chakra is more spiritual; it allows one to detach from ego and find unlimited peace within and connects us to our higher selves. The crown chakra is located at the very top of our heads.
You can pick one chakra that you feel the need to focus on or start at the root going up. Focus by sending each breath to a specific chakra and actually envision a pure light entering, cleaning and gathering any darkness located in that chakra and on each exhale imagine that as the light exits your body it releasing any dark or cloudy or tension.
The third eye
As i mentioned above, the third eye is located between your brows. It is the highest state of being and living ego free with a great, spiritual connection to higher realms. A very deep way to connect to one’s self during any meditation being done with the eyes closed is to focus on your mind’s eye. While your eyes are closed, look up at the centre of your brow/Third eye chakra. It can feel slightly strange but has great powers to elevate you and provides you with a much deeper connection to your meditation.
Begin with your palms together at the centre of your heart chakra. Breath in and on the exhale take your arms up, inhale open them out to your sides, exhale bring your palms together above your head and inhale the back to your hearts centre. Repeat this motion by following each movement and breath. This is a great form or meditation and relaxation as it allows you to connect with your breath, your body and its actions. I like to practise this meditation by completing 10 full cycles at the start of my meditation and then proceeding into one of the other techniques mentioned above.
I like to think of sight as a separate form of meditation from the senses. Though it is most definitely one of our senses, using sight as mediation can be a lot more challenging because you can become much more easily distracted. When using sight in meditation, it is not so much a form of focusing inwards but rather focusing on an external object to understand ones inner being, deeper. A great example of an object to focus on is a candle and its flame because you are able to see transformation before your eyes and energy from the flame.
Sit in a comfortable position, light a candle and admire it. Focus on the flames movement and colours & eventually you will even be able to see the energy of the flame. Focus on the candle burning shorter and on the wax melting away. You can even imagine yourself as the candle and the flame as a positive energy melting away your tension. A nice added focus can be if you draw the colours of the chakras down the length of the candle and as it burns past each colour, consider that chakra to be cleansed.
Every action can be mediation
One of the greatest lessons that I ever learned,is that everything we do can be a form of mediation. We need to focus more, we need to breathe more and appreciate so much more.
There are a million things we come across on a daily basis that we are not mindful of. The people we come into contact with, the cars that pass by as we drive, the very action of driving, the motion of smoking a cigarette or sipping on a drink. All these things can be turned into mediation.
Instead of just getting into your car and driving make a mental note of each step you take. Unlocking the car, opening the car door, closing the car door, putting the key into the ignition, putting your seat-belt on, feeling your foot on the break, turning the key , putting the car into gear, releasing the hand break, accelerating and steering. When we become more mindful of our actions, we become more cautious and aware of everything we say or do because we are then able to understand the effects of our actions.
I have not mentioned all the techniques but these are some that of the ones that I have practised myself and they work wonders. Meditation can alleviate stress, anxiety and increase concentration and productivity. Not all of us were created to become monks but we were all created to find peace & love within ourselves in this life.
Let me know if you’ve tried any of these methods and what your experiences were. Also feel free to ask me any questions.