Meditation

What; When; Where; Why; How of Meditation

What

Meditation is a form of focusing your mind and energies, there are several benefits from this. Firstly, it enables you to calm and centre yourself, thus enabling you to face problems and issues rationally, frequently finding the answer within Secondly, it stills chaotic thoughts and, by emptying your mind of surface thoughts, allows problems to be dealt with individually; removing and separating the emotion from the issue. Finally, it could also be used in conjunction with relaxation techniques or as an aid to underpin other tools that enhance mind power.  These are attitude, attention, interest, relaxation and repetition, used in conjunction with written, spoken and visual cues.

When

Meditation should be carried out at regular intervals for the most beneficial and effective results. Utilise your knowledge and acquired skill to attain a meditative state with a short exercise of deep breathing before and after, before going into an important meeting, or giving a presentation. It is also useful to aid concentration when required eg: examinations, interviews. 

Where

You can meditate at any time and anywhere, preferably in peaceful surroundings. If you practice meditation, you will find that you can go into a crowded room, or a noisy park and still manage to remove yourself from the everyday world to a place of calm and stillness. You may practice meditation either inside or outdoors – wherever you feel comfortable; some people prefer outdoors as they feel more in tune with nature and closer to their God. 

Many people may be unaware, but going to church and entering into deep and thoughtful prayer is a form of meditation. The ambience of churches is conducive to reflective, inward contemplation.

Why

Meditation is necessary, it drains stress and alleviates everyday hassles, releasing the strains and emotions from your daily grind.  Added to which, the deep breathing with accompanies the meditative state cleanses and purifies the body, oxygenating the blood. 

How

When you first start to meditate, it is more effective if you go somewhere quiet, and sit comfortably, but upright. Unless you sit with your spine fairly straight your body cannot take advantage of the deep cleansing breathing. Additionally, slumping merely makes you feel more depressed. 

Deep breathing exercises before the meditation aids the state and increases the effect. Breathe in deeply until your lungs feel slightly tight but not uncomfortable; hold for a few seconds and breathe out more than you breathed in. Repeat this five times before you meditate. This deep breathing ensures that your lungs and blood are truly oxygenated, by clearing any stale air that sits at the bottom of the lungs.  If you do not have time to meditate, a short breathing exercise and a few positive affirmations can be used to lower nervous tension before a presentation or speech.

Candles and stones can be used as additional focal points; the stone is held lightly in either hand.  A lighted candle gives the eyes a focal point, and the conscious mind something to concentrate on. This allows the subconscious to rise to the surface and, from a state of calm detachment, achieved when a true meditative state is reached, deal with any problems or questions that have arisen. The answers frequently can be found deep within ourselves, and if not, we are able to reduce the problem or issue to manageable proportions.

Visualisation is a tool that is used to back up words, as pictures are more easily assimilated into our mind and memory than just words. Since childhood you have used images, often quite simplistic and basic pictograms. Most people including children, if they are shown a big golden M will associate it with McDonalds.  Similarly, outline images are easily recognised, add some xxx to your signature and this represents kisses.  A bowler hat is a recognised English icon, however, add a curved top walking cane and it becomes an American icon known as Charlie Chaplin.  Road signs do not have words, but are universally understood. There are many other examples; we understand the meaning behind them and our mind makes the connection without conscious effort. 

Most people, if they are asked would probably say, ‘I can’t visualise, I’ve never been able to see pictures in my mind.’ This is because they do not understand what they are seeing, and assume that people who say they can visualise can actually see very clear pictures in full colour, just like a photo or movie. If you ask the same people to close their eyes and describe what you are wearing, or what colour is your dress, they would have no problem. They ‘see’, but have never realised that this is what is meant. 

Simple visualisation can be achieved if you imagine a walk round your garden or home. Somewhere you know very well and then you can walk out the door and down the road and enter a purely imaginary place; a park or a wood, or even a country lane; sometimes people open a gate or door into.......... whatever, wherever and whenever.  People and animals met here are mentors, guides, friends, someone or something to assist your insight into whatever you are looking for.

Colours can be used as a focus for particular aspects of your mental journey; Start with a field of red poppies and then move through various colours - a grove of oranges and lemons; into a grass lawn, then a bluebell wood which leads to lavender beds and finally to a country lane lined with violets. At each point, stop and allow the colour to wash over you, the scents and texture and sounds.