I created this meditation to use with clients who have a strong visual representation. It is designed for the beginner meditator and if you find the music is not to your liking (hard to find music that is can be played without breaking copyright) , just mute it and follow the prompts on the slides.
Most of the time we have good intentions and start a practice, but all too frequently I hear clients saying that “Something came up” and they couldn’t continue.
It is precisely at those times that a good meditation practice is the most helpful. Through a regular practice of meditation, and it really doesn’t matter what style, it becomes easier to clear the mind at times of stress, access creativity and perceive the world in quite a different way.
3 simple steps to setting up your meditation practice will help you to start your practice.
In the Southern Hemisphere after an unusual summer, autumn has begun with a series of heavy downpours. Much of country NSW and Victoria have been hit again with flooding for the second year in a row. Small creeks, usually insignificant are now torrents of water and threatening to inundate townships.
Mornings can be grey and misty and as we approach the Vernal Equinox, the length of time between night and day becomes more equal. There is a crispness in the mornings that takes a little getting used to after the warmth of the summer.
As the first of the Autumn Full Moons approach, we can turn our thoughts to manifesting new goals for this season.
These can be goals for improving health and wellbeing, so that the winter months are not spent laid up with colds or flu.
Still thinking of the approaching winter months, plans can be set in place to occupy our minds and to prepare us for a new fresh approach in spring. Take an hour or so to plan the next few months productively.
As you move towards a more introspective mindset, you might want to consider what, if anything has been holding you back. Whilst you are in this meditative state, ask yourself if there is anything that needs to be changed. Is it a habit or an unhelpful memory that can be addressed by accessing your unconscious mind?
How are you going to nurture body, mind and soul?
What gifts are you gathering from this season’s harvest which will nourish you and show you the abundance of the universe?
I scheduled ten sessions, each with a different topic and designed for both the regular meditator and the beginner.
Week one began with breath work, using different styles of breathing including counting the breath, and alternate nostril breathing. That one can be tricky if you have a cold or hay fever!
Week two was progressive muscle relaxation. We did going up the body from the feet to the head and then down again in a different style. There are as many variations on progressive relaxation as there are teachers, but I based the first on Ian Gawler’s interpretation and the second was what I use in some of my hypnotic inductions.
We had a short discussion whilst waiting to see if more people were to arrive about Chakras meditations, but we may not touch on this until the Mandala and meditation session in late November.
The mind is much clearer and the manual is on the way to being written. So many other books to read and reference from, but it seems that Mindfulness meditation is the path that I am most drawn to. It is a joy to sit a record the exercises, although there are a few “office noises” invariably just as the session is about to finish. It just means that I treat that as a rehearsal and do it again, and find that I relax more as I get into the flow of recording.
There are many forms of meditation around and there is sure to be one style that suits you. Make it a regular practice and you will enjoy the lasting health benefits too.
Four styles of meditation that I teach and practice are
Mindfulness Meditation is simply that. Being mindful of what you are doing now. I read recently that the future is only an illusion and it is important to be mindful of your actions and be fully present. Mindfulness can be practiced anywhere and the more you do it the sharper your focus becomes. For instance, I am typing now and mindful that as my thoughts come on this topic, my fingers move automatically over the keys. I am aware of the touch of the tips of my fingers on the keys and the difference in texture of the home keys under my index fingers. I am also aware of my eyes tracking the characters as they appear on the page and the cursor acts as a stop, thereby focusing my attention no further than the word being typed. I can then turn my attention to how I am sitting and the ambient air temperature – a chilly Melbourne morning! I am also aware of the sound of the keys as I quickly type this post and the gentle hum of the computer hard drive as it processes the information.
Focused meditation is just that. Focus. You can focus on anything you choose. Starting with the breath is just fine and creating an easy rhythm of in and out breath is very relaxing. Using a candle is another simple and accessible method. Light the candle and focus on the area between the flame and the wick – it’s usually a blue colour. Why focus here? The flame will move around with drafts and the process of burning and that can cause your attention to wander. The centre of the flame is more likely to be still.
Relaxation meditation such as clenching various muscles & then relaxing them, from the top of the head down to the tips of the toes combined with breath awareness is a wonderful way of winding down after a busy day. Doing it with the eyes open or closed doesn’t matter, but if you have your eyes closed and then gently open them at the end of the relaxation, then you will notice that your perception of the light and surroundings will have changed. If you are doing this in a group, take a few moments to gather your thoughts and you may even notice how different other people look as well. The tension that was stored in the facial muscles has miraculously melted away.
Where do you want to be today?
In your mind’s eye, you can go anywhere, create anything. This form of meditation is often used as a guided meditation where the facilitator will take you on a tour using metaphor and your imagination provides the images. Not just for escape, as by using the creative power of your imagination, you can gain insight and clarity for problems that you previously thought were insurmountable.
Where does your inspiration come from? Other people, books, social media? Daydreaming or travel?
What does inspiration mean to you?
The concise Oxford Dictionary defines it as a noun
“1. Drawing in of breath.
2. Inspiring: divine influence, esp. that which is thought to prompt poets etc.”
The verb to inspire also has two meanings.
“1. Breathe in, inhale, (air etc.) :
2. Infuse thought or feeling into (person; esp. of divine or supernatural agency) animate: (person etc with feeling); infuse (feeling into person etc)
I am going to take a deep breath, an inspiration and fill my lungs with fresh air. I will do this several times before starting my meditative reflection, or daydream and allow my mind to clear of the daily chatter. By the third inspiration, my heart rate will have slowed, my facial muscles relaxed and my eyes may have closed. The thoughts and ideas of the day will start to sort themselves out, unravelling through the tangled skein of neural pathways until there is a quieting of my mind.
As the various muscles unwind with the improved blood flow resulting from conscious inspiration, the subconscious starts to step out to play. As the mind starts to drift steadily and rapidly from the daily dross, an occasional fleeting thought passes across my awareness like a cloud scudding across the sky. Random thoughts; are they divinely inspired? Foremost in my mind are questions that I hope will be answered by this exercise.
The breathing slows and for a moment time and space ceases to exist. Aaahh! Nothingness! Elusive and yet achieved by steady inspiration. A sudden jolt and it is as if I have moved through a membrane into a different space. All my senses heightened, I take a deep breath in and open my eyes slowly. The light seems to have changed imperceptibly and I focus on what is in front of me.
There is the physical environment, the same as before, but now there is clarity of thought.
An answer to what I thought was a difficult problem has come to me in that moment. The reflection has revealed there is more to the picture.
So this is the other inspiration!