Tips on Guided Meditation

“I just can’t stop my mind from thinking…”

 

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… is the usual response when I mention that I love meditating. People often believe they will only benefit if they sit for long periods with a chatter-free mind achieving buddhist monk status.

If you are working towards calming your ‘monkey-mind’ and extending your practice, just a few minutes daily will produce better results than a lengthy practice performed infrequently.

Tips to assist your meditation practice

  • Find somewhere you won’t be disturbed. If possible, choose a regular spot each time. This supports your mind in building positive associations. We are aiming for calm relaxation with a gentle focus
  • Take a few deep breaths to center yourself
  • You can say a prayer or call upon your Guides or Source to bless and protect you as you meditate

heart chakra

  • Bring your attention to your heart chakra in your chest
  • Start by generating feelings of gratitude, joy or other positive emotions. These help to raise the vibration of your energy field. This practice can assist your connection to your higher self and the Higher Realms which vibrate at a faster frequency
A simple guided meditation for clearing and connecting…
  • Imagine you have roots or cords emerging from the soles of your feet. Visualise them descending deep into the earth
  • In your mind’s eye, anchor these roots at the centre of the earth’s core
  • Using your out-breath, send any excess energy along the roots and into the earth… negative thoughts, frustrations, anxiety – just let them go
  • Then imagine you are drawing up the beautiful energy from Mother Earth. Let it flow up through your feet to fill your whole body

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  • Now visualise a brilliant white light beaming down from above. Watch it pass into your crown, flowing through each part of you
  • See it infusing and bathing every cell in your body
  • Imagine this light expanding and forming a cocoon around you

When you visualise and meditate this way, you are infused with high density light from Source or the Divine, filled with wisdom, codes and spiritual information. It is this light that protects and nourishes us whilst we meditate.

chakras

  • Next bring your attention to your chakras. Begin at your crown and imagine the light flushing through each one in turn
  • As you focus on each one, visualise each chakra wheel opening like a flower, allowing the light to activate and cleanse these spinning energy centers
  • You may start to feel a deep sense of relaxation and peace
If your mind wanders…
  • As unwanted thoughts creep in, which they will, just observe without judgement. Let them go without attaching to any one in particular
  • You can use your breath to focus your mind by locating the entry/exit point of the breath. Can you focus on the small sensation point where the air arrives as you inhale and leaves as you exhale? Each time your mind wanders, bring yourself back to this point at your nostrils
  • You could also focus on a mantra to calm your thoughts. A word or phrase: ‘love,”peace,’ ‘I am calm,’ ‘I am that I am’
  • Remain in this state, observing your breath, until you are ready to come back
Closing the meditation

At this point, your energy field may have expanded and your chakras will be open. When completing your session, it is important that you close down and manage your energy to ensure you remain in your body and grounded.

So…

  • Starting at the root (see the red chakra in the image above), one by one, imagine each of your chakras closing, like the petals of a flower
  • Visualise your cocoon of white light around you and into this protective bubble draw in your precious energyRose
  • Gently disconnect from Source / the Light above
  • Again, imagine your roots descending into Mother Earth, keeping you grounded
  • Bring your attention to the sensations in your body, wriggle your toes and become aware of the sounds around you
  • Welcome back Beautiful Soul!

And… repeat – regularly!

 

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Science-Based Meditation Research – top sites

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“Meditation is listening to the Divine within” – Edgar Cayce

There are over 3000 studies on meditation should you have the time to check them out!

A few research papers on meditation:

And a great book on how our state of mind affects our body, as discussed in my blog post here

  • The Genie in your Genes by Dawson Church PhD, 2014 links consciousness to genetic change. Remarkable science in the field of Epigenetics demonstrates our body’s potential to heal. Citing hundreds of scientific studies, Dawson Church shows how our beliefs and emotions can trigger the expression of specific DNA strands.

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Shasta, CA, Meditation Retreat, Sept 2014

I think it is safe to say that as a society, we are now aware of some amazing benefits associated with meditation and a calm or joyous mind…

So lets spend that time learning how to meditate or deepen our practise!

And should you need any more reminding, check out the infographic below…

Benefits of Meditation Infographic
Thanks & gratitude to liveanddare.com for some smashing info.

Blessings on your journey of meditation, mindfulness and heart-centered living. My next post on meditation tips may also be helpful…

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Why Meditate?

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“One conscious breath in and out is a meditation” – Eckhart Tolle

50 years ago there were no research papers on meditation. It was viewed in the Western world as a ‘feel good’ practise, something enjoyable, a little esoteric but not worth studying.

Today, our mainstream media – 60 MinutesTIMEThe Washington PostThe New York TimesHuffington PostThe New Yorker and Scientific American – frequently report on the benefits.

There are now hundreds of papers including randomised control trials, showing that what we think and how we feel have a profound effect on our body. iStock_000001850571XSmallAnd not just: ‘Oh how lovely, I feel much calmer now I’ve meditated, recited a couple of joyous affirmations or completed my deep breathing exercises.’

Research shows that when we shift our thinking and regulate our emotional state, we can affect our body on a genetic and cellular level.

Hard science now provides evidence to show that when we calm our mind using skills like meditation, heart-coherence or Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), our body down-regulates or switches off certain genes and switches on others, resulting in an abundance of healthful changes.

REFLECT_000007706240ResizedAnd we are not just talking about a couple of molecules or proteins that are affected…

Throughout every system in our body, genes that regulate inflammation, immunity response, respiration, cell lifespan, uptake of oxygen, reproduction and digestion etc can be affected, resulting in significant biological changes.

So, developing the ability to relax and shift ones consciousness into a state of joy, love or bliss – and I have experienced this at times during meditation – seems to be a positive move. It takes time and practice but even a few minutes daily can be the start of something more profound.

The ability to maintain these skills to regulate emotional states in daily life is a mindful, present-moment practise in itself… I will leave it to Ekhart Tolle and his teachings, to go into more depth on this.

IMG_2107Having spent 6 months on sabbatical, deepening my own practise whilst in the power spots of Sedona in Arizona, Mount Shasta in CA, Machu Picchu in Peru and Glastonbury in England, meditation comes highly recommended! (There I am soaking up the vortex energy in the wilds of Sedona!)

  • Balance, relaxation, self-control and the development of consciousness are the promise of what awaits us when we meditate
  • Long term meditation leads to anatomical changes in the brain that can be measured by MRI, functional MRI, EEG
  • Meditation reduces the stress hormone cortisol and increases melatonin which changes the pattern of gene expression. For example, this study shows that the genes responsible for producing inflammatory molecules can be reduced by meditation

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  • Specific regions of the brain are activated through meditation, changing brain cell connections and body chemistry. This  promotes lower blood pressure and heart rate, increased attention, faster recovery from injury, emotional stability and resilience

Meditation is not just about sitting in the lotus position, clearing your mind of thoughts. I have tried different approaches at various stages of my journey with a variety of teachers. Check out my next post for more in-depth research on meditation.

Further infoTed talk by Harvard neuroscientist, Sara Lazar on the brain benefits of meditation

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Mother Nature at her Finest…

‘When weeds in wheels shoot long and lovely and lush’Spring by Gerard Manly Hopkins

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It was overwhelming joy I felt this morning on my walk.

I was greeted by so many beautiful flowers and fresh green shoots, revealing themselves anew, as the season unfolded right there before me.

Mother Earth reminds us that the simple things in life can really make a huge difference to our wellbeing.

Awaiting IMG_2332 (1)the arrival of Spring has been an exercise in patience this year. I am new to town and settling in an unfamiliar country. It was far colder here than a London winter. My usual damp and grey was replaced by an icy, snowy -17C a few months ago in New Jersey.

However, this morning, amongst other blooms, I was thrilled to discover the dainty, white bells from a flourishing lily of the valley. Nature at her finest, peeping through with verdant, shiny leaves.

How blessed are we to have the beauty of the natural world to lift our spirits? Mother Nature’s restorative capacity to ground us, nourish our soul and remind us there is more to life than our daily ‘to do’ list, is truly a gift.

Remaining present in the moment, maintaining a faith in a higher power or ‘hanging in there’ can be an interesting challenge at times. Let’s celebrate the power of nature to lend a gentle hand, to bring us back to the present and infuse us with exuberance. In doing so, perhaps we allow acceptance, patience and love to fill our heart.

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As you may already know:

  • Exposure to natural environments such as parks or woodland, enhances our ability to cope with and recover from stress, illness and injury
  • Established methods of nature-based therapy including wilderness, horticultural, and animal-assisted therapy have success healing patients who previously had not responded to treatment of some emotional or physical ailments
  • People have a more positive outlook on life and higher life satisfaction when in proximity to nature, particularly in urban areas
  • The benefits of grounding are many – and thats another post!

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So if you are faced with adversity or challenged by a busy mind, don’t forget there is healing to be found close by.

Go outside… breathe. It may just restore your composure and it will definitely soothe your soul.

And remember that we are so much greater than our stuff. We are all one and that includes being part of our divine Mother Earth.

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