Showing posts from January, 2014

Further exploration of body and mind

The thing I forgot to mention in my last post is to recognise the quality of  experience when you are paying attention to the body or doing the normal mind thing.

You might also like to try this exercise. Calculate:

((15 x 2) + 10 ) / 4 - 9 = ?

As you did the sum, were you worried about the past or future? Were you anxious? Probably not. This way of using the mind to solve things or fix things is one of the ways we avoid facing the difficulties that may be in our lives. In my last post, I suggested that putting awareness into the body had much the same effect. However, being in the body cultivates a spacious sense of awareness and the sensation of letting go, whereas distracting ourselves with focused thought has the tendency to contract our field of awareness and bunch our muscles up. It seems easier to the bunching up, but this uses energy and relies on us having resources to feed this habit. Over time this becomes habituated and drives other behaviours such as eating and drinking t…

The body and the mind

One of the interesting things about meditation is that once you relax your mind, you start to inhabit your body. Seeing the difference between these two aspects of yourself can seem mundane, but this is the cusp of 'where it all begins'. Moving your attention into your body at will is a powerful technique.

Try it now: take a deep breath in, put the mind in your body, and then take a long satisfying breath out (saying 'ah' has you do it is quite nice). Were you worrying? Were you planning the future? Now, try and sustain it for four or five minutes - give your mind some time off in the body.

Reprogramming the subconscious depths

How's your meditation practice?

Unless you have an urgent need to do it, then you probably have a go for a little bit and then do something else to entertain your mind. This is like being seduced by the lotus eaters and no real change happens. One lazy way to start changing your life for the better is to have a go at changing your subconscious thought patterns. You can do this through hypnosis or, surprisingly, by brainwashing yourself repeatedly with phrases and ideas. You could start by listening to some guided meditations over and over again, or create some mantras and repeat them  to yourself. The amazing thing is that it works really well.

Try these handy phrases to get yourself going: may I be happy, may I be free.

Repeat constantly until you become happy and free. It works. Seriously.

Meditate every day

The mind is plastic and shapes itself to whatever you expose it to. Repeated meditation opens up a new window of thought in the mind that is deeply beneficial and rewarding. Unfortunately it requires repeated practise for this window to begin to open. Tedious you might say, even boring - this is the kind of thinking you need to look into and question. It is not doing you any good.

The other common complaint about meditating every day is that there is not enough time in the day to do it. This also needs to be looked at. If you do not have fifteen minutes in your day that you can spend cultivating self relaxation then:

- your life is not balanced
- you are not being generous with yourself

Being balanced and generous are positive attitudes - by giving yourself fifteen minutes you are beginning to take care of yourself properly. Once your meditation window opens, these positive mind states begin to blossom into incredibly satisfying things.

Another body awareness technique, grounding

The number of techniques for working with the body are numerous. Here is another way using an elemental approach - tuning into the physical nature of the body through the sense of hardness, softness, heaviness, etc. This type of meditation is good for highlighting the difference between mind and body.

Awareness of the body

I have started this year by going through the meditation techniques that have helped me the most. Awareness of the body is a true gift to yourself (even without doing anything else). Here's what it can do for you:

- you will be calmer and less anxious. Placing your mind in the body means it is not doing what it normally does - ruminating.
- you have somewhere to go outside your everyday mind.
- you get better posture
- you look cool while you are walking
- cats will gather round you

It sets you up for life basically. Once you have trained the mind like this, you have the ability to go even deeper. So what are you waiting for, do a body scan right now!

Exploring the body using chakras

Learning to meditate using the body can exploit a number of different techniques. Here's one using the chakras as focus points. Relax and let the energy flow!

Learn to meditate

I'll be going through my particular approach to meditation which is simple and pragmatic and something you can do by yourself, no teacher required. I did it this way because I was too ill to find a teacher or go on a retreat, and when I tried to find one I was knocked back. Anyway, the techniques I will describe will take you where you need to go - there's nothing new here, no magic, and you can take it or leave it. If you feel like you need a break, some relief from life, some outlet, some bliss, then give it a go.

So then, to begin, start with two things:
- a sensible diet - a body scan meditation

It's a good idea to do something every day. You can try my body scan but a good way to embrace the technique is to record your own version. Changing your diet to something healthy is not a trivial thing  - the urges and impulses related to eating are complex. Start by eating less.