Meditation is for everyone. It’s never too late to start
I’d like to share with you a brief intro to meditation for anyone who has never meditated before or is just starting to inspire a deeper understanding and appreciation of this lovely practice.
Take a moment before you continue reading. Take one deep, slow, steady breath in. And now one deep, slow, steady breath out. Repeat nice and slow one more time.
There you go, that is already a good start!
I am going to share a little background on my meditation journey to show you that it is not always a linear process and there is no one size fits all. So, even if the meditation you try today doesn’t feel life changing or doesn't do much for you, I hope that my journey can serve as an example and inspire you to try different practices with different instructors until you find a space that interests you. As with yoga and really any other practices in life, trying different instructors and styles is always a great idea.
I started meditating probably 10-12 years ago by accident when I was backpacking through Asia. I found myself walking into an Ashram in Kerala, India, where a few friends were going so I thought I would see what it is all about. There was a lot of yoga, and each day started and ended with Chanting. Chanting Meditation is one of the many forms of meditation. It uses sound to produce altered states of consciousness. This sound can be healing, calming, or stimulating. The chants include sacred words, mantras, and prayers. I was a bit hesitant to begin. I went to the director of the Ashram and asked for the English translations of the Chants (yes, I was that girl!) and when I read what I was chanting I felt not only more comfortable, but also happier to be part of these meditations.
On this same backpacking trip, I also ended up (by accident again because a friend said come!) in a Vipassana Centre. I was wondering and I was curious. Little did I know what I was getting into! Vipassana is an ancient mindfulness meditation technique. It involves observing your thoughts and emotions as they are, without judging or dwelling on them. To start Vipassana Meditation one must take a 10 day silent retreat. You basically hand in your phone, books, pen and papers and forget about the outside world for 10 days. On my first experience my room mate ran away on day 2 and the girl in the room next door on day 7. Lets just say it can be quite challenging to stay for 10 days without talking to anyone but once you leave, after 10 days going deep within, you feel invincible. To learn more about Vipassana you can go directly to their website here as they have centres all over the world.
I tried to keep up Vipassana for awhile. Over the years I went back twice and it was great for me for that period in life. I then stopped for a few months or maybe even year, who knows... As I mentioned, it’s not always a linear journey. For awhile I just went on YouTube and listened to different meditations - most under 15 minutes.
About 2 years ago, I read a book “Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself”by Dr. Joe Dispenza which offered 4 meditations to build on weekly. I was so mesmerised by the teachings, that I started a Book Club because all I wanted to do was talk about the mind-blowing science that was being shared about meditation, energy, and what is does to the mind and body! I took to heart the book and started meditating as often as I could. I knew I had to get to one of Dr. Joe Dispenza Week Long Events to go deeper. When I arrived to Cancun in January 2022, the week long with Dr. Joe Dispenza brought my meditation to a whole other level, I entered spaces of oneness I had never felt before. You can hear all about that journey in my VLOGS on Youtube about the Dr. Joe Dispenza Week Long where I share all the insightful experiences. Since then, I started meditating daily and went back for a second training to Niagara Falls in September as I knew there was more I could learn. How do I feel? Amazing every time I do a meditation. Good or bad it feels great!
Why do I share all of the above? Because I want to make sure everyone knows Meditation is going to be an ongoing evolution. It comes in waves, sometimes it draws you in and other times out however the result is always the same, whoever you ask is simply happier.
A FEW KEY PRINCIPLES TO REMIND YOURSELF WHEN YOU PRACTICE MEDITATION.
Here is what is important to remember when you meditate, as a beginner or advanced meditator:
Non judgmental awareness: our minds are almost always challenging us to compare, categorise and label events in an effort to organise and understand the world, but this can be quite difficult to turn off. Remembering this non judgmental aspect, switching off the little voice in your head, is key.
Forgiveness: We are easily frustrated by events, circumstance or even our own thoughts. When you learn to accept all things outside of your control without judgment and with compassion for yourself and others you'll find it much easier to forgive
Trust the process
TYPES OF MEDITATIONS:
Mindfulness: being aware, mindful of what you're doing, thinking and feeling.
Vipassana is the teachings by the Buddha. It uses the breath and cultivates awareness. It teaches us to recognise our thoughts, sounds and sensations, by scanning the body.
Phrases and affirmations: “I am here” “I am alive” “My word is good” “I’m peaceful” “I’m one with the universe” ….
Focus & Concentration: using a focal point for attention. A common one is focusing on a candle flame or listening to chimes or the sounds of rain.
Chanting: chants are also known as mantras in some traditions and chanting the sound of the words are as impactful as the meaning of the words
Tonglen comes from a Tibetan tradition and it encourages using the breath as a vehicle for specific energetic exchange. For instance, inhaling peace and tranquillity, exhaling stress and tension.
Visualisation: this type of meditation can help cultivate desirable mindsets, emotional states beliefs and habits.
Improves brain concentration
Relaxes the mind
Brings you into the present moment
Reduces negative feelings
Improves sleep quality
Lowers levels of stress and anxiety
meditation is for anyone
you have the time
create the space
all you have to do is try
accept frustrations, even the most experienced meditators experience intense psychological and emotional resistance at times. Accept it for what it is and continue your practice.