Hints and Tips for meditation:
Firstly make sure you are comfortable and won’t be disturbed. You can sit quietly or put on some peaceful music. Sometimes I just close my eyes, sometimes I sit in front of a lit candle and focus on the flame.
Either way you need to start with your breathing; take several long deep breaths in and out. As you breathe in visualise you are breathing in a pure white cleansing light that fills your body, as you breathe out visualise all the stresses and worries leaving your body. Do this several times until you start to feel calm and at ease. An alternative is to visualise yourself walking down 4 or 5 steps, with each step you get deeper into the meditation, casting off worries as you take each step.
Then the choice is yours – you can either go to the sacred space in your mind if you already have one, or make a sacred space for yourself – visualise somewhere that you feel happy and restful in – a field, a forest, on the beach, at the ocean – some place that you will feel totally at ease in. Over time you can visit this sacred space often and add to the area, you may even find new things appear all by themselves. It will be your own space, the place that is special to you, somewhere that you can visualise as your safe haven. This is the place I go to in my meditations last thing at night, this is the place that I sit and go over the events of the day with my animal spirit guides.
Or, you can use a guided meditation. Either read one over in your mind several times until you are familiar with it before you sit down to meditate and let your mind take you through it once in meditation or I also use my mobile phone or iPod and sit with the earphones in and let the voice on the recording guide me through the meditation.
Drumming and music are also good ways to meditate, something with a regular steady beat but not too ‘busy’.
Once you come to the end of your meditation you need to make sure you bring yourself back to reality slowly, coming out of meditation abruptly can cause headaches. Focus on your breathing again and slowly flex your fingers and your toes or use the step method but in reverse, each step taken brings you closer to the real world again.
Meditation is a very useful tool to give you peace for a few moments each day, to release stress and worries and to give you clarity and focus. If you have a problem or an issue that needs some thought try meditating on it.
These suggestions might seem obvious but just in case…these things help…
Avoid noisy distractions…so turn your phone off (unless you are using it to play meditation music through obviously). Turn off the TV!
Understand that meditation space does not necessarily mean silence, there may well be outside noises such as the dog next door barking, school children playing outside etc just acknowledge those are there and release them.
You need to be comfortable, now this doesn’t mean you have to pop on your harem pants and lycra yoga top but you do need clothes that don’t make you feel restricted. If you are at work taking a five minute meditation break just loosen your tie and slip your shoes off.
Know that you don’t have to meditate for four hours straight…unless you are a Buddhist monk. Just five minutes is a good place to start, the more you practice the longer your meditations will become twenty minutes a day is perfect but if you can only manage five minutes a day that is cool too. Don’t keep checking your watch though, that will be totally distracting. If you are on a time schedule just set a gentle alarm on your phone or watch…not a blaring heavy metal sound that shocks you back into being but some kind of tinkly ‘oooh time to come back to reality’ alarm.
I am not suggesting you do a complete yoga routine before you start but just give your arms, neck and legs a bit of a stretch first as you will hopefully be sitting still for a bit this just helps relax your muscles.
Sit or lie comfortably…you do not need to sit Buddha style with your legs twisted because honestly that hurts even if you can get in that position in the first place. If you choose to sit on the floor pop a cushion under your butt. But there is absolutely nothing wrong with sitting upright in a chair.
Meditation is traditionally performed with your eyes closed but you don’t have to. It does however help keep your mind focused and avoids distractions. If you choose to keep your eyes open allow them to unfocus and not particularly looking at anything unless you choose to watch the flame of a candle or are looking at a crystal for instance.
Breathing is a key component of a successful meditation…well of life really but what I mean is specific meditation breathing which we will look at further on.
Practising the art of visualisation can really help improve your meditation skills. You can do this by creating your own sacred space as I mentioned before, visualising a room/field/castle/open space and creating everything within down to the smallest detail. You can also practice visualising objects in your mind such as a piece of fruit – see it, examine every detail of the skin, leaves, stalk and colours then visualise taking a bite, how does it taste? You can do the same by visualising a flower and watching it grow from a bud into full bloom.
Try a walking meditation which involves observing the movement of your feet and being aware of your connection to the earth. You will need a bit of space for this and outside is better than indoors. If you can remove your shoes as well that helps. Hold you head up and look straight ahead with your hands clasped in front of you. Take a slow step with your right foot concentrating on the movement. After you take that first step stop for a moment before taking the next step, only one foot should be moving at a time. Take seven steps forward in total then stop with your feet together. Pivot on your right foot and turn around. Continue walking again. Try to focus on the movement of your feet and nothing else.
I also find that releasing my inner child and grabbing the crayons can really help to focus and bring about a meditative state. Doodling works very well but I love to draw and colour mandalas, once you get into the repetitive rhythm of the colouring you will find that your brain switches into a state of peace and you can allow it to take you on a journey. You can purchase colouring books (even ones specifically for grownups) from book stores and the internet but you can also download lots of free colouring pages and mandalas from the internet.
Mindfulness meditation can become part of your everyday life, when you get stressed during the day just stop for a few seconds and focus on your breathing and clear your mind from negative thoughts and emotions. Be mindful when you eat, focus on the food, what it tastes like, where it came from and the experience of eating it. Whatever you are doing throughout the day be aware of your thoughts; positive and negative and your body and how it feels.
Meditation is a journey, the purpose of which is to calm your mind, bring about inner peace and to eventually just ‘be’. This journey may take you years…enjoy the ride. Don’t worry at first about the quality of the meditation itself just focus on becoming happier, calmer and more at peace – if that is achieved then your meditation has worked.
Publication 11th December 2015
“An introduction to the beautiful world of meditation…
This book will take you on a journey giving hints and tips on how to meditate succesfully, breathing exercises, chants and visualisation tips. Also included are lovely meditation tea and incense blends, how to meditate with crystals, make meditation beads and a whole host of guided meditations for you to experience. Together with introducing you to other meditation skills such as pathworking, shape shifting, astral travel and working with meditation to cleanse your chakras.
The ability to bend into a pretzel shape and chant ‘om’ optional…”