We know that meditation relaxation is a key to managing stress. Yet many of us do not believe that meditation is for us or will actually work for us. By learning to meditate we can consciously direct our focus, tame our restless and confused minds, and lessen our grief and stress.
Meditation is relaxation for the mind. It is finding a single point of focus and maintaining it for a period of time, letting our thoughts and constant head chatter drift away. A little like turning off the outboard motor, we can let the thrashing waters settle to a glassy clearness that lets us see the depths below.
Start your meditation and relaxation practice with say five to ten minutes of single focused meditation relaxation per day. Once you are comfortable meditating for a short time you can work your way up to fifteen, twenty, thirty minutes or an hour each day.
Your single point of focus can be on your breath, as in mindful breathing and mindful meditation. You can meditate focusing on a candle flame, on a vibrational body scan, as in Vipassana meditation, or you can focus on something that is calming or has a spiritual significance for you.
Several meditation and relaxation activities are outlined within grief-healing-support for you to start with. There are many other meditation relaxation practices out there that you may like to try. You may also like to seek out one of the many meditation and relaxation classes, courses, retreats, books or CD’s available in the community.
Meditation Relaxation Environment
If you want to sit cross-legged on the floor, chanting a mantra while sandalwood incense burns, well you can. But you don’t have to. You can meditate just about anywhere, sitting, standing, lying down or even while you are walking.
When starting out it is suggested that you find a comfortable supportive location where you will not get disturbed. Make sure the room or area is a comfortable temperature and you are wearing comfortable clothing. Perhaps you can set up a special ‘quiet space’ somewhere, where you can go in peace. Place some objects around that are of special significance to you. If the cross-legged pose is not for you, sit on a good supportive chair, with your feet flat on the floor and your back straight and supported. Perhaps you can have some running water (I have a wonderful little water fountain that some say sounds like a dripping tap, but I just love it) and candles.
Schedule your meditation and relaxation practice into your day. First thing in the morning before the hype up for the day is a good time.
Exercise from Being Mindful
- Sit in a comfortable position that will allow you to maintain concentration (a sturdy chair with a straight back). Hands resting comfortably in your lap, head straight
- Close your eyes
- Focus on the area of skin on your top lip just under your nostrils
- Feel the air passing over this area with each breath in and each breath out
- Breath into your stomach, let it fill up like a balloon or as a baby breathes. Let your stomach soften and deflate as you breath out
- Follow your breath and let it happen naturally, gently, slowly, completely
- With each breath out relax and let go of tension and resistance. Relax into the moment
- Maintain focus on the air passing over your lip into and out of your nostrils. If your mind wanders, bring it back to your breath
- To start with it may help to breath in - count one and count two as you breath out. Breath in and count one, breath out and count two.
- Feel the energy of the universe heal your heart and your grief with each breath
- Your focus and attention stay with each and every breath. Do not think about breathing, just feel the breath as it enters the nose, fills the lungs, nurtures the body and returns to the atmosphere
- Continue for 10 to 15 minutes
Continue the Mindful Breathing Exercise for a Mindful Meditation. Work your way up to maintaining a mindful meditation for 15 to 20 minutes. See if you can maintain a meditation for up to 60 minutes. First thing in the morning is a good way to start the day.
Any mindful meditation will require some practice time and discipline. However, the results can well change your life.
Mindfulness meditation is learning to experience life fully as it unfolds moment by moment. Dr Jon Kabat-Zinn says that meditation is not about running away, or manipulating mental states. It is an invitation to wake up, experience the fullness of your life, transform your relationship with your problems, your fears and any pain and stress in your life so that they do not wind up controlling you and eroding the quality of your life and your creativity.
We often look forward to a holiday or a time in the future when we can relax in a special place. I want you to develop Your Special Space in your imagination. A space that is of significance and is special to you. A space where you can go to at any time to enjoy and relax. This space is to be yours alone. It is to be somewhere you feel safe, comfortable, peaceful, loved, loving and supported.
- Think of a time when you felt safe, happy and peaceful. Remember how that felt for you.
- Now think of a place where you feel safe, happy and peaceful. Perhaps you are thinking of a lovely sunny day and you are overlooking a beautiful beach. Or perhaps you are in a bush land setting watching a leaf drifting down to the ground and listening to the birds singing.
- Make sure that your space is yours alone. No one else can be there with you. This is your space.
- Look around this special space, soak it up, breath it in and touch its magic.
- Every aspect of your special space nurtures and protects you
- As you have created your special space in your mind, also create a door or entrance with a path leading up to it so that you can easily access your special space whenever you want.
- Now, create a trigger, mantra or a simple phrase or word you can use to instantly take you to your special space.
- Practice going to your special space and spending time there. Walk down the path or open the secret doorway. Look at your special space, give it a name, what do you see, what do you hear, what do you smell and how do you feel.
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