Choosing one or more meditation technique to practice, creates an individual ‘set of practices’ that is uniquely yours. They simply assist you in dropping out of being ‘wired and tired’ and returning to a more peaceful, more ‘real’, relaxed and alert state. Thus your meditation practice is a gift to yourself.
“Get real!”, “Wake up!” are common expressions used when the speaker wants a person to stop daydreaming or stop doing, thinking or feeling something that is (to the observer) a falsehood, a waste of time or energy, or source of unnecessary misery. We are inviting the person to be here, now, in the present. To stop worrying about what may or may not happen in the future, or to drop some old story from the past that is no longer serving any useful purpose, apart from misery-making – and which may not have been true in the first place.
Why do we want this for the person? Because we see that they are doing something to themselves that is against their natural state of being and when we want the best for them, we wish they would simply ‘be’. Come back to themselves. Relax. We know that, if only they would allow this shift to happen, they would be happier, more available to connection, more capable of solving issues and problems as they arise, and generally more pleasant to be around. Meditators are able to give themselves this gift, to wake themselves up. We all can.
In order to bring ourselves back to the present moment and to a fresh new perspective, we need to break out of our automatic cycles and reflexive responses. While we can’t stop them from occurring – the mind will chatter on endlessly – we can learn to observe them, while recognising that we are actually separate from them.
This shift in awareness can occur in just a few moments.
I have included in my new 6 part series a ‘micro-meditation’ technique called “Stop and Remember” which can bring you into the present very easily and quickly. Being in a state of awareness where we are watching and witnessing, is a much more balanced frame of reference, which brings with it a deep sense that ‘all is right with the world’, even in the midst of external busy-ness or chaos.
With practice, we begin to feel a stillness deep inside, where we can listen to our intuition and sense of knowing. We begin to trust ourselves more. We are less attached to being safe, being right – and more open to whatever life brings. Results are clarity, energy, creativity, love, patience, compassion and joy as well as physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health.
There are hundreds of natural ways to access this. When getting started, the best practice to adopt is the one you are going to enjoy doing that is easy for you to do, so you will want to do it regularly and often. I’ve created a sample set of 6 practices that are convenient to add to your routine and are generally only a few minutes in duration.
Benefits of micro-meditations
When you commit to a regular daily practice such as my “Energise Your Day” breathing process, you are developing a new relationship with yourself and your body through the invigorating breath and movement. As you continue to do this on a daily basis you are nurturing it and giving this awareness more room to grow. By doing this practice first thing, before any other inputs reach your consciousness, you are installing a platform of awareness that will support you all day. You begin each morning glowing, radiant, fully awake and alive.
The added benefit of this morning practice is that the fresh morning air is full of vital elements and nutrients and the method has you completely fill up your lungs with this freshness, completely infusing your body with prana or life-force. What a way to begin your day! Afterwards, allow the body to move spontaneously and discover what other stretches or movements it wants to do. Then make your way indoors for a warm (or cool) drink of your liking – and see how much clarity comes to your to-do list now!
There are three basic types of technique, which can be used singly or in combination:
• Awareness through the Body, e.g. Grounding exercises, Breathing techniques, Dance, Yoga
• Awareness through the Emotions, e.g. Letting go through laughter, tears, or other cathartic process
• Awareness through the Mind, e.g. Watching thoughts, Concentrating on an Image or saying a Mantra
You can take an opportunistic approach to shifting your awareness by using simple, micro-meditations at any time of day. You might also wish to have a more immersive experience and explore more fully what is waiting for you on the other side of auto-pilot. How vast, creative and sublimely peaceful can this new universe of inner awareness become?
There are many options on offer here, from a more structured, one-hour meditation to weekly group classes, to weekend retreats to a whole syllabus or spending several months in an ashram. However there is no need to wait until you ‘have time’ to try these more immersive experiences. A shift in awareness to being fully present is available at any time, anywhere.
Let it be an experiment! It’s about creating a positive habit but not making it a burden. Try a simple practice for 7 days and see if you feel like continuing, If so, you can extend it to 21 days, which is a reasonable time in which to evaluate how well its working for you. And remember it’s not about doing the technique to perfection but simply committing to the practice as best you can.