"We don't meditate to get better at meditation. We meditate to get better at life". Sharon Salzburg
It is extraordinary to think that the practice of focusing on the breath has been undertaken all over the world, everyday for at least the last 2,500 years.
The mind is by nature unstable, inherently distractible and meditation is a means of stabilising it. The process can be compared to training the body when we exercise. In the process of bringing the mind back again and again from thoughts, we are training the muscle of attention.
Most meditation techniques use an object of meditation - something you return to again and again no matter what's going on in your mind. Through rain, hail, snow and sleet, fair weather and foul, you simply return to the object of meditation; returning lightly and gently.
And that's the key - returning again and again from what thoughts arise in our mind, because developing a meditation practice means learning to stop struggling against our thoughts. In the end thoughts will run us around in circles if we buy into them, but really they are mostly illusions - not really all that solid. They are as we say, just thinking.
In approaching mindfulness meditation, a key attitude is a recognition that the reasons why our mind gets so easily pulled away from the present moment is absolutely not our fault. It has to do with the evolution of our new brain that enables us to dwell, worry, anticipate, imagine and plan, in effect reliving past events or anticipating future events and then weaving a 'story' around them. Our brain keeps us on our toes! It is constantly seeking out things that we should be attending to - a bit of threat here, a bit of action there; this can be so helpful to us humans but constantly wandering off into essentially threat-focused thinking stimulates the threat system.
What meditation does for us is that is can help settle down the threat network and allows the mind to settle and therefore stops stimulating circuits that can be difficult for us. Then we have the opportunity to stay for a while in the rest and restore state.
Meditation helps calm the nervous system. It's good for the immune system. It's also good for the heart; it helps produce nitric oxide in the arteries dilating them and reducing blood pressure. It also smooths heart rhythms. And research has shown its benefits to managing anxiety and depression: A regular practice can be a major boost to health and wellbeing. Thousands of studies show it's simply good for us.
While meditation looks like you're doing nothing. In fact meditation is a powerful, active process. Whatever you do meditation can help you do it better.
"We meditate not to get better at meditation, but to get better at life."
6 week Online Mindfulness Meditation Course starts once group if formed. See 'mindfulness course' for details.
What people have said; "It was exactly what I needed and wanted. I couldn't be happier with my overall experience and satisfaction of the course".
"Thank you Evelyn for an excellent course and introduction to mindfulness as a way of life".
"It (the course) has given me hope that I could learn to manage my anxiety myself..."
" Evelyn has a wonderful way of explaining things...". "I gained so much from doing it and I would highly recommend it".
Useful Links: Why We Find It Hard To Meditate
A Beginner's Meditation
Senses and Breath
When we are feeling stressed, anxious and worried we can learn to make our breath work for us to help calm things down. There are many very simple breathing techniques which can be very useful.
Here are 4 guided audio instructions for a variety of breathing techniques. Try them for yourself, perhaps find out which you prefer – pick one or two and see if you can practice these so that you can use them when needed.