Week One - Gratitude
What is Meditation?
There’s a general feeling that the purpose of meditation is to handle stress, to tune out, to get away from it all, to relax. While that's partially true, in that these are some of the side effects of meditation, the real purpose of meditation is actually to tune in, not to get away from it all, but to get in touch with it all, to find that peace within.
Meditation is a way to get into the space between your thoughts. You have a thought here, a thought here, and there's a little space between every thought.
According to some ancient wisdom traditions, this space between the thoughts is a window, the corridor leading to your true essence and to your core consciousness. This is a wonderful place to be. It’s the place where anything is possible, it’s the source of creativity and imagination.
In meditation, we get into this space so we find infinite possibilities, infinite connection, infinite creativity, infinite imagination, and infinite power. That's what meditation is really about.
Setting yourself up for successful meditating
Decide on a place
If you are going to take meditation seriously and make it a routine part of your daily life, you need a place which is exclusively yours for the sole purpose of meditating. This may need some trial and error until you hit on the right spot in your home or place of work. Remember that you may spend long hours here, so you must be sure it is right for you.
Once found you need to start setting some house rules for your meditative space. This space is the womb of your meditation so be sure that it will have a temperature that is pleasant for you, that it is sufficiently well ventilated and has enough light, natural or artificial.
Your meditation space is just that - YOUR meditation space and it is for you to decide how you will protect and honour it. It’s the time to make decisions about who you will allow inside this space, when and for how long. It is the moment to start to think about the things that you will never ever do inside your space, the things that you might sometimes do and the things that you will always do.
Morning and evening coincide with our body's more peaceful rhythms. Our body knows how to be still; we just have to give it opportunity. Studies show that routines begun in the morning last the longest, but any time you look forward to meditating is the right time.
Other possibilities might be:
Just Before or Just After Work
During Your Lunch Break
During your commute (not if you are driving, of course) by bus or train
Squeezing Meditation into a Busy Day
We can all relate to not having enough time in life, but the crazy thing is, we actually find we have more time when we meditate because we’re more productive. No matter how packed your day is with to-dos, you can find five minutes to meditate.
Just Do It
If you find yourself indecisive on whether or not to meditate on a given day, don’t think about it. Just sit down and close your eyes. Even if it’s only for a minute, it will be enough.
Decide how long
The effects of meditation are cumulative, and setting aside as little as 15 minutes a day to retreat and rejuvenate will bring benefits. . Even one or two minutes of meditation will bring your peaceful state into the entire day, and as your meditation practice evolves, you can extend your time. It's better to spend just a few minutes meditating every day rather than aiming for an hour every Saturday.
Some people notice distinct psychological benefits in the forms of reduced stress and greater happiness with only ten minutes of meditation daily, although most people seem to require around twenty minutes to experience benefits.
Any amount of meditation is better than none. If you can manage twenty minutes a day, do twenty minutes. If you can only manage ten, do that. If three minutes is all you have, then spending three minutes is much, much better than not doing anything. If you can maintain a sense of being committed to your practice no matter what, and you’ll feel better about yourself.
Decide how to sit
Other than being grounded and having an erect spine, the rest can vary wildly. Hands can palms up or down. Eyes can be open or closed. Legs in lotus or not. Gaze downwards or forward. Some instructions are quite strict while others are more forgiving. There are many different opinions on the right posture for meditation. If you are using a chair, make it an upright one. In an armchair or sofa you might nod off.
We should all choose our own way in which to sit for our meditations. Once we find a comfortable position, we should try and use it each and every time we meditate. By organizing our bodies, we feel calmer organised in our minds. Using the same position day after day helps your mind to automatically know how to settle down. Sitting in the same position every time you meditate is a direct signal to your mind that “now it’s time to meditate”.
Create a to-do list for your meditation practice
Create a to-do list of the things you need to source or to change in order to give yourself the best chance of making a commitment to regular meditating. In addition to choosing your special place, perhaps you might need to buy a candle or some incense so that your space becomes special. Do you fancy a nice cushion or a special chair? Will you have music or some other sounds? It’s your place, you choose.
Body Scan Meditation (File Below) Approximately 9.30min
Our bodies do not lie. They are wiser than we give them credit for. An existing injury might be telling us to take it easy or helping us realise that something is out of synch. Get into the habit of scanning your body before you meditate and feel the benefits of learning to hear what your body has to say to you.
* Write down three qualities about yourself that you feel most grateful for.
* Make a list of all the people in your life that you feel most grateful for
* Write down one thing about each of these people that makes you feel grateful that they have been in your life