MINDFULNESS IN MEDITATION
My shared, first time adventure into meditation; a depth of spirituality. For those there who are curious about holistic and spiritual healing, want to know a bit more about what to expect/ experience, or perhaps you’ve been searching perpetually for help with mental struggles, stress or insomnia? This post is just for you guys – so please, read on!
Sorry, this is my first post so this piece of writing might be quite enthusiastic… Nevertheless, sweet inner peace, ahh… clarity and calmness – this was yesterday’s (and actually this morning’s) mindset as I went on only a day’s journey into the realm meditation. Meditation, in case your thirsty for knowledge, originated from India approximately in 5,000 BC – wow, it certainly must have some benefits to have sustained presence that long?
There are many benefits to have been discovered through meditation, however before we get onto those I would like to first discuss the relationship between chakras and meditation. “Chakra” literally translates into “wheel” or “disk” however, this actually references to our spiritual energy centers or vortexes of energy within our body. There are seven main chakras – of which you can research yourself – but they are positioned from the very top of the head down to the bottom of your coccyx. As you would expect, they all correspond with different parts of the body and all have physical, emotional, psychological, emotional and spiritual influences. So, as you can expect (alike any other part of the body) they can be blocked, delivering negative effects. Meditation is used to achieve chakra alignment which puts them in balance; which may be the relief from your stress, depression or anxiety.
My meditation journey commenced yesterday (on a surprisingly sunny day 🙂 at 10 AM as it was a full day workshop, by none other than Buddha Bros e.g. Alex Dudgeon and Cameron Fischer, which went on until 4 PM. Prior to the workshop I had no prior experience and – unlike you guys – had no expectations or thoughts as to what it would be like. However, as soon as i got there it may not be a mindful/ spiritual practice but I had a keen sense I was going to enjoy it, as Cameron had freshly made lemonade and brownies, (vegan of course!) but in the plentiful! After my decedent second breakfast, I headed into the studio room where yoga mats each with a light blanket lay together, individually. Alongside that was also the day’s schedule and information about meditation – with a pen for notes. (Boy was I impressed, and happy – I could curl up into a ball with my blanket and cushion!)
The benefits of meditation noted on the sheet included: gaining inner peace, an increase of self awareness, becoming grounded and calmer, curing insomnia, increasing spiritual connections and fulfillment of life. Of which I will share my personal benefits at the end.
The energy in the room at the beginning of the session was already very positive – I was amazed at how open everybody was about personal difficulties, events and situations which provoked a surmount of empathy and compassion to everyone in the room, it was as if already we were such great friends and could trust and share with one another! The power of just community and search of a common feeling had astounded me.
For the morning session we participated in ‘active meditation’ as Alex explained to us. This first exercise consisted of shaking and dancing, the aim of which was to unblock our blood vessels to allow our blood to run freely around the body, and thus our free flowing energy. Plus it allowed us to clear our sugar hype from Cameron’s delicious lemonade! We all shook our entire bodies for about 20 minutes I believe. Our eyes were closed, so we could focus and release emotions; allowing us to flow with the music without holding back. The shaking had to involve our entire body from feet, to head – and although difficult to multitask my entire body into vibration mode simultaneously – I did find it most enjoyable. The dancing was similar, for approximately 20 minutes, with our eyes closed however this time our movement could be more free flowing and personal.
Interestingly, I found this particular active meditation quite evoking as I found it broached certain troubled memories with my parents where I wanted to move – run – packed with adrenaline and energy, this also allowed my to release a lot of my tension and agitation I didn’t know I had. Skeptically, whilst performing this meditation form I saw a pulsing yellow glow, despite eyes being closed. Once the dancing concluded we all sat and shared our unique experiences; a few others had also seen a luminous yellow, green, or stunning blue. As explained, this was probably my Solar Plexus Chakra – which may have cleansed some of my energy blockages. I sure did feel rejuvenated afterwards! (Or was it just the sugar and exercise!…)
Afterwards, we had a scheduled herbal tea break. 🙂 It was lovely just openly talking to people, as everyone was so friendly and polite – mind, there was one hell of a queue for the kettle! I discovered as well, several people with my personal beliefs and ethics which gave me immeasurable joy, because I don’t believe you can really do better than finding people you can truly connect with on your own personal traits. (Thanks Claire and Jeni! 🙂 ) Also, I think it made me lift my tolerance of herbal teas…
“Imagine you wake up every day with £86,400 in your bank account and at the end of the night it’s all gone whether you spend it or not. The next day you had another £86,400 – what would you do?
Every day 86,400 seconds are deposited into your life account – what would you do?”
The next section of our workshop involved balance breathing meditation, this consisted of square breathing. This technique involved breathing deeply for four seconds though your nostrils, holding for four, and releasing for four. We all tried this intermittently between simple meditation (crossed legged, palms out, eyes closed and focused on breathing) with each individual nostril and then both. I found this to be very soothing and would definitely suggest to you to try, because just like cleaning your bedroom, you need to clean your body. If, anything this would be good for sleeping especially; a member of our group soon ended up snoring on the mat after this exercise, so it goes to show! 🙂
To top of the delightful composure we also did “shavasana” – corpse pose, which is not as frightful as it seems! It is the type of meditation where you lie down with palm outwards, breathing calmly. It was very pleasurable, as I discovered by this time my mind was a clear canvas (somehow!) and I was engrossed in peace, switched off to all the heavy traffic around me. Before lunch, Alex had been sharing with us some inspiration in mindfulness which I highly recommend listening to, which will be on this page.
Lunch was absolutely fabulous – plus there were still oodles of brownies for the taking! 😉 It was a lovely Indian spread of samosas, red roasted pepper sandwiches, chickpea khandvi, houmous, a lovely coriander dip (gonna have to make that for you guys!) A beautiful bounty of salad with more… Again, I got to have a good sit down and talk with these amazing people; Sam, Cameron, Vicki, Faye, Sue – the list goes on… In my opinion, this was one of the best parts about the day as unlocking emotional balance is amazing for your body and spirit but you also require social connections and stimulus to connect your energy to the world and for it to have a potent effect.
The last part of the day, from around 2 PM, was quite unorthodox of ways in meditation… and ending fun… We explored happiness, gratitude and celebration through ‘receiving’ and ‘giving’ meditation. This is quite a apprehended as one of the most powerful and emotionally moving meditations. It involved deep meditation in combined humming, so the strength of our vibrations reverberated through our stomachs. We then had to raise our arms out as slow as possible in different positions to resemble a heart to complete the practice.
I myself did not have a heartfelt experience during this except a feeling of heaviness weighing down my hands, however as soon as it was completed I immediately found myself to be quite nauseous. This did feel particularly spiritual as if there were a great external force that had been cast down. Many members of the group had been caught up in such heavy emotions they were overjoyed, exalted, some were overpowered with tears and others were with a force so great they couldn’t physically move their arms.
That was the concluded experience of meditation, we did also have incredible mindfulness exercises where we had to hug every person, say five things: we love, we’re grateful for and we could do to be better to ourselves. This part I found to be quite emotional, so thanks Cameron, Jeni and Vicki! 🙂 Of, course for the final parade we sang Three Little Birds and Ain’t no stoppin’ us – boy my singing has gone downhill!
In conclusion, my experience varied from a numbness to vigorous emotion. As, expected meditation is a skill and just like any other skill, it requires constant practice once you try it (and I know you will)! For the average human your breathing rate should be between six and nine breathes per minute. At the start of the meditation my rate was 19 breaths per minute however, by lunch it reduced to 9 breathes per minute! I definitely experienced reduced tension, and my breathes no longer trembled when I exhaled. Later that day, on a walk with my dog, I was completely calm, with steady actions – similarly, to the next morning. My sleep was very refreshing and I could have easily slept for 11 hours. I also experienced no tense muscles or cramps – phew!
I personally intend to carry on with meditation and have downloaded the headspace app to try and I know there is an array of videos/ playlists on youtube if you are keen to try as I do recommend it to anyone, even if you’re not battling any problems – it may just do you good! 🙂