Meditation and the art of relaxation

There are very few clear memories I have of my childhood, but one that stands out to me is of meditating in primary school.  I know, right?  A child of the 80’s and we were meditating at school!  We used to go into the library, lay on the carpet amongst the shelves of books and be whisked away to a place of calm.  I still use the exact technique I was taught all those years ago, especially when I can’t sleep.  We were told to lay flat on our back, arms by our sides and legs uncrossed.  We had to visualise a bright ball of light in the centre of our chest which would slowly find its way down one leg, then the other, up our chest and down both arms.  Eventually it would go up through our neck and face pushing all the ‘bad’ out through the tops of our head.  For me, it doesn’t work unless I actually ‘see’ the light.  I have to push everything else out of my busy mind to accomplish this, and it can be tough.

That’s my understanding of meditation.  It always leaves me feeling calm and at peace.  I have a lot of trouble sleeping (I hate night-time and the darkness) but this technique helps me to quiet my busy mind and eventually fall asleep.

That is what we learnt in the 80’s and I’m no expert, so I asked my very clever friend Sam Bell to guest post today on her experience with meditation.  I really believe it helps to focus when things get crazy and overwhelming at work and at home.

I’ve been running my Social Media business for 5 years – nearly 6! A year ago, I was inspired by a friend, Jan Stewart, to meditate at the start and end of each day. Funnily enough, it must have been the right time as in the past I’d dabbled in meditation and done a lot of yoga – though never thought I could do a year of daily meditation. 

I meditate as soon as I wake in the morning and it’s the last thing I do at the end of the day. I find it gives me so many gains in life and that it is routine now that I have very rarely thought of it as a chore or needing to fit it into my schedule. 

I do between 10-20 minutes meditation. You may decide to do 5 minutes. Whatever works for you.

Here’s my steps:

1. Get comfortable – for me that’s cross-legged in bed or on a chair or the floor. If it’s noisy, I might put earplugs in as I’m mindful I’m still a meditation beginner who can be influenced by noises around me.

2. (Optional – For Twitter users, I tweet from @SamBe11 that I’m meditating and for others to join me – the Twitter hashtag is #deepdive)

3. Set the iPhone timer to 20 minutes and start.

4. Close my eyes and focus on going deeper inside and broader in my mind… I let my thoughts go. Many people talk about what this means so there’s much written about it and this is the point I receive most questions about. It’s really that I’ve found my own way – and you can find yours – to quieten the thoughts – trust that you can. When my mind is very busy, I concentrate on going ‘down’ in my subconscious – sometimes it been focusing on a point in my mind. I’m apologetic that I can’t describe it any better. Trust yourself to find your own.

5. And after 20 mins, of struggle / calm / freedom from thought… it’s over with the harp sounding from my iPhone. 

Jan has many years of experience in meditation and yoga. She’s been learning about other people’s forms of meditation that’s not sitting still – many find it through sport – running, swimming, cycling. It’s whatever works for you. 

I find swimming is great too and I also appreciate the practice of sitting still to slow thoughts.

All in all, it’s been a wonderful experience for me as my brain is very creative and thinks of many ideas, things to do and concerns to have. Meditation has allowed me clarity of what to do next, easier mind and way of being in life, and wisdom that when things are seeming hard or not right, that always, everything I do is positive and always heading the ‘right direction’.

Meditating enhances my flow in life. May it do the same for you.

You can find Sam travelling the world, skiing whenever there’s a drop of snow, running social media seminars through Runway Digital and so much more.  Perhaps she fits so much into her schedule due to the calm she finds through mediation.

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Comments

  1. Celia Ready says:

    I love the feeling of just drifting of and shutting down your mind for a short while.
    I take Nanny naps in the afternoon. That helps me get through the day and into the night.
    I would like to meditate, it would certainly help with everyday life dramas etc.

    • I’m going to try the technique Sam has spoken about in the post and meditate first thing in the morning and last thing at night. I’m hoping it will help me to focus better during the day. I’ll let you know if it makes a difference 🙂

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