Talking of meditation, I cannot tell you how much meditation helped me recently, how grateful I am that I have practiced meditation a lot over the years. I’m grateful for the times I didn’t feel like it but did it anyway or when it just wasn’t happening but I persevered. Why? Because when things have been difficult over the last few weeks with Mum’s illness I have truly found the benefit of this calming, focusing practice.
There have been many nights when I have been awake at 4am with thoughts and worries going round and round in my head. In a state of semi-sleep this can continue for hours, but when I realise what is happening and make a conscious decision to change it, then the magic begins to happen. To find out how meditation has helped me cope during this challenging time, click here to read more on my website.
Find a point of focus
I start by finding something, anything, nice to concentrate on. For me this is often a tree, a flower or even just watching my breath – anything that is completely unrelated to what has been churning round my head. It is not always quick and often not easy either. However I keep bringing my mind back to my chosen thought, every time it starts to following the churning thoughts again. In time it wanders less often and I notice my wandering mind more quickly to bring it back. I notice that it’s easier to re-focus on the more pleasant thought and that I become calmer and my heart rate slows again. And gradually I fall back into a restful sleep.
But this doesn’t happen by chance, this happens because I have practiced and practiced and practiced. Practiced in my group, with You Tube videos, in retreats or courses, with CDs and just on my own. Time after time, so that I know what my mind is prone to doing, so that I know what thoughts are likely to keep my mind engaged and focused when it is at its most distracted.
Our online meditation circle meets every Thursday at 7pm on Zoom
I lead a guided meditation for about half an hour, sharing exercises, techniques and journeys to help you find your own way with meditation and hopefully help you to build your own practice.
I ask for an exchange of £5 per week (or £20 per month if you are a regular attender)
Some come every week, others just when they need it. Some have other commitments and so book with me in advance and I send the recording of the session to them afterwards.
I record each session but after I have stopped recording we often stay online and chat about our practice and whatever else comes from where the conversation takes us…….
How it works.
- I send out a weekly reminder email
- Reply to this email or click the button in the email to let me know you are interested that week
- I will confirm and send you payment details
- You will receive an email an hour or so before the circle with a link to join on Zoom. It is very simple to join!
If you would like to join this week then please complete the form below and I will be in touch. You can also complete the form below to go onto the reminder list if you can’t make it this week.
Please note that by completing above form you will be signing up to join my mailing list. I send out weekly reminders for the meditation session and a monthly newsletter. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Why Online Meditation?
Like you, I hear and read the news and know that so many people are struggling with loneliness and mental health issues during this time of enforced isolation. These issues are not new but the lack of human contact, mental stimulation and concern over the virus are often bringing them to the surface. If this is you, then you are not alone and joining an online meditation circle could really help. There is a sense of group, of community in a meditation circle despite the fact that I am the one doing most of the talking by leading the guided meditation. The small detail of our being in our own homes and many miles apart, also has no bearing on the sense of togetherness that practicing meditation in a group can bring.
It is a year or so since I ran regular meditation circles in my sitting room. However, my concern for people’s mental wellbeing as they became more isolated from society, was one of the main reasons I decided to bring the circles back. Of course it’s now in an online format, but you can join me every Monday lunctime and Thursday evening (we’re finished in time to clap for the keyworkers) and I’ll even send you a reminder that morning so you don’t miss the sessions.
There are other things that meditation can help us with, particularly at the moment as we are learning to accept change and dealing with an emotional rollercoaster or new emotions as we come to terms with what is going on with the world and the virus.
mentally stepping away from the difficulties we are facing at any point
show how sitting with our emotions can help us accept and deal with them in a kinder fashion
bring focus and clarity to the thoughts we really need to focus on, rather than being constantly distracted
I want to introduce, or re-introduce, more people to meditation and to these benefits. So if you’ve never tried meditation before, but have maybe heard it’s a good thing, then this could be your time to give it a go – half an hour of your time and your don’t even have to travel anywhere. You might find that the quiet of a guided meditation is just what you need.
You’ve tried it but don’t think it’s for you,
A lot of people say to me that they have tried but can’t do meditation or that it wouldn’t work for them because their mind is too busy and my answer is always the same – you have to try it, I mean, really try it and you have to practice regularly. You wouldn’t take up a new hobby, sport or musical instrument and expect to be perfect straight away. You would expect to have to practice and to strengthen certain muscles, you would expect to start at the beginning and make mistakes along the way. Meditation is no different. We are training the brain, like a muscle, to undo what it has done all our life, over think. We have to learn to do things that are different and don’t come naturally, we will have days when we can do it and days when we can’t – and that’s ok. In fact the journey of learning and recognising your reaction to what happens on your journey is what it is all about – that is meditation.
I’ve done a lot more meditation than usual during lockdown and at first I thought it was the escapism I was enjoying, but actually it’s the space I’m loving. The space in my mind between the thoughts. The space when it all stops. It doesn’t happen easily or all the time but the more I practice the more often it happens. Funny that, isn’t it?
And if it’s not for you, do you know someone who could use one of these benefits – even if they don’t realise it themselves. Then please forward this blog to them or send them my email address email@example.com – you could be doing them a huge favour!
Would you like to try the session first, here is a link to my You Tube channel where I have uploaded a few meditation videos that you can use at any time.
Three times this week I have heard the advice about not giving negative thoughts room in your head, and it’s only Wednesday! Twice this came round in discussions about using meditation techniques to prevent the negative thoughts taking hold of your mind and so preventing the trains of thought that often follow a negative idea, which if unchecked can spiral out of control. At worst turning a single negative thought into a bad day or depressive episode.
Yesterday, I was reading Joanna Watters astrology newsletter and she commented on the full moon on Sunday. This full moon falls in emotional Pisces which means it could be a time of emotional upset or turmoil for many. However if you have the tools to work with, you can prevent negative emotions and feelings from ruining your day. Meditation gives us these tools: by practicing regularly we can learn to re-focus our mind when any thought pops in, so why can’t we do this with specific types of thoughts, ie negative ones? We can, and better still, we can learn to steer ourselves away from those thoughts that are going to make us unhappy. We can learn to pick and choose what thoughts we allow into our heads.
Of course, there are times we need to address negative issues but what’s to say we can’t decide when is an appropriate time to deal with this, not just when our mind feels like it – but that is a whole other topic and blog post!
As we practice meditation we can learn to identify when our mind has wandered away from the object of our meditation and by doing this regularly we can create a habit of noticing when our mind has been distracted by thoughts that are not to do with the task in hand. Once we’ve noticed this distraction we can then choose to bring the mind back. For example: whilst writing this post my mind has tried to wander off to my to do list or what photo will look good next to this post, but as I become aware that I am thinking of something that is not to do with the subject of this writing (ie when I’ve lost my train of thought) I bring it back to how I want to phrase the next line. Today is a good day and my mind is fairly well focused, but some days it’s a proper monkey mind and I’m forever pulling it back (and that’s only when I’ve noticed it’s been off elsewhere) – it could be luck that today is a good day, or it could be because I’ve been practicing watching my mind and an beginning to create the habit of focusing on one task at a time.
Come Sunday’s full moon I will be watching my mind closely. I already had plans in the diary to spend the day with friends, and with a busy rest of the weekend I know it would usually be an emotionally trying time for me. Now that I am for-warned and have the tools, I am confident I will get through this much more easily than I might have done before.
So, was it just coincidence that I have repeatedly heard this advice, at this time or a pertinent warning from my guides or angels to be on my guard and to look out for myself? I know many who would dismiss the latter in an instant but I feel there are just too many coincidences not to have some significance. I’d love to hear your views on this, please leave me a comment on here or on social media @medullaspace
Much love and light