Tag Archive | Meditation

Zentangle

Quite by accident this week I discovered Zentangle. I have been keeping my journal up to date and enjoy making it pretty by including pictures, quotes, pre-printed journal cards and recently, doodles which I have been painting with my watercolours. I always enjoyed colouring in pictures as a child and I have clearly not lost that desire to both doodle and colour.

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Inspired by designs I have seen on Pinterest I started to search through the pin boards looking for further ideas. That’s when I came across Zentangle. I can’t believe I haven’t come across this before but am certainly making up for lost time now. The picture below is my second attempt.

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The different patterns are called Tangles, and the Zen prefix gives you a clue that practising this art using the repetitive lines, circles and shapes is very relaxing. Fundamentally it is an easy art to follow as you need no previous experience and initially you work with a black pen only-no need for colour. The repetitive nature of the exercise encourages focus and concentration as you try to make each line and shape smooth. You literally lose yourself in the drawing and it clears the mind in much the same way as meditation.

For me this is a perfect way for me to relax. I am hopeless as mindfulness/meditation as I am very impatient and I like “doing” things. Sitting still is agony for me and therefore having something like this to do which not only needs concentration but also produces a pleasing end result is rewarding and soothing.

The creators of Zentangle, a meditative art form, are Rick Roberts (Zen) and Maria Thomas (Tangle) and reading about its development and formation is interesting. I am only a beginner at this but already I am hooked. It was my birthday last week and I was able to order a lovey Zentangle book and micron pens from Amazon to help me along my journey.

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I recommend this for anyone taking up Zentangle although you can find lots of ideas and inspiration on the web.

Have a go, and enjoy rekindling your inner child!

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Headspace

depressed

Many of my posts on this Blog are really diary entries albeit my diary is public.  To some people this sounds morbid but each time I write a post and it is published, I think that it’s yet another piece in the jigsaw that will explain to my son   why I am like I am. It’s a 21st Century legacy. My posts undoubtedly help me to communicate and explain how I feel and, in the process of writing about it, I often determine why I feel as I do. I feel comfortable doing this knowing that only those people who are really interested in knowing will be reading.  Kerching! The lightbulb moment when you realise what’s dragged your mood down, made you feel vulnerable and sick in the stomach. Your confidence and self-esteem plummets and it’s not until you stand back and look in from the “outside” that you understand what has caused this instability and insecurity.

I recognise a trend with those whom I consider are members of my “tribe”. We need to live in the moment. Not churn over what happened yesterday; not preëmpt tomorrows’ events but just take each day, each moment as it comes. This is when “Headspace” comes into its own.

I don’t know about you guys but I find any attempt at meditation/mindfulness/switching off nigh impossible due to an overactive brain and, although I have tried meditation and guided meditation CDs, to date I have not mastered the technique of “switching off”.

Headspace therefore offers hope. What is Headspace?

“Headspace is a project designed to demystify meditation. Using the wonders of science and technology, we make it easy-to-learn, fun-to-do, and relevant to your everyday life.

Here at Headspace we’re on a mission to get as many people in the world as possible to take 10 minutes out of their day, to practice a simple and easy-to-learn meditation technique.  And if you like the way it makes you feel, then we’d love to show you how to make that a life-long skill.”

I for one like this 10 minute idea. Surely I can switch off for just 10 minutes a day?  Let’s be positive and assume it is within the realm of possibility. I will be following this programme from tomorrow to see if it works and if it really makes a difference.

I cannot remember a time when my mind was silenced. Even in sleep I have vivid dreams that are so realistic that I once got up believing I had breast cancer. The power of the mind is frightening and I never underestimate its influence but I need to quieten it down. I need some respite from its continuous visual and  intellectual assault. Basically, I need a rest from my own mind.

Here’s hoping that Headspace works for me and you.

Let me know if you take up the programme and if it works 🙂

This is meditation for modern life – simple, scientifically proven techniques, that you can use every day to experience a healthier and happier mind.”

today

Mindfulness Bell

Mindfulness is awareness of the present moment. It’s living in the here and now. Through mindfulness, you are not preoccupied with past events or regrets and you are freed from worrying about the future.

You can often find peace in the present as a result of shutting out all other thoughts.

But how do you stay in touch with the present when your mind keeps filling up with mental chatter and focus runs away from you like it so often does?

Take Time To Enjoy Where We Are

For me, learning about mindfulness and how to meditate is getting easier by the day and I have found an on-line tool which prompts me to focus on my breathing and helps bring me back into the moment. Many people around the world take pleasure in stopping and consciously breathing in and out three times when they hear the sound of the Mindful bell and I have given you a link to one below. Even the sound of the bell is calming and comforting and encourages you to stop what you are doing and relax.

You can set the mindfulness bell to ring when convenient for you.

Enjoy.

Mindful Clock

Mindfulness bell

Mental Health Foundation-Mindfulness

The Guided Meditation Site

Guided imagery-pictures in your mind

A common relaxation technique for those with stress, anxiety or depression is to imagine a peaceful, calm and comforting place where you would like to be and where you can let all your worries wash over you leaving your mind a quiet blank canvas. In my experience easier said than done and I have struggled with this for many years. Somehow, my mental clutter comes rushing back to prevent me from enjoying even a momentary short spell on a desert island, lazing on a white sandy beach, my toes digging into the warm sand whilst being served cocktails as the sunsets across the azure-blue ocean listening to the waves lapping rhythmically on the shore…..etc etc you get my drift.

So, how pleased am I to have discovered guided meditation and all the benefits it brings? The answer is, “very”.

I now have a selection of short guided meditations set to background music loaded onto my ipod. These meditations are stories set to calming music and spoken by an experienced meditator. I have to admit that they are very soporific and so far they seem to be working. In a very short time I have come to look forward to my twenty minutes of “me” time, sitting cross-legged in the middle of my bed, nursing my nugget of rose quartz listening to tropical rain storms, waterfalls, whales and dolphins, imagining that I am stranded on a desert island, climbing waterfalls or paddling my canoe! The only downside is waking up to reality. Now that can be depressing!

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Meditainment-Guided meditations

Meditations for relaxation

Depression and meditation-is it safe?

On more than one occasion I have been advised not to try meditation as part of my recovery from deep depression. This came as a surprise at first as I had always thought that meditation aids relaxation and provides relief from stress and anxiety. So it does, but there are also times when meditation is not advised when suffering with depression and you should bear this in mind if you are thinking of it as relief from your low mood.

When and why should it be avoided?

The meditation process of focusing inwards can actually heighten feelings of despair and depression and it is not recommended that you meditate when you are extremely depressed especially not if you are having thoughts of self-harming.

For those with depression it helps if you find an experienced meditator with whom you can work closely face-to-face, by phone or on-line. This is because when depressed, a person tends to focus on what’s wrong and this can lead to feelings that the meditation isn’t working, even when it is. An experienced meditator can help you deal with the frustration and feelings of failure.

In addition when meditating you focus your thoughts  inwards and it can trigger a person to over-think about and analyse what is wrong in their lives (rumination). Far from helping the recovery from depression-it can make it worse.

Meditation can certainly help people recover from depression and reduce stress and anxiety when practised at the right stage of recovery and under the right conditions. But if you are in any doubt as to whether meditation is right for you, seek expert advice.

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Wildmind

Loving-kindness meditations

I am learning to meditate but am finding it tricky. I find it difficult to clear my mind of all thoughts but am getting better. My favourite method of meditating is by listening to guided meditations. Stories spoken by experienced meditators and set to calming music. These are particularly effective at night when trying to go to sleep and also in the morning as an antidote to the mad world of business travel.

This week I have come across loving-kindness meditations, and find them easy to do and very effective. Here are some I found on ” the conscious life” website.

Loving-Kindness Meditation Part 1

 

Loving-Kindness Meditation Part 1 Extending Love & Kindness
to Yourself

  1. Begin the meditation by taking a few deep and slow breaths to relax yourself. If this is the first time you are meditating, you may want to read the guide, Mediation for Beginners first to pick up some tips on how to breathe with greater awareness.
  2. Read out the following lines, softly or silently, to yourself:May I be strong and healthy,
    May I be clear and free,
    May I live with love and compassion,
    May I awaken to the pure light I used to be.
     

    Explanation:
    May I have a strong and healthy body to carry out my missions and responsibilities,
    May I have a clear and free mind that is free from distortions and attachments,
    May I hear, speak, think and act with love and compassion,
    May I awaken to my true nature and be the pure light that I once used to be.

  3. Feel the words as you’re saying, instead of reciting them mechanically. Repeat the blessing for 5 times or as long as you like.
  4. After you’ve finished the blessing, imagine a pure white light growing from your heart. It begins as a pin-sized white dot and grows larger and larger until it surrounds you in an energy field filled with peace, love and compassion. Stay in this glowing energy field for as long as you like.

Loving-Kindness Meditation Part 2

 

Loving-Kindness Meditation Part 2 Extending Love & Kindness
to All Beings

  1. Now imagine someone that you know is sitting in front of you: a loved one, a fellow colleague or a friend. A person you know that is currently going through a tough time also makes a good candidate to send your blessing to.
  2. Recite the following verses, softly or silently, to him or her. Substitute the * below with the name of the person you’ve in mind.May * be strong and healthy,
    May * be clear and free,
    May * live with love and compassion,
    May * awaken to the pure light he/she used to be.
  3. Feel the words you’re saying and repeat them for 5 times or as long as you like.
  4. When you’ve finished reciting the blessing, once again imagine a pure white light growing from your heart. This time around, the light flows from your heart and envelops the recipient in an energy field of peace, love and compassion. Your light opens up the pure light from the person’s heart, creating a bigger, synergistic light that surrounds the two of you. See in your mind how the twice-as-strong white light is making the recipient as well as you calmer, happier and more relaxed. Hold this image in your mind for as long as you want.
  5. If you wish, you can also add as many people that you’d like to send your blessing to as you can accommodate in your field of loving energy. Be clear about who they are, how they look like, and how they are enjoying the shower of blessings. Each time you add one more person, the energy field extends stronger and bigger.

Loving-Kindness Meditation Part 3

 

Loving-Kindness Meditation Part 3 Extending Love & Kindness
to Someone You Don’t Know

  1. Now you’ll extend your blessing to all beings — humans, animals, insects and plants; known and unknown living things; those in the air, in the sea and on the land; the tiny, in the middle and the really big ones; the newly born, sick and dying ones; those that are happy, neglected, fearful and depressed.
  2. Focus on your heart, read out the following verses, softly or silently, to all beings, far and near.May all beings be strong and healthy,
    May all beings be clear and free,
    May all beings live with love and compassion,
    May all beings awaken to the pure light they used to be.
  3. Feel the words you’re saying and repeat them for 5 times or as long as you like.
  4. As you finished the blessing, imagine time and space fade away. You are united with all beings and all are surrounded by a brilliant healing light of love and compassion that stretches across time and space. Hold this image in your mind for as long as you want.