Meditation Tips: Your Resource Corner


A few simple meditation tips which can help support a regular meditation practice that can help (re)train your mind and literally change your life.

Tip #1: Make meditation part of your daily routine; regularity is more important than length

15 minutes per day are enough to make a difference as you allow yourself to pause and sit in peace and silence. In ways very similar to physical exercise, having a modest but regular practice is what will bring you the greatest benefits and actually help (re)train the mind. The effects of meditation are cumulative. Many schools of meditation prescribe 30 minutes of meditation twice a 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 meditating for an hour a week. A weekly class / circle provides you with the support and desire to develop that little breath in your daily routine.

Tip #2: Find your ideal time to meditate

Morning and evening coincide with our body’s quieter 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 for you. To busy mothers, I often recommend to take a few moments in or after the shower in the morning as it might be their only quiet alone time at the beginning of the day. And I strongly encourage people working in stressful environments to pause regularly during their day and just come back to their breath in the body.

Tip #3: Create a special space for meditating at home

You don’t need much space. It can be a corner of a side table where you will place a candle, an image that you like, a few words that remind you of who you are and what is important for you. For people who work in stressful environments, I also sometimes recommend to bring an image, a stone, sometimes fresh flower on their desk and create that little corner of peace right by their computer. In both cases, the point is to have something that is going to function as a reminder to pause and check inward.

Tip #4: Find the position in which you will feel most comfortable

Being comfortable is most important. It is preferable to sit up straight on the floor or on a chair (with feet rooted in the ground) to help cultivate alertness, but if you are ill or feeling a lot of pain in your body, or need to lie down, that is fine. The mind has been conditioned to sleep when the body is lying down so you may feel sleepier. In all cases, you want to make sure that your body is open and that your position does not block any center of energy. Your hands can relax on your lap, palms up or any way that you feel most open.

Tip #5: Can’t stay still? Try walking meditation

Walking meditation is a very simple practice for developing calm, connectedness, and embodied awareness. Learning to be aware as you walk, to use the natural movement of walking to cultivate mindfulness and wakeful presence is as valuable as meditating seated on a cushion. If you struggle with meditating on your own or sitting still, or you want to expand the ways you can develop your awareness: read those guidelines by Jack Kornfield

Tip #6: Meditation is not about stopping our thoughts or trying to “empty” our mind

Thoughts are and will continue to drift in and that’s normal. Don’t try to do anything with them—let them be (like clouds in a blue sky). If you find yourself lost in them, very gently, without self judgment (don’t forget that one! the mere fact that you are actually aware that you are thinking is, in itself, a great breakthrough), just return your awareness on your breath (or on the mantra if you use one, or an image or a music). This is what allows the mind to progressively relax and center to the present moment. Then, with time, you will find the space, the quiet, the pause in between thoughts, the silence… It is pure presence and peace, right there.

Tip #7: Get back to your breath over and over

When we pay attention to our breath, we are in the present moment. Coming back to the breath in the body (particularly in a specific part of the body like the belly or the chest) will naturally help the mind to come back to the present moment and relax. In an unforced, natural rhythm, allow your breath to flow in and out, easily and effortlessly.

 

Articles:

Meditation as a way to focus a wandering mind

Research increasingly shows the impact of a wandering mind on our quality of life, including our happiness. A new wave of research reveals what happens in our brains when our minds wander – and sheds light on the host of cognitive and emotional benefits that come with increased focus.

Read this article to learn more about how meditation can help becoming more aware of our own mental experience and return to the present moment, one moment at a time…

What Does Mindfulness Meditation Do to Your Brain?

Brain imaging techniques are revealing that this ancient practice can profoundly change the way different regions of the brain communicate with each other – and therefore how we think – permanently. In other words, it can actually “change” your brain.

Read this article to learn more and this one  to get another account from yet another neuroscientist

How the Mind Can Heal the Heart

Read this article to learn about the science behind “mind whispering” — a technique for overcoming self-defeating habits of the mind.

 

Videos to Support Your Meditation and Inspire You:

 

Watch this beautiful video and let it resonates with you:

“Who Am I… Really?”

A moment of grace and deep healing…

 

Another powerful video: The End of Suffering read by Thich Nhat Hanh

“May the sound of this bell penetrate deep into the cosmos
Even in the darkest spots
Living beings are able to hear it clearly
So that all suffering in them cease
Understanding comes to their heart
And they transcend the path of sorrow and death.
The universal dharma door is already open
The sound of the rising tide is heard clearly
The miracle happens
A beautiful child appears in the heart of a lotus flower
One single drop of this compassionate water
Is enough to bring back the refreshing spring to our mountains and rivers.
Listening to the bell
I feel the afflictions in me begin to dissolve
My mind calm
My body relax
A smile is born on my lips
Following the sound of the bell
My breathe brings me back to the safe island of mindfulness
In the garden of my heart
The flowers of peace bloom beautifully.”

And a lesson of wisdom about gratitude in our lives

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