Hope you are all well.
I do my own version of simple meditation if there are a few minutes to spare. With the Coronavirus restrictions around, and so few opportunities to socialise or even work properly, I’ve been doing a little dabbling and learning, to help ease how I cope with the world. With work being very different due to the restrictions, and life so altered, finding ways to push on through, is top of the priorities for many of us. We cannot care for others, if we do not care for ourselves first. Here in Scotland, things like facials are still banned, as we cannot remove face coverings, so my one and only little luxury to myself is not allowed to happen.
With meditation, I used to have a picture in my head of someone sat on a mat, legs in the lotus position, chanting ‘ummm,’ and arms out front, with thumb and middle finger touching and other fingers up in the air. I find that a bit cringy, though each to their own, however, I’ve found that there’s nothing wrong with meditating by lying on the floor, waiting in the car, lying on the couch or even the bed. We can do it anywhere we are comfortable and relaxed.
Disclaimer: Always ensure you are safe to meditate. If you have any doubts, please contact a medical professional before trying meditation of any form.
This gorgeous wee cat could be meditating. Don’t rule out meditation because we can’t do the lotus.
There are many different techniques to meditation, including guided and encouraging awareness, through to transcendal using our own mantra, sound, syllable or words repetitively to relax the mind. Zen meditation is a form of Buddhist meditation and focuses on clearing the mind and many others, which also include movement, and/or prayer. Personally, I like to chill out, relax and listen to soothing voices and focus on my breathing to help reduce stress of modern day life. Raising challenging adopted children is fairly fraught on a day to day level, and finding a way to feel peaceful for at least a few minutes when I am stressed, helps me to concentrate and make better decisions in life.
Group meditation can be so relaxing, but isn’t the easiest thing to find at the moment with the covid restrictions, so here’s an easy one to do for yourself.
Simple Candle Meditation
Clear the Room of Negative Energy
This can be as simple as lighting your candle, or waving about a sage smudge stick, but not everyone needs to do this. Clapping your hands before starting is enough. If you can, reduce the lighting in the room you plan to mediate in.
A little low music can help us relax when new to meditating. Soothing and calm, with no vocals. I have a smart speaker and tend to ask it to play a meditation mantra, which usually gives me some lovely options.
Take Your Position
Stretch your arms up high and if you can, then touch the floor. Choose where you will sit, lie down, or use cushions to prop you in a comfortable seating position with feet on the floor. If lying down, bend your knees to allow this and perhaps use a rolled up towel or bolster under your knees if needed. Try and keep your spine straight while you focus on around 10-15 minutes at the beginning, to learn how to get your head into the mindset of relaxing. I prefer to sit on the floor for this, with cushions at my back and under my knees, with a small table in front of me with my chosen candle.
We can bring in colour therapy with candle choice, for example:
- Rainbow colours to signify hope, happiness, confidence.
- Black to whoosh away negative energy and allow contemplation and respect.
- White to signify new life, new beginnings.
- Red for passion, action, love and courage.
- Blue for healing, wisdom and strength.
For simple unguided meditation, begin to focus on your breathing patterns, and how shallow your breaths are. Concentrate to take slower, deeper breaths, concentrate on your breathing, breathe in and count to three, holding your breath and then slowly exhale, fully releasing that breath, pushing it out until you feel your abdomen contract.
Try to have your candle at a comfortable level for your eyes to gaze into. As you do your breathing exercises, begin to look into the flames, trying to keep your eyes on the flame at all times.
- Shapes of the flames as they flicker and move, dancing.
- Look at the candle flames, think about the different colours you see.
- Consider the thoughts come to the forefront of your mind, what are the images you see?
- Try to let go of your problems and concentrate just on the flame.
Try to medicate for 10 minutes. Don’t worry, as it takes a little practice to get right. Before you are finished, it’s important to bring yourself back to reality and connecting with the physical life once again.
An easy way would be to:
- Close your eyes.
- Take a few deep breaths, imagining the breath travelling to the tips of your fingers and toes.
- Raise your knees and place your feet flat on the floor, imagine them connecting with the earth, like the roots of a tree, solid, steady and secure.
- Bring your knees towards your chest if you can, keeping your feet on the floor, and wrap your arms around your legs. If you can’t do this, simply place your hands on your knees, feel the gentle peace surrounding you as you bring yourself slowly back to reality, imagining yourself strong, alive and aware.
- When you’re ready, count down from 5,4,3,2,1, and open your eyes, and back to the room.
- Take your time getting up, possibly have a pre planned glass of water for drinking before you stand up.