When our physical body get sick, we try to fix it. We can try a western medicine approach: take a few pills and wait for the symptoms to disappear. Or we believe in a more holistic approach when all physical symptoms are a mere reflection of a dis-ease in our mind/ emotion/ body /soul connection. Then, not only are we trying to treat the symptoms but also the causes of the problem. We will also try to keep our body/ mind healthy and in balance to prevent ‘getting sick’ again. All diseases have something to teach us if we dare to look inside ourselves at what is really causing our suffering.
With mental health, the issues are harder to diagnose as we do not have any physical symptoms; we are sick ‘inside’. Again we have the choice of trying to fix the problem with a few pills and while it may help us to feel better and relieved while we are on medication, it often does not remove the problem. Healing the mind/ emotion is a far more complex healing journey than it may appear.
How can meditation help?
I started meditation when I was 23. I didn`t know anything about meditation or know anyone who was practicing it. I`d heard and read about it and strongly felt it could help me. I had never been diagnosed with any mental health issues before as I had never seen or told anyone about how I was feeling ‘inside’. Yet looking back I was far from being ‘as well as I appeared to be’. I grew up very shy and introverted, with very low self-esteem,getting sick a lot, got through my teenage years with ‘low mood’ and ‘dark thoughts’ always running through my head. Maybe I was just feeling lost, maybe I was looking for myself, maybe I was depressed. I was also very anxious, stressed and was experiencing panic attacks on a regular basis. And I also had some mild form of OCD ( how many times did I have to check my pocket to make sure I hadn`t forgotten my keys!!!). But because I was doing very well at school and then at uni and always been told that I was ‘ intelligent’; I didn`t know if what I was experiencing was normal or not. For me it was normal anyway, that is all I knew then. Leaving my country at 22 for a one year holiday in Australia was supposed to be life changing. I hoped it would change me anyway, change how I felt inside. Although, even if I did escape my physical conditions, what I thought made me unhappy, I couldn`t escape myself. Inside it was still the same: a busy, scared, worried, unhappy mind.
I can`t remember the first time I heard about meditation, but I remember the first time I tried to do it. Not much of a success I can tell you. I didn`t stay sitting for long. But for the first time I totally become aware of how BUSY and full of nonsense my thoughts were! And if meditation could help me with that then I would give it a chance. So I started practicing daily , and slowly I started noticing some improvements. First I could manage my thoughts a bit better, then control them, then change them, then stop them altogether . That first moment when I experienced pure emptiness of thought felt incredibly amazing. I was free. Free from any negative thinking that my mind was trying to make me believe in. I was at peace. I was myself. It was just me. Bliss.
I`ve never stopped meditating ever since. Meditation taught me a lot and brought me on a amazing journey full of wonderful experiences. But mainly what mediation did is that it saved me. It saved me from myself, from my own thoughts, my own fears. It does not mean that I don`t experience fear, stress or worries or negative emotions anymore, but they don`t have much power over me. They do not affect me as they used to. I can be aware of them without identifying with them. I can notice them and stop them. Or I can leave them alone while I live my life. But the best of it is that my mind is so much more peaceful! That alone is worth gold!
Meditation changed my life because it changed the inside of me. It changed how I experience and respond to life. Life has still its moments of pain, joy, its problems, its ups and downs. But how I react to them is totally different now. I can now say that I am well, I am at peace, and I am happy.
It has been an amazing journey, trying at times but well worth it. Now I am dedicated to teaching people how to help themselves.
You can check our sessions and workshops if you are interested in learning meditation, I wrote a couple of e-books too and teach meditation retreats. Our next retreat is coming up in February. It would be great to see you there!
Our mind is a powerful tool. Most of the time, we tend to believe what our mind is saying. We hear a voice in our head and we tend to identify with it. Yet whatever is being said isn’t always true. But if we believe all that we hear in our head then our happiness will only depend on our positive thinking. It is great if we are a naturally born optimist but challenging if our mind is wired on fear or self-criticism.
Also our emotions are strongly linked with our thoughts. If our mind tends to worry about something in the future, we then tend to experience fear in the present moment. It does not mean that this worry will actually happen, it may or it may not. But in the meantime we have created stress for ourselves by listening to those thoughts.Whatever the mind is saying, it will create an emotional response in our body.We have a tendency to spend most of our life reacting and responding to our thoughts without questioning. Yet what if it could be different?
We hold the power within ourselves to change our thoughts and even to stop our mind at once.And when we become able to control our mind, we also become in control of how we experience life.The best tool I know that can bring us this new quality of life is the practice of meditation.
With regular practice, we slowly start managing our thoughts. We become more aware and conscious of all the incessant chatter inside our head. And then we can learn how to completely stop it. Of course it takes time but the peace and happiness that result are definitely worth it.
With meditation regular practice is essential. We can learn different techniques and practice the ones that suit us best. We can join a meditation class in our neighbourhood or enrol in a meditation retreat for a quantum leap in our practice!
Here are 7 Reasons why meditation is good for us and we should start today!:
Health: A stress-free body will repair and heal itself quicker than a stress-full body. Meditation is like fresh air, like healthy food, like physical exercise. It keeps our body and mind in perfect shape and condition.
Happiness: If we learn how to control our mind, then we know how to stop our negative thoughts and replace them with positive thoughts. We then have the power to choose happiness over unhappiness.
Freedom: Meditation will free us from the illusion of the past or the future. It keeps us in the present, the only reality.
Power: Meditation empowers us. We become our own master and we discover the power to create our reality.
Peace: A quiet mind. A peaceful mind. Peace. We can be peaceful no matter what our outside circumstances are.
Charisma: It changes our energy. Our light radiates. We attract and empower other people.
Life: We can start living, really living. We become present. We enjoy life here and now.
Here are a few tips for starting a meditation practice:
Daily practice: This is very important. A minimum of twenty minutes at the beginning is good. But if we have time the longer the better!
Discipline: Doing it at the same time every day can help with the discipline.
Will power: Not listening to all the excuses that our mind will try to bring forth to get out of the meditation. We should do it no matter what!
Right place: It is good to find a quiet place for our practice at home or outdoors and it is better to switch off all our mobile and wi-fi devices.
Persistence: Not giving up! Like everything in life, it can take time before we start experiencing results but as always when they come we are glad we persisted!
Basic technique: A good technique to start with is putting all our attention on our breath. Taking long and deep breath-in and breath-out and just watching it. Becoming conscious of the air entering our lungs before escaping again. And every time we notice ourselves caught in the stream of our random thoughts we just have to come back to watching the breath.
Contribution from freelance writer Sally Writes.
3 out of 4 doctor’s visits are due to stress-related ailments and stress is the cause of 60 percent of illnesses and disease. To reduce the number of stressors we experience every day, we need to control our thinking and enter a state of mindfulness. Through this state, we become in control of our mind to change the way these stressors affect us and ultimately cleanse the mind of worries.
One way that we can take back control of our mind is through a spiritual yoga retreat. When we go on these vacations, we get away from the stress that clouds us every day and enter a realm where we can meditate without worry. Next time you're on a retreat, try one of these unique experiences to further purify your mind and enter deep meditation.
Healing massages are conducted by qualified therapists and can cater each experience to your specific need. These messages are available at many retreats and acts as a deep relaxation that relieves the mind of busy thoughts, uncomfortable emotions, and negative darkness. It balances your chakras and as your thoughts are subdued, you gain clearer insight and understanding into your body and soul. Try out one of these healing massages today to release your mind from its prison and focus on your current state of meditation.
Although psychic readings may sound like an extremely odd way to clear your mind, it is actually very beneficial to your stress levels. Psychics provide reassurance and insight into your life that can eliminate negative stressors and help you feel more positive. If you’re having a problem that is irking you and taking control of your mind, a psychic can help you sort out the issue and provide you with a path to alleviate the situation. You can find psychics around your retreat, but be sure that you do your research before contacting a spiritual medium so that you can avoid fake psychics and online scams. Once you finish your session, try some yoga poses and see if it's easier to enter a state of meditation.
Interpret Your Dreams
Although you might be very mindful in your waking hours, your dreams can take a mind of their own. 50 percent of adults experience occasional nightmares and anxiety dreams that can bring our stressors to life. Many people who experience these dreams wake up with a feeling of sadness and depression which eats at their minds all day. If you’re one of these adults, yoga can help to clear the mind and reduce the appearance of some of these nightmares. However, if your dreams don't change, it may be worthwhile to visit a psychologist that specializes in dreams to determine what you can do to clear your dreaming mind.
Sometimes to reduce stress, we must think outside the box. These unique experiences will help you sort out the worries that are troubling your mind, spirit, and soul.