Pause for Thought - Meditation? Wassat then ...?
By Krystyna Szmid
IT'S such a highly pressurised world that we live in these days that it's not surprising that burn-out in people is such a regular occurrence. There is a constant bombardment of what we can and cannot do, targets to hit and almost super human abilities are needed to multi-task on a massive scale.
Most magazines have articles about stress management of one sort of another. You know the sort of thing: watch what you eat, don't drink alcohol - drink plenty of water instead, exercise regularly and meditate.
The first four are, with a little self control, relatively easy to implement and are mainly common sense.
But what exactly is meditation?
Most of us usually think it's about sitting cross legged, either murmuring 'ohmmm' or in total silence for long periods of time, and we are supposed to feel inspired and/or relaxed at the end of our session.
Now, I've tried that and it really doesn't rock my boat. I'm sure that there are a lot of people that think likewise.
It's ok being righteous about sitting in tranquillity, doing nothing, thinking nothing and feeling great afterwards but it is actually truly difficult without a lot of practice unless you're a natural guru.
You light your candles, burn incense and sit down in a quiet room with all good intentions but,as soon as your thoughts go into the blackness, it's your mind's turn to really start putting a spanner in the works; within the first few nano-seconds of your eyes closing, a myriad of random ideas start popping in your head for no apparent reason and they are ones that you wouldn't normally have blinked about:
'What time did I start this?'
'Did I remember to let the cat in?'
'Is loo paper on the shopping list?'
And then you spend the next few counter seconds thinking, 'Oh, oh! This isn't right. I should be thinking of nothing!' ... And then you spend the next few minutes trying to get back into the blackness again. And it carries on for most of the time that you've delegated to you.
Where is the relaxation in that?
On the other hand, if you look up the actual meaning of the word in the Oxford English dictionary, it describes meditation as 'a discourse expressing considered thought on a subject'.
Now that takes it to a different angle.
I contacted Joanne Tinsley, holistic tutor, Reiki master and co-founder of Chrysalis Therapy Training based in Cheshire, so she could help shed some light on the general concept of meditation. In her karmic wisdom, she has another name for it which she feels may be more appropriate ... and that is 'mindfulness'.
Crysalis Therapy Training runs courses for various holistic therapies from crystal healing to Reiki all of which involve mindfulness at some stage to help calm the mind and recharge the body whilst learning how to heal. The only chanting that Joanne uses on occasion is 'Om Mani Padme Hum' which is an ancient Tibetan mantra. Other than that, she mainly teaches from a portfolio of visual images that she describes to her students while they have their eyes closed.
To visualise 'nothing' is a tough thing to do, but to visualise a moving scene, much like a film, opens many options. Joanne took me through a beautiful meditation inspired by angels.
I closed my eyes...
It began with a cliff walk and carried on down to a cave where I had to visualise various energies and colours of the chakra spectrum . It was a beautiful walk-through.
The images - and nothing that shouldn't have been there during that half hour - simply appeared in my head. I came out of it all feeling relaxed and a little bit sleepy - my muscles not quite as tense and twisted as they had been before.
And then, Joanne dropped a bombshell ... it really doesn't matter what form it takes, meditation is whatever makes YOU feel good!
" ... to some it would be listening to heavy metal at full volume," she said.
So my work colleague who goes for an 8 mile run in the evening is meditating her own way, as is another who can think of nothing better than ironing in front of the television ... as are the nightly Wii monsters! They are focusing on their own subject with full concentration.
THAT is what it's all about! Do whatever gives YOU a buzz!!
So, I think I'll just go home, dive in a nice, hot bath with lots of bubbles, a large glass of chilled wine and get those good vibrations circulating.
For details of Chrysalis Therapy Training's next Introduction to Meditation workshop visit www.chrysalistherapytraining.co.uk/intro_meditation.
This article was posted by Joanne Tinsley