Meditation for Happiness and Healing
Since I did my first yoga teacher training in 2019 I have made a short meditation practice part of every morning. Yoga poses and breathing practice are preparation for meditation rather that things to do alone. Finishing a yoga class with Savasana is a form of meditation. You can do meditation without the poses although I find doing a short yoga pose practice really helps my meditation. In this article I explain why meditate and a simple meditation practice.
Meditation is bliss. It is easy. It is free. It is like taking a natural happy drug. It is a chance to connect with your soul and with divine consciousness, God, the Great Spirit, or what you call the energy that we connect to. When we meditate, we join with the great consciousness, we become aware that we are part of everything. We can feel this sensation at moments where we are not actively meditating, like the first time I walked into Notre Dame in Paris, monks were chanting, the sun shone through the stained glass, I felt a deep connection with the Divine, a sacred spirit. We can be transported to this sensation by music, dance, rituals, and meditation. When we feel it, we experience a sense of bliss, and love for everyone and everything. This is what we can find with meditation. It brings deep joy.
The message at Plum Village this morning: Be Still and Heal
Going at a million miles an hour as our modern economy tends to encourage can be bad for our health and our happiness. We see it in the increased levels of burnout, ilness, and disease.
Today when my sister and I arrived at Plum Village hoping for a Mindfulness open day we instead received two simple and direct messages placed in a tree near the dharma hall and were gifted the hall to ourselves for an hour of private meditation. We felt blessed beyond understanding by the energy and love of the place. (Plum Village is Thich Nhat Hahn’s Buddhist monastery ten minustes from Chateau Feely).
How to Meditate
If you are new to meditation, it can be as simple as sitting and focusing on your breath and heartbeat or a mantra. You can focus on a mantra for something that is important to you at that moment, like ‘I am healed’,’I am safe’, ‘I am loved’ , ‘Peace begins here’, ‘Life is Joy’, ‘I am love’.
Here are simple key steps to start:
1. Sit in a comfortable position – ideally with feet lower than hips as described at the start. Your spine should be straight, and you should be comfortable.
I like to have my hands cupped upwards on my knees, some prefer hands one inside the other resting against their lower belly. Sometimes I lift my hands into prayer position at the heart centre for a while. I might also lift them to the third eye (and even above my head for a short time – tiring for the arms). Each position brings a slightly different sensation. Explore how you feel. Hand positions – called mudras in yoga – are powerful. I will share another post of them soon.
2. Close your eyes and take some slow deep breaths.
3. You could follow your breathing or heartbeat to start and / or you could silently repeat a mantra – a simple one to start is ‘so hum’- I am – so on the in breath and hum on the outbreath. Continue to focus on your breath/heartbeat or your mantra.
4. Don’t worry about thoughts coming into your mind – each time one does, don’t judge it – see it pass like a white cloud in a blue sky. Calmly return to the breath/ mantra.
5. Do this for a few minutes to begin with – perhaps 5 minutes is a good start – set a timer with a gentle sound to bring you back. Gently return to the now when you finish your meditation.
Meditation has been proven to offer health benefits when practiced daily. The ideal time is in the morning. A few minutes to half an hour is recommended.
Be still and listen to your soul, your inner voice, your body, Divine guidance. Meditation and yoga offer us a way to connect with ourselves and beyond.
We look forward to seeing you soon at Chateau Feely. Read about the story of this organic vineyard– the series includes three books Grape Expectations; Saving our Skins and Glass Half Full by Caro Feely.