Wednesday, 17 June 2009

1 Minute Meditation Manager

Recently, I recalled practising meditation so I became good at it. What do I mean by good? Well, I wanted to meditate easily, enjoyably, with minimum distraction, being relaxed and still. Oh yeah, I wanted to be less stressed with less anxiety too. That's a lot of wants isn't it? I managed it with a simple practise that I built upon after spending too much time trying other ways.

I can simplify it by saying, 'I learnt to meditate in a relaxed way, to be still on the inside.'
If you like to get to the 'business end' of this article, scroll down to the section titled '1 Minute Meditation Manager'.

Photo: Consensual Media

Meditation is about stillness. To notice more of this, be relaxed.
On my commuter journeys into work I would regularly meditate in the morning. Whether it was crowded like a tin of sardines or as quiet a country road, I found my moment to meditate. As a result I felt 'better' (than those days I didn't meditate) which meant I was happier, less stressed, more focused, breathing more naturally. What became obvious was the increased endurance and flexibility I had in coping with a working day. Often I found I was able to recuperate more quickly and create more positive attitudes towards what I wanted to accomplish for the day.

At first, do a little do it often and make it fun
I became relaxed on the outside and stiller on the inside. Like the obvious benefits of the tastiest nutritious foods, I realised to get the benefits of meditation you can:

Do it often
On a daily basis
In small amounts
Taking time to prepare and enjoy

This makes learning a lot easier and 'user friendly' so let's find your way of doing just this.

A meditation teacher once said "Sitting quietly, noticing more of what's already there, can be fun and relaxing. Who wouldn't want to discover more of themselves?"
On busy, hectic, stressful days when lunches and breaks were minimal or non-existent, I would take a moment to close my eyes and sit peacefully. I would do it often during the day, every one or two hours. There was a time limit at work obviously, so I focused and relaxed and allowed things to be. The more I sat like this, the more natural it became to sit quietly, calmly and afterwards feel tremendously refreshed. I referred to it as my '1 minute meditation manager' and I loved it!

The 1 Minute Meditation Manager
This is a step by step guide to closing your eyes, sitting peacefully for a minute or more every hour (or 2 hours) through your day. Using this approach will give you rapid skills in relaxing more quickly, easily ignoring sights and sounds from your outer environment and enjoying stillness on the inside.

I recommend you reading through the following guide before practising. There's also a hints and tips section below that I think will be helpful. It was (still is) for me. Enjoy!

  • Sit comfortably, keep both feet flat on the floor and your hands in your lap. Softly close your eyes.
  • Gently focus on the inside as if you are looking from the middle of your forehead.
  • Relax your vision and allow yourself to see inside in 'wide screen -panoramic' vision.
  • Allow your gaze to be very relaxed. Simply let things be as they are.
  • See whatever you see, feel whatever you feel and hear whatever you hear.
  • Focus calmly on the inside.

Hints and Tips
Plenty of of preparation leads to perfect performance.

1. Setting your attitude for sitting peacefully and focusing inside is a great preparation for the real thing. Preparation is key.

2. Imagine in sensuous detail, what it will be like to easily sit still and meditate calmly. Use this initially at night and in the morning for preparing yourself to meditating during the day.

3. Decide here and now you'll be finding regular opportunities in your day to meditate. Consider it a fun exploration of what’s possible.

4. Instill an attitude that any distractions will help you return (focus again) to more stillness inside.

5. Allow whatever happens to happen as you sit quietly. Everything has been taken care of. Enjoy the pleasure of being still.

I'd really appreciate to find out what your experiences and insights are.
Do you have any suggestions for helping people meditate? If so feel free to comment.

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, 11 June 2009

3 Videos on Meditation, Chi Running and EFT

Like millions of other people upon this planet, I enjoy watching videos online. I felt it was time for an audio visual treat. I've watched some excellent instructional videos recently and I've embedded three of them here. I think you'll like what they show you. The topics are in the broad areas of Relaxation and Well Being. They cover themes of EFT (emotional freedom technique), Meditation and Chi Running/Walking.

The Basics of EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique)
A good, clear video. I will add this is an interpretation of the basics. I get the impression with EFT, that it may have a more loose structure than it's original source TFT (Thought Field Therapy) by Roger Callahan. That's my opinion and not a comment upon it's efficacy. Judging from the responses to EFT and it's many practitioners, it's a success for emotional self healing and practitioner led healing.

How to Meditate
Interesting video and has been very popular on YouTube. Surprisingly, the voice over has some useful suggestions and remarks for enjoying meditating. I hope you find something good to apply to help you easily sit and meditate. That would be wonderful. Check out my articles on Meditation.

Injury Free Running and Walking
This is an interview with the creator of Chi Running by Renegade Health. The video aims to help you adjust your posture and state of relaxation for easier, injury free running. The information is practical and I believe will benefit you, as it has me in my running. It also offers good advice on walking postures.

What was the most beneficial thing you got from these videos?
Did they provide you with information to positively change the way you meditate, run, walk or feel? Let me know.

Thanks for watching

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Replacing Apathy with a Lust for Life

Reasons to stay in bed are like reasons to be cheerful. They can be numerous and perfect for robust health and well being. The reason can sometimes be less suited to a happy productive day, instead dragging a person down into a darkening pit of laziness and despondency.

Photo: tuxthepenguin84

Today's article is about replacing apathy with a get up and go attitude. It's literally about getting out of bed or off the couch. It's a bit tongue-in-cheek but when you've lived with someone (or you are someone) who experiences apathy, then it may prove useful.

I think we all have ideas about what apathy is. In the past I estimate I've 'wasted' days, weeks, months maybe years because of apathy. I have very few regrets because the past is where it is, behind me and there is nothing I can do about that. This present moment and the future is better served by my energy.

Is it ignorance or apathy? Hey, I don't know and I don't care. Jimmy Buffett

The first part is about helping yourself and the second part is helping others remove apathy. I've purposefully not covered areas like diet, nutrition, sleep and uses of psychoactives like coffee, alcohol and other drugs. I've aimed for a simple approach that may be useful to people in creating a direction and then launching themselves into it. It's worked recently for a friend's partner and it worked for me recently too. You have to be willing to change and recognise a need for it. Otherwise it is not time well spent.

“My generation's apathy. I'm disgusted with it. I'm disgusted with my own apathy too, for being spineless and not always standing up against racism, sexism and all those other -isms the counterculture has been whining about for years.” Kurt Cobain

Helping Yourself: Replacing apathy with a lust for your life
  • Take heart: the belief you have about staying in bed, sits beside the belief you have about getting up and into enjoying your day. The right one has yet to be brought forward to brighten your feelings and propel you onward.
  • When you're in bed and can't be bothered to get up yet, do the following: Picture all the best moments from your recent memory. Any moment or event that made you laugh or smile and feel good. Put them side by side in your imagination and run through them. Remember each one with a bright, lively quality. Then choose one or more that you will like to repeat for real today.
  • The funny thing is the body will usually follow the voice in your mind, whether it's uplifting and passionate or dull and depressing. So take care about what you say and how you say it. Say something wonderful to yourself.
  • Consider one thing, act or goal you will really love to do today, however small, bizarre or achievable (that avoids being apathetic in bed). Make it a vivid, colourful, life size experience on the inside. Feel your whole body move with this. Imagine the results of doing that thing and how you and others will benefit from it. Then get up and do something like it.
  • The truth is that this moment, only in the present moment, is real and is where your thoughts, desires and intentions can be most usefully guided. While you're in bed or slouching on the couch refusing to embrace the day consider this: too many limited thoughts of yesterday and tomorrow make you a muppet and not a master.
  • Learn to consume in the present rather than be consumed from the past.
  • You know the phenomena when you're in bed and a song you don't really like starts playing in your head? Well, change the track just like you would on a sound system. Choose a blazing track to get you excited and up.
  • It's your thoughts and feelings that power you into the day not the material wealth or lack of it you have around you.
  • Just be grateful that you have the opportunity to indulge in apathy. Such indulgence means you also have space to gather more beneficial opportunities toward you. Just get up and discover how easy they are to find.

I've not suffered from 'can't be bothered to get out of bed' syndrome since I was in my teens. I do sometimes experience 'can't be bothered to do anything productive, now I'm out of bed' syndrome. I know exactly what apathy is like, and there is very little to like about it. It's not relaxation, it's not recuperation or reflection or healing.

'Apathy is a sort of living oblivion' Horace Greeley

Helping Others: Ideas on turning the apathetic into the athletic (almost)
Firstly, find out if they are feeling healthy. If they are in good health and you decide to encourage them away from the bed or couch, do so in a way that aims for a positive response. That's if you can get to speak with them.

Being cajoled by someone else into an effort of enthusiasm, is like trying to electrically jump start your car when the tank is empty. Great questions to avoid: Why are you still in bed? What are you doing in bed? Why haven't you got out of bed yet?

1. Ask them if they are well and healthy.

2. Ask them if they are happy and refreshed after a long sleep.

3. Enquire about whether they are looking forward to anything special this day.

4. Engage them about that special something or suggest something they may find of interest.

5. Discuss with them what you will be doing today and ask their opinion on something. Get them intellectually and emotionally engaged. Continue to build upon this. Ask their opinion on more things and sound interested. You want them to feel better and motivated toward something (at least getting out of bed and avoiding the couch).

6. If they are obviously unenthusiastic, begin artfully using their tired, lazy inflections as you speak with them and gradually build in enthusiasm. Then engage them with useful questions to to help move their energy in the right direction.

7. A well directed bucket of cold water. It's cruel to be kind all the time.

8. Race into the room in boundless excitement screaming you've won the lotto.

9. Be warned even the most willing people can sometimes be unwilling to get out of bed for anything. Placate your frustrated ego by calmly telling yourself 'it's just another amazing facet of human nature.'

Science may have found a cure for most evils; but it has found no remedy for the worst of them all -- the apathy of human beings. Helen Keller

Now you've read my current approach to removing apathy both for yourself and helping others replace theirs with something better. Tell me your experiences of overcoming apathy or how you helped others to do so. Let me know if you have any suggestions.

Thanks for reading