As most of you know I am a long time devotee of meditation and reap the benefits of it daily. Last week a friend of mine, Antoinette Braks, spent last weekend with Deepak Chopra at his workshop in Sydney. I spent some time with him a few years back and found the day extremely enlightening and reflective. She reminded me that meditation is again high on the agenda. In her email, Antoinette outlined the focus of Deepak’s workshop and his meditation. This includes:
- The breath and inviting the mind to synchronise with the breath
- Reflecting on four questions:
- Who am I? What do I want? What is my purpose? What am I grateful for?
- Repeating “I am” or “ah-hum” mantra
- Cycle through the wheel of life: our senses, body, mind, and relationships, the universe.
Reflecting on each of these…
- Breathing practices.
- Two fantastic and easy breath practices are :
- Yogic breathing – breathing deeply into the belly for 4 counts, holding for four counts and then exhaling fully to four counts – then repeating it.
- Nostril breathing – breathing in the left nostril and out the right nostril – then in the right nostril and out the left nostril – then repeating it.
Another great breathing practice is mindfulness mediation. John Wurcker runs the Potential Project here in Australia which teaches mindfulness training to corporations (www.potentialproject.com). When I attended a workshop a couple of years ago I learnt a simple form of Mindfulness Mediation that is like a fitness workout for the mind. It involves four steps – A, B, C, D.
A = attention – sit quietly with eyes closed.
B = breathing – belly breathing – each breath in and out in one count.
C = counting – counting up to 10, then begin at one and count to 10 again – repeat. (This is the discipline!).
D = distraction – at any time you become distracted and the mind wanders you need to begin counting at 1 again.
Do it for anywhere between 2 – 30 minutes and notice the positive effects!
- Reflecting on four questions:
Who am I? What do I want? What is my purpose? What am I grateful for?
This is a great activity to do quietly by yourself in meditation. It can be equally powerful when you have a partner ask you the questions repeatedly in turn and capture your responses on paper.
When we reflect on our purpose daily it sets us up with our highest intention for service. This enables us to stay in our flow and maintain higher levels of energy and focus.
Practicing daily gratitude morning and night primes our brain, bathes it in serotonin and connects us deeply with our heart brain.
- I am or ah-hum mantra
Mantra’s become a wonderful way of relaxing and occupying the mind with a task that creates a positive vibration and feeling. It slows our mind to theta state, slows out breathing and creates a wonderful sense of peace. Repeating a mantra becomes a wonderful and simple meditative practice for wellbeing and creative whole-brain thinking
- Cycle through the wheel of life: our senses, body, mind, and relationships, the Universe
This involves being present to, first – your senses – that is the sounds you have and are hearing, what you have been and are touching, what you have and are seeing, what you have and are tasting, and what you have and are smelling.
Then, being present to your body limbs and organs.
The next step is focusing on your mental energy and mind space. What you are thinking, processing, surrendering to, and welcoming.
The next phase of the cycle involves focusing on relationships – family, friends, colleagues and business interactions.
The final phase involves meditating on space, the moon, the stars and beyond. This connects us to something greater than ourselves and fosters unity consciousness.
When we can be reminded to take time each day to practice meditation of some form, and reflect we are nurturing our mind, body and spirit to enable us to be in our optimum flow state moment to moment. The positive results of this are numerous and, for me, welcome on a moment to moment, day to day basis!
Benefits of meditation include:
- Decreased blood pressure and hypertension
- Lowered cholesterol levels
- Reduced production of “stress hormones,” including cortisol and adrenaline
- More efficient oxygen use by the body
- Increased production of the anti-aging hormone DHEA
- Improved immune function
- Decreased anxiety, depression, and insomnia
- Increased focus and concentration
- Improved efficiency
- Better mental well-being and work-life balance
So, over the next month I encourage to optimise your rest and reflection though the practice of some form of meditation.