All posts filed under: meditation

10 Benefits of Meditation

Evidence suggests meditation has been around since 1500 BCE, making it over 3500 years old. Yet the art of meditation only spread to Western society thousands of years later, and has only really gained household popularity in the last decade. What is about this ancient art form that’s survived the test of time and why do so many religions and gurus swear by its healing properties? We’ve chosen our top 10 benefits – It boosts Positive Emotions
 Powerful contemplative meditations like loving-kindness act as triggers for positive emotions. When we recall and allow ourselves to cultivate loving feelings, not only does it boost our mood, but we can more easily access those feelings after the mood has passed. Positive effect on our Physical Health Meditating encourages us to relax and therefore helps to reduce our stress level and boosts our immunity. It has also been proven to boost our immunity. Helps fight Depression Results now show that MBCT (Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy) is just as effective as anti-depressants in fighting mental illness. This is revolutionary for those who are …

Poetry Friday

And a man said, “Speak to us of Self-Knowledge.” And he answered, saying: Your hearts know in silence the secrets of the days and the nights. But your ears thirst for the sound of your heart’s knowledge. You would know in words that which you have always known in thought. You would touch with your fingers the naked body of your dreams. And it is well you should. The hidden well-spring of your soul must needs rise and run murmuring to the sea; And the treasure of your infinite depths would be revealed to your eyes. But let there be no scales to weigh your unknown treasure; And seek not the depths of your knowledge with staff or sounding line. For self is a sea boundless and measureless. Say not, “I have found the truth,” but rather, “I have found a truth.” Say not, “I have found the path of the soul.” Say rather, “I have met the soul walking on my path.” Say rather, “I have met the soul walking upon my path.” For …

Technotox

5 reasons you should switch off your phone and spend some time alone

There’s a very unique comfort in solitude. Yet for many, the idea of being alone can be frightening or even freakish. We live in an information age where we’re barely given the opportunity to think for ourselves, constantly connected and influenced by endless streams of media and technology. If we’re not with people at work, out socialising or traveling the world, we’re encouraged to keep in touch via text messages, whatsapp and emails and engage with them through social media. Although we hate to admit it, there’s a tendency to judge others and even ourselves by how popular we are, how many likes a picture gets on Instagram, how many comments on Facebook or how many followers we have on Twitter. It’s a form of reassurance, that we’re doing okay and we’re getting it right. One would certainly be forgiven for thinking socialising equals happiness when our feeds are full of friends out partying and having a great time. What few of us realise however, is the importance of spending time alone. Taking quality time really getting …

Make decisions through Love

Loving ourselves is the first and most important step towards personal development and growth. Spending time with and by ourselves, observing and understanding the landscape of our hearts and minds isn’t egotistical or self-centred, but instead a very selfless act of love and kindness. Because by knowing and working on ourselves – exploring our strengths and weaknesses, dealing with and letting go of past sufferings and future expectations, nurturing and feeding our minds and souls with self-love and compassion – we can become our best possible selves. Better equipped to love and thrive and therefore benefitting everyone we come into contact with. 8 Steps to Self-Love – Choose Grateful. Be grateful for who you are and what makes you unique. Start each day focusing on the good stuff, don’t automatically reach for your phone but instead take a moment to feel gratitude. Practice Contemplation. Whether through meditation, prayer or simply gazing at the stars in wonder. Learn to be quiet and let your soul speak. Be Honest. If we can’t be honest with ourselves, there’s little hope …

The Mindfulness Revolution

No doubt you’ve heard the word Mindfulness being thrown around a lot recently, it’s the Number One wellbeing buzzword and everyone from Ruby Wax to Goldie Hawn is singing its praises. But what is Mindfulness and why is it so beneficial? In essence, Mindfulness is purposefully paying attention and being aware in the present moment. Intentionally observing (but not clinging onto) your thoughts and feelings without judgement. This can be experienced at any moment, in any situation, but is best practised in a quiet room without distractions. Meditation is a great way to begin learning the Art of Mindfulness, just 10 minutes every day (preferably at the same time each morning) can make a big difference. What does Mindfulness actually do? Mindfulness improves focus and levels of concentration. Two incredibly important skills in this information age when we’re continually bombarded with enormous amounts of information and endless digital distractions. Mindfulness provides clarity of thought. In essence, once you slow down your mind and begin to understand the landscape of your thoughts and feelings in more …

4 ways to conquer negative thought

We all experience negative thoughts – be they fleeting or circling patterns of misery, they are almost always uninvited and can affect everything from our close relationships to work life, depleting energy stores and exhausting our productivity. The same destructive neural pathways are visited, patterns emerge and habits are formed. Often there appears to be no escape. We will accept the wave of negativity and some even learn to relish in it, feeling increasingly sorry for themselves and becoming more and more isolated from reality. The good news is, with a little effort and discipline we can learn to break these patterns. Thoughts are just thoughts, they are not fact or reality. We have thousands upon thousands of them every day – random, creative, bizarre thoughts and just because we have them, doesn’t make them an accurate reflection of the way things are.   Choose Sunny Whatever the weather forecast for your inner world, unlike the outer world, we do have control over our minds. Our thoughts and moods can be influenced and we can …

Mindfulness Meditation

A few years back I took a ten week course in Positive Psychology taught by Tim LeBon. This most recent branch of psychology (founded by Martin Seligman in 1998), studies the strengths and virtues that enable individuals and communities to thrive. Over the ten weeks we covered topics such as happiness and positive emotions, flourishing, positive relationships, meaning and accomplishment, strength, resilience, savouring, wisdom, mindfulness and meditation. For the first time in my life I was challenged to meditate. For a whole week I had to dedicate 15 minutes of my time to doing nothing. Thinking about nothing and focusing on nothing but my breath. For anyone with an overactive, highly obsessive and slightly neurotic mind (which is probably most of us!), this sounds a lot easier than it is. That said, I survived the challenge and noticed such an impact on my mind (outside of the meditation zone), I have since made a conscious effort to practise mindfulness mediation at least five times a week. I can honestly say it’s something I will do for the rest of my life. …

Find what you love

Steve Jobs co-founder of Apple Inc and Pixar Animations, was responsible for revolutionising four major industries in his relatively short life; computing, music, movies and mobile telephones. He was a visionary who transformed our day-to-day lives through his passion for technology and drive for perfection. But something few people know about Steve Jobs is he was an incredibly spiritual man with a deep interest in Zen Buddhism. It began in high school when he started experimenting with fasting and rigid vegan diets. Then during his only semester at Reed College, Steve continued to explore his spirituality by creating his own reading list, including the following titles – Be Here Now by Richard Alpert, Cosmic Consciousness by Richard Maurice Bucke, Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism by Chögyam Trungpa, Meditation in Action by Chögyam Trungpa, Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind by Shunryu Suzuki Once Steve dropped out of College, he continued to sleep on friends’ floors and drop in on lectures which took his fancy. Meanwhile he would travel seven miles across town to the local Hare Krishna temple once a week for a good meal. In the Summer of 1974 he …

Positive Psychology

This book is an easy to follow introduction to Positive Psychology for anyone with an interest in mindfulness or searching for authentic happiness. Positive Psychology is the most recent branch of psychology, founded by Martin Seligman. It is summarised in his own words as the ‘scientific study of optimal human functioning, it aims to discover and promote the factors that allow individuals and communities to thrive.’ (Seligman & Csikszentmilhalyi, 2000). In this book you will find the results of scientific studies carried out to help us understand the key factors in creating and maintaining a happy life. Broken down into 15 easily digestible chapters including Optimism and Hope, Living in Flow, Happiness and Subjective Wellbeing, Time in Our Lives, Love and Positive Psychology interventions, it provides a brilliant overview of optimal human functioning along with simple tools and tips on how to apply it to your own life. A highly recommended read. Positive Psychology in a Nutshell: The Science of Happiness by Ilona Boniwell Available at all good book shops or via Amazon.