So, a few days ago, I came across this little shop selling incense sticks and Tibetan singing bowls etc. and I was like a moth to a flame! Loving all things meditation and alternative, this shop owner and I had such great chat about The Himalayas, buddha and being peaceful etc.
I regularly do meditation but have never bought myself a Tibetan singing bowl. You’re supposed to hit the bowl with the beater and then move the beater around the outside of the bowl to harness the echoing sounds. The noise changes your brain waves apparently which draw you into a more meditative state. See video below.
When this lady demonstrated some of her bowls to me I was in Heaven!! I love the sounds so much, making my legs weak and I just want to immediately sit cross legged and start meditating! The bowls all have different sounds depending on their material and their size. Some of the smaller bowls make a more high-pitched ring which really aggravated my ears but the larger bowls make a deeper tone which was far nicer.
Anyway, being surrounded by the exquisite sound of the Tibetan singing bowls took me right back to when I went to Dharamshala which is on the edge of the Himalayas in India. It is where the Dalai Lama lives. My ex husband and I were on a tour of India and our tour guide took us there. It was stunning and fascinating. However what brought me to my knees was SEEING the Dalai Lama himself, seated, conducting a talk. If I could, I would have screamed with hysteria. My ex-husband looked at him, looked at my ridiculous face and said “I’ll come back for you in an hour”. I sat myself down with the great mass of other people and tried to listen. The atmosphere was incredible. Total silence from everyone surrounding me, an air of respect and absorption emanated and all that could be heard were the gentle words of the great man himself.
Sadly, the Dalai Lama was in a small room off of the outdoor area where I and hundreds of others were seated. Although the big doors were open to this room it wasn’t entirely possible to hear what he was saying but we could still glimpse him through the big windows and through the open doors. I was sitting amongst hundreds of others in 2008 under a stunning blue sky in body-melting heat in India. Life experience ticked right off my list there!! I was buzzing with happiness when I rejoined my ex. He didn’t really get my euphoria.
The reason I’m writing this particular blog about meditation is because this shop owner got me thinking through our talks. I was so receptive to the sounds of the singing bowls and I love my meditation and my mindfulness so much. I mentioned to her how, if I had the free time, I would take myself off for a week to a buddhist retreat to meditate or even do a silent retreat where you don’t talk for a week. I know some of my closest friends and family would probably appreciate the silence from me!!!
Having a 9year old son though does not give me a week’s freedom but I can do a weekend when he’s with his father so I have been googling buddhist retreats in the UK and I plan to go to one when I can.
I have mentioned to lots of people about meditation and mindfulness. A few people have humoured me by giving it a go when I’ve said how wonderful it is but they say “oh it’s too hard. I can’t turn my brain off!”. Also though, quite a few people still believe meditation is some hippy new-age practice where you have to sit cross legged, chant OM loudly and put your fingers together
Unless I’m doing some yoga, I don’t do this. I meditate first thing in the morning sitting up in my bed with some incense burning. I have also meditated just sitting on a beach listening to the waves. I do a quick 3min meditation in my car before I do the school run. I meditate at night in my bed which leads me into a deep sleep. Also, you know when you’re driving and suddenly you say to yourself “oh, we’re here!” Because you’ve gone off into an automatic pilot world and then you “come to”? That right there is a form of meditation while you’re driving which obviously I would absolutely not recommend you do at all!!!
Meditation is simply listening to your breath and clearing your mind. It is SO easy. For example, close your eyes and count your breaths. Literally. Breathe in, 1, breathe out, 2, in 1, out 2, in, 1, out, 2. Clearing your mind can be very tricky, I still catch myself thinking randomly while I meditate. My brain is constantly on what dinner, which phonecall, whose birthday, what time is it etc. It’s very difficult to do. I’m with you on that.
However, a great meditation teacher once taught us that to still the “chatter” in our brains we can focus on something to bring us back to our breath. It can be a shape or a particular scene or a memory. I decided a shape was good for me, simple and without emotions attached like a memory can be. So I meditate while thinking about a triangle. Breathe in – imagine one line of the triangle going up. Breathe out – imagine another line of the triangle going down the other side. Then hold your breath for just a few seconds while you imagine the third line of the triangle joining up. That’s it. Then repeat. You can do this for 2 minutes, 10 minutes, 1 hour if you so wish. I also put on some lovely, calming meditative music like this which really draws me into a calm state.
Or count your breaths in the shape of a square
Or anything that you want to focus on. But it’s just breathing. Not rocket science!
That is all there is to meditation for beginners. Once you’ve mastered just breathing you can then obviously move onto chanting which can be calming, healing (relating to our chakras) or stimulating. The sounds we make can clear our energy and change it but that’s another blog altogether that I’ll write about one day!
You can also move onto chakra meditation where you focus on different parts of your body, there is mindfulness meditation, transcental meditation…the list goes on and it is all absolutely fascinating!
For the moment though, as a beginner, all you need to do is breath meditation. Everyone says “Oh I have no time to meditate”. I do it too!! I am always on the go and I hear myself saying this daily!! However, do you wait for a pan of water to boil? Do you wait for a bus / train? Do you sit on the sofa watching awful ads until your programme resumes 3 minutes later? Everyone has at least 3mins in one day where they can just focus on their breath for just 3 minutes to start with.
You don’t even need your eyes closed. If you’re waiting for a buss, just stand and focus on something – the pavement or a tree in the distance and just count your breath and focus on that object.
I also occasionally do candle meditation with my 9 year old. That is literally just staring quietly, both of us, at the flickering flame of a candle. We watch out for different colours, different shapes. My son is really receptive to this.
Meditation is just this: calming your mind. Clearing it out. Clearing your energy so you feel calmer, have more clarity and stop stressing. Believe me, you will feel so much better having done it. I am not joking. It really makes you feel better!
Why do people tell you to “breathe deeply” if you’re stressing out? Or breathe deeply if you just can’t find a solution to something – “go outside and take 5 mins, breathe deeply” and often you do feel better for taking that small break. It’s just breathing. Meditation is not some crazy, difficult, yoga-centred hippy fad. Meditation is just breathing in and out and counting your breath. Do it in the bath, at a bus stop, in bed, in your parked car or even while waiting in the queue at the supermarket. Rather than checking social media for 3mins while you’re waiting for the pan of water to boil, just stand and breathe in and out and count your breaths, imagine the triangle. For 3mins. It’s ridiculously easy!
You could also try this. It works really well!!
Anyway, I’ve rambled on enough about meditation. I would love it if you could try to take just 3mins per day just to focus on your breath.
Do it anywhere, eyes open, closed and however you feel is right for you. Try to do it every day. Tell me how you feel. You’ll be surprised.
For now, I am going to concentrate on my own training and seek out some more meditation courses and a buddhist retreat. I really feel I’m on a path that I’m meant to be on and one that will lead me to a lot of peace which is how life should be. Peaceful. Have a great day everyone and please do leave me a comment, a like or please share my blog if you enjoyed reading it. Thank you!
Peace and love x