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British School of Meditation Blog

British School of Meditation Blog

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Welcome to the British School of Meditation blog on Meditation Teacher Training

Great blog from one of our trainers, Sarah Presley 

Meditation Meanderings: Excuses we give for not meditating by Sarah Presley

I started meditating in 2002 to help me cope with the symptoms of M.E.  I’d read about meditation in a book about Buddhism, and I liked the concept behind it.  However, although I liked the concept I didn’t really know if I was doing it right.   The only face-to-face help available was if I wanted to go down the Buddhist route.  For me, this was tricky as my body ached so much when I sat at the local Buddhist centre for a long period of time. So, I just had to persevere with it on my own at home.  My mind would give me many excuses for not meditatating, but I just kept at it and after a while I noticed improvements with my concentration levels as well as my tiredness levels.

I read a great article earlier this year, by Lodro Rinzler, in which he made suggestions to help you stick with your meditation practice.  One of the suggestions was to keep an excuse book, in which you keep a record of the excuses you make for not meditating.  This immediately struck me as a great idea, but it left me thinking about the type of excuses we have for either not starting, or for continuing, our meditation practice.

1: “I can’t possibly silence my mind”

Don’t worry, our brains are not designed that way.  Our awake mind is full of thoughts and feelings, some of which are positive, some are negative, but most can be quite mundane. Trying to force your mind to be silent can actually cause quite a bit of stress.  In meditation, we are offering our mind an alternative focus such as our breath or a mantra, and the moment we notice that our minds have gone elsewhere, we can just bring our minds gently back to the focus.  Just simply, begin again.  The more we practice this, the more we start to notice the space between our thoughts.

2: “I don’t have enough time”

Most of us lead busy fast paced lives and often find we don’t get enough time to do any of the things we want to do.    One of the by-products of meditation is that your heart rate can slow down, your blood pressure can lower and you may not produce as much stress hormones.  This can lead to you feeling calmer, focused and have better concentration levels which will help you to use your time much more effectively.  And you do not need to shoehorn a long sitting session into every day.  Spending a few minutes in meditation is better than doing none at all.  As Sharon Salzberg says, “if you can breathe, you can meditate”.

3: “I get too distracted by sounds”

When we decide to meditate unfortunately the world doesn’t go silent for us! Sitting still can mean that we are suddenly more aware of all the sounds around us. Often we can find ourselves tensing up against the sound, or trying to push the sound away by pretending it doesn’t exist.  Instead, we can welcome the sounds as part of our meditation experience, note the sound or even note the feeling that is generated by the sound (i.e. frustration, irritation, etc) and then return to our focus.

4: “I can only meditate if someone guides me”

There is nothing wrong with this, and the beauty of the technology means that there are amazing guided meditations at the touch of your fingertips.  Just try googling “guided breath meditation” and you will get 572,000 results!  There are also lots of meditation CDs out there as well as phone/tablet apps that can help you too.  Ask other people who meditate what ones they would recommend.  Or join a local meditation group.  The more you practice, the more your meditation “muscle” builds, as does your confidence.  This means that over time, you will feel that you can meditate on your own too.

5: “I’m worried I am doing it wrong, or that I am not going to be any good at it”

 It is perfectly normal to have fears when embarking on something new.  The thing is, we are so used to measuring things in life by whether they are a success or failure.  In meditation, we may sometimes find the practice hard or sometimes we may find the practice easy – hard does not mean wrong, it just means that our attention might have wondered a bit more than a previous session.  As long as you notice your mind has wandered and then bring it back to the focus, then you are meditating.   Sometimes you might have to do that many times in one sitting, but the more you “begin again” the more your brain will recognise this as a normal response.

I am so glad I did not let the excuses get in the way.  Meditation has played a huge part in turning my health around and I have been free of symptoms of M.E. since 2004.  So, give it a go and learn a new skill.  You never know, you might like it.


World Peace starts in the World Mind

August 8, 2016        Jackie Bland 

There is a way for us to find peace, and that is to bring meditation and mindfulness habits and practices into our lives.  Not just the life of the individual, but the life of the family, the organisation, whole nations and, yes, the whole world. 

It doesn’t mean that lots of cool, driven people have to sit about saying ‘Ommm’ dressed in hippy garb and losing their empirical ‘scientifically based’ beliefs; it means that we all have to get real about what we mean when we say we want ‘Peace’. 

Because peace, real peace, begins in the minds and hearts of individuals, and spreads like a positive infection to others who interact with those individuals. 

And why does meditation/mindfulness offer the pathway to a world ‘peace epidemic’? 

Because the human brain has evolved to have a negative bias, and meditation/mindfulness is a practical, proven way of counteracting that negative bias, increasing calm, positive thinking and balanced judgment and thus helping us to get along with and understand each other better.All of us are wired to see the dangers, threats and negatives in the situations we experience and the relationships we have, because the human brain evolved in a very dangerous environment.  We were prey to the wild animals that roamed the earth freely when the first humans colonised the earth.  We were victims of whatever natural disasters befell our environment, without the means to control or overcome them.

And without the securities, collaboration and rules of civilisation we were also a risk to one another as we fought to secure the means to our own individual and small tribe survival – it is estimated that one in eight primitive men died at the hands of another. 

For tens of thousands of years, during the rapid evolution of our huge brains, these dangers were ever present and real.  And we are still supremely adapted for that primitive environment.  If there is a danger we spot it, and once we’ve spotted one danger or threat we are hyper-vigilant in spotting others, often to the extent of imagining them (just in case) when they aren’t there. 

Which is all fine when there are real dangers, we want to be protected by our in-built alert systems from the things that threaten our survival.

The problem - the individual and the global problem - is that there are very few human societies where these dangers are ever-present.  For most people our survival is not threatened by the natural environment around us but – and this is where it all goes wrong – we still perceive our survival to be threatened by less immediate problems, potential difficulties and everyday challenges.  And we’ve somehow managed to confuse the survival of our body with the survival of our ego; our perceived power, our status and our ability to retain material things, and so threats to these aspects of our lives are also regarded as reasons to flip into ‘fight or flight’ mode.  Thus we fight with and threaten each other because of the things we think and feel - made up threats - and in the process introduce dangers which are, indeed, a real threat to survival. 

These less immediate problems and challenges in our lives are exactly what the newest part of our brain – the frontal lobes – are designed to deal with.  Assessment, intelligent use of assimilated information, fine judgement, planning ahead.... the ability to remain aware of and control and adapt our emotions ....we need all these things to solve our problems, both on an individual level and on the level of our wider human society. 

When we use the most advanced parts of our brain to operate, as individuals and groups, we assess situations calmly without undue negative bias, make rational judgments and considered decisions. We are likely to be more compassionate (because compassion actually makes more sense in wider contexts), and because operating in this way makes us feel good (through the release of ‘feel good’ neurotransmitters like serotonin) we are encouraged and motivated to keep operating in this way. 

By contrast, if we allow our negativity to take over, then we are likely to operate through an emotive haze, automatically seeing events, people, groups of people and daily experiences as reasons to feel threatened, anxious, angry, or increasingly at an individual level, to feel overwhelmed by negativity and become depressed. 

Lots of angry, anxious, hyper vigilant, depressed, threatened, fearful and ultimately overwhelmed people does not make for a safe custodial force for planet earth – operating like this we will always default to making enemies, defending our ‘rightness’, becoming ridiculously territorial and ultimately (and globally), losing the thing we value most – the experience of a fulfilled and actualised human life. 

Being this way is not our fault and many people will fail to fight their way out of operating like this across the span of a lifetime.  But many are waking up to realise that they have a choice. The choice to train themselves, train their brains, to adopt a calmer, more positive, more compassionate attitude to life and to help others to do the same. 

A big ask, you think, to expect meditative practices and approaches to achieve all this, to roll out the carpet for world peace?  Perhaps.  But we also know now that new behaviours, attitudes, application of knowledge and sharing of experience can sweep across the species that populate the earth in the tiniest blink of evolutionary time, and the human species is no exception.  Indeed, there are indications that this is already happening, but not fast enough to make inroads into our current global psyche and prevent the constant splitting and separation of groups and nations. 

We nearly all have the potential to develop this brilliant, newly evolved, mind-blowing creative and compassionate facility of our brain.  It is a truly miraculous tool at our disposal, and the simplest and most reliable way to access it regularly, and to keep it at the top of our operating system in this life, is to spend a few minutes each day being with it, and looking after it through mindful practices and meditation.

There are many, many mindful practices and habits you can adopt and lots of ways to meditate, including prayer if it fits your beliefs – and there is no shortage of ways to get started or people to help you (including me and all my colleagues on the British School of Meditation Register).  We might be evolving as a human race to do more of this anyway, but there would be no harm in helping our own evolution along a bit, and our descendants, who will inevitably inherit the current global situation, might well thank us. 

Everyone can do their bit – learn to be more mindful or to enjoy meditation yourself – alone or with others; teach your child – or your class - bring it into your workplace.  Please just do it. 

Peace be with you.Jackie 


World Peace starts in the World Mind

August 8, 2016

|

Jackie

 

 

There is a way for us to find peace, and that is to bring meditation and mindfulness habits and practices into our lives.  Not just the life of the individual, but the life of the family, the organisation, whole nations and, yes, the whole world.

 

It doesn’t mean that lots of cool, driven people have to sit about saying ‘Ommm’ dressed in hippy garb and losing their empirical ‘scientifically based’ beliefs; it means that we all have to get real about what we mean when we say we want ‘Peace’.

 

Because peace, real peace, begins in the minds and hearts of individuals, and spreads like a positive infection to others who interact with those individuals.

 

And why does meditation/mindfulness offer the pathway to a world ‘peace epidemic’?

 

Because the human brain has evolved to have a negative bias, and meditation/mindfulness is a practical, proven way of counteracting that negative bias, increasing calm, positive thinking and balanced judgment and thus helping us to get along with and understand each other better.

 

All of us are wired to see the dangers, threats and negatives in the situations we experience and the relationships we have, because the human brain evolved in a very dangerous environment.  We were prey to the wild animals that roamed the earth freely when the first humans colonised the earth.  We were victims of whatever natural disasters befell our environment, without the means to control or overcome them.

 

And without the securities, collaboration and rules of civilisation we were also a risk to one another as we fought to secure the means to our own individual and small tribe survival – it is estimated that one in eight primitive men died at the hands of another.

 

For tens of thousands of years, during the rapid evolution of our huge brains, these dangers were ever present and real.  And we are still supremely adapted for that primitive environment.  If there is a danger we spot it, and once we’ve spotted one danger or threat we are hyper-vigilant in spotting others, often to the extent of imagining them (just in case) when they aren’t there.

 

Which is all fine when there are real dangers, we want to be protected by our in-built alert systems from the things that threaten our survival.

 

The problem - the individual and the global problem - is that there are very few human societies where these dangers are ever-present.  For most people our survival is not threatened by the natural environment around us but – and this is where it all goes wrong – we still perceive our survival to be threatened by less immediate problems, potential difficulties and everyday challenges.  And we’ve somehow managed to confuse the survival of our body with the survival of our ego; our perceived power, our status and our ability to retain material things, and so threats to these aspects of our lives are also regarded as reasons to flip into ‘fight or flight’ mode.  Thus we fight with and threaten each other because of the things we think and feel - made up threats - and in the process introduce dangers which are, indeed, a real threat to survival.

 

These less immediate problems and challenges in our lives are exactly what the newest part of our brain – the frontal lobes – are designed to deal with.  Assessment, intelligent use of assimilated information, fine judgement, planning ahead.... the ability to remain aware of and control and adapt our emotions ....we need all these things to solve our problems, both on an individual level and on the level of our wider human society.

 

When we use the most advanced parts of our brain to operate, as individuals and groups, we assess situations calmly without undue negative bias, make rational judgments and considered decisions. We are likely to be more compassionate (because compassion actually makes more sense in wider contexts), and because operating in this way makes us feel good (through the release of ‘feel good’ neurotransmitters like serotonin) we are encouraged and motivated to keep operating in this way.

 

By contrast, if we allow our negativity to take over, then we are likely to operate through an emotive haze, automatically seeing events, people, groups of people and daily experiences as reasons to feel threatened, anxious, angry, or increasingly at an individual level, to feel overwhelmed by negativity and become depressed.

 

Lots of angry, anxious, hyper vigilant, depressed, threatened, fearful and ultimately overwhelmed people does not make for a safe custodial force for planet earth – operating like this we will always default to making enemies, defending our ‘rightness’, becoming ridiculously territorial and ultimately (and globally), losing the thing we value most – the experience of a fulfilled and actualised human life.

 

Being this way is not our fault and many people will fail to fight their way out of operating like this across the span of a lifetime.  But many are waking up to realise that they have a choice. The choice to train themselves, train their brains, to adopt a calmer, more positive, more compassionate attitude to life and to help others to do the same.

 

A big ask, you think, to expect meditative practices and approaches to achieve all this, to roll out the carpet for world peace?  Perhaps.  But we also know now that new behaviours, attitudes, application of knowledge and sharing of experience can sweep across the species that populate the earth in the tiniest blink of evolutionary time, and the human species is no exception.  Indeed, there are indications that this is already happening, but not fast enough to make inroads into our current global psyche and prevent the constant splitting and separation of groups and nations.

 

We nearly all have the potential to develop this brilliant, newly evolved, mind-blowing creative and compassionate facility of our brain.  It is a truly miraculous tool at our disposal, and the simplest and most reliable way to access it regularly, and to keep it at the top of our operating system in this life, is to spend a few minutes each day being with it, and looking after it through mindful practices and meditation.

 

There are many, many mindful practices and habits you can adopt and lots of ways to meditate, including prayer if it fits your beliefs – and there is no shortage of ways to get started or people to help you (including me and all my colleagues on the British School of Meditation Register).  We might be evolving as a human race to do more of this anyway, but there would be no harm in helping our own evolution along a bit, and our descendants, who will inevitably inherit the current global situation, might well thank us.

 

Everyone can do their bit – learn to be more mindful or to enjoy meditation yourself – alone or with others; teach your child – or your class - bring it into your workplace.  Please just do it.

 

Peace be with you.

Chopping wood mindfully?

Enlightened and chopping wood.

"Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water." Zen saying.

The other weekend my husband decided that he really needed to chop of some branches off a tree that had got too big for the area of the garden it is in, to the point that the grass underneath had died through lack of sunlight.

 I am sure you can imagine the pile of wood and leaves.   He asked if I would help clear the branches and take them to the wood pile.  So I got on with the job, it was hot, and hard work.  I realised after a while that I was doing this job without any good grace, I let you imagine the resentful train of thought I was following, especially as I had just cleared this huge pile.  My husband thought I wasn’t working hard enough with the chain saw. This really did not help my mood.  This happened three times!  I would just clear the pile and more would appear.

I took myself to task and thought about the woodchopper’s story and thought I will try to do this mindfully without resentment.  I stopped and focussed on the task, looked at the leaves, felt the sunlight on my back, and started the job again. This attitude lasted all of 30 seconds, the resentful thoughts came back, so I started again, refocussing my mind, this happened so many times I lost count. 

I did try to do this job with good grace, and to be fair I did for very short spaces of time.  I could however laugh at myself and observe how the resentful thoughts changed how I felt and how much better I felt when I changed my mind set.

The moral of this tale is, I guess, to understand that it is all a work in progress, and to accept that I am far from perfect and from enlightenment.

The photo shows you the size of the pile I moved.

Helen

Being Human
by Frans Stiene on June 03, 2016
 
I often hear people say that when they get angry, worried or fearful that they are just "being human," that emotions such as these are part of being human! But is this really the case, and what does it actually mean to be human?
According to the online etymology dictionary, the word "human" came from old French (humain) and Latin (humanus) and also stood for "humane, philanthropic, kind, gentle, polite; learned, refined, civilized." As we can see from this perspective, being human means being kind, gentle, and polite. Thus if we are angry, worried, and fearful we lose this kindness, gentleness, and politeness. In fact we are the opposite of being human! 
The dictionary goes on to say that it also stands for an "earthly being." This for me means being of and with the earth, in union. However, in our modern world, are we still human? Do we still treat the earth with respect, do we still feel the interconnectedness with the earth, are we gentle and kind to the earth? Or do we plunder the earth and destroy it? If so, are we still human, an earthly being who lives in union with the earth instead of destroying it?
Maybe when we are angry, worried, fearful etc., and we say we are just human, maybe it is a way of saying to ourselves that it is okay to be angry, worried, fearful - that we can't help it because we are "just human." Maybe it is a cop out: "I am angry, but that is just me being human!" Therefore, I don't have to do anything about it: I can just be angry, worried and fearful because it is part of being human. But what if being human is in fact the opposite: being kind, gentle, and polite? If we look at it from that perspective, then when we find that anger, worry, fear (or other emotions we might label as "negative") are getting in our way and keeping us from being kind, gentle, and polite, we have to take action for ourselves. We have to practice so that we become less angry, less worried, less fearful. But this means taking self responsibility instead of hiding behind the phrase, "I am just human, so I do get angry."
I feel we have to remember again what it means to be real ordinary human beings - full of kindness, gentleness, and politeness. This we can do through practicing different spiritual practices so that we can become ordinary again. Realizing that as a human race we are nothing special, we are not more special than animals, than the earth, than anything else, we are just ordinary human beings. But we can only do this through our own personal efforts, our own personal practice. Then when we do get angry, worried, fearful etc., we start to realize that we have strayed from being human - in fact we have become in-humane. 
So let's hold hands together, let's practice together so that for the sake of our children and the earth, we can go back to being real ordinary human beings again. Through our practice, and our connection to each other and to all things, let's put the "humane" back into being human.


New Blog from Helen

Teacher look after yourself.

One of the biggest challenges I think that we face is looking after ourselves. If you are like me you put others before yourself, we want to please everyone, make everyone happy, and this, at times, is to our own detriment.  I have meditated on this for ages, in fact, I think it’s a life’s work. I have come to the conclusion that it is not selfish to think of our own needs, rather it helps everyone when we are feeling happy and fulfilled.  I know at times it is very hard, but everyone deserves some time to themselves, so here are my tips on being kind to yourself.

Let’s start with the hardest, learn to say NO.  When you asked to help, take a breath and think will this fit in with my day, if the answer is yes, then you can help, if you have a feeling that yes you can help, but it will leave me feeling ragged then the answer is no.

When you are teaching do not bring your students’ problems home with you. By all means remember them in your meditation, this is showing compassion.

At least once a day put yourself first. i.e. To your family: I am going to my room for some ‘me time’, (e.g. meditation) even if it’s just for 5 minutes. Go for a walk in the garden or park.

Take time to read inspirational books, there are enough of them out there.

Have a hobby, discover something you love and spend time doing it.

I try to look in the mirror at least once a day and smile at myself and sometimes wink.  This makes me laugh and I try not to take it all too seriously.

Work at your meditation practice, this is your rock, sometimes it’s hard, but be firm with yourself.

Look after your physical self, eat nutritious foods, again there is plenty of advice on what we should eat, but most of all enjoy your food and be grateful.

Listen to your body and give thanks to it.

I will now try and put all of this into practice.

Helen


Never give up!

 

After meditation today I was reflecting on some recent events and feeling optimistic for the future.

A few weeks ago I went to see the film ‘Eddie the Eagle’, the story of Eddie Edwards who competed in the Winter Olympics for Great Britain. As we know he came last but the point of the film and of his life is that perseverance and determination can work wonders.

 

Growing up Eddie didn’t have a lot going for him but he believed in himself and he was determined to go to the Olympics. No one, except his Mum, had any faith in him but he never gave up. The film is truly inspiring and left me in tears. Eddie lives here in Cheltenham so I am doubly proud of his achievements as Cheltenham is my adopted home.

 

Another underdog team, Leicester City has just also done the seemingly impossible and won the Premier League. Last year they were almost relegated and were 5000/1 against winning the league. But like Eddie they defied the odds and believed in themselves and their manager.

 

Last week the jury in the Hillsborough Inquest ruled that the 96 victims of the tragedy in 1989 were not to blame and had been unlawfully killed. The families of the victims refused to accept the original verdict that besmirched their loved ones and fought a determined campaign to get the truth.

 

All these stories tell their own tale of determination and perseverance, often in the face of huge opposition. We can all learn lessons from these indomitable people who triumphed against the odds. 

YouTube

Blog Post 12/04/16

 

Today we posted a video on our website. It was created by Simon Fry, one of our trainers. You can also find it on YouTube.

Apparently video is what Google and Facebook love, so, we all need to get into the habit of using and sharing videos.

 

We live in an age when Facebook and YouTube are beginning to take over as the main ways in which people share information. I read an article in this week’s Sunday Times about the CEO of YouTube. She is Susan Wojcicki   and it is her belief that YouTube will soon become the world’s most powerful broadcaster.

According to research television viewing amongst young people (18 -49) continues to drop rapidly while at the same time they spend more and more time on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

 

We want young people to become aware of the power of meditation and the ways in which it can help them reduce stress and manage an increasingly frantic world. If we want to reach them, we need to be visible to them.

 

So, we need to harness the power of YouTube, Facebook and other such social media sources. They are the future of communication and we need to embrace them. 

David Hamilton CPD Day

Blog post: March 17, 2016 

On 5th March the Meditation School was delighted to welcome Dr David Hamilton to speak at a CPD day. 

David is a wonderful speaker and we were treated to a fantastic, inspirational day. 

His background is as a scientist working for Astra Zeneca on the placebo effect. He was so fascinated by the results of the research which showed that many people taking the placebo drugs reacted as though they were on the real drugs, that he left his job to become a writer and speaker on well-being.

He has now written eight books and is in the process of writing his ninth.

If you go on to David’s website, you can sign up to his newsletter and his daily messages of inspiration. I get both and find I learn a lot. www.drdavidhamilton.com 

You can also check out where he is speaking and see if he is coming to somewhere near you so you can go and hear him. 

Guest Blog from Jacqui Bastock

Hello, my name is Jacqui Bastock and I deliver the Meditation Teacher Training courses in Wales

I started meditating regularly over 30 years ago, it was one of the best decision I’ve ever made!   Meditation has proven to be the most positive, rewarding and life enhancing daily practice I have ever undertaken.  The personal and professional benefits have been huge, including the development of greater self-awareness and a deepening awareness of the needs of others.  As a self-management tool for a busy life it has been invaluable, taking a breath (sometimes called a’ purposeful pause’) during the day when I notice that my mind wants to dash off in several directions at once, brings me back to the spacious present moment, settling my mind and body whilst enabling me to see more clearly the next step or decision.

My work life has evolved steadily in two very different directions, the first as a Holistic Therapist and Teacher with professional qualifications in several disciplines including Advanced Crystal Therapy, Reiki, Reflexology and of course Meditation.  The second, as a Trainer and Training Manager within Business and Industry which in turn led to working for the Welsh Government developing, advising on and introducing policies around Education and Training.  I have recently retired from Welsh Government and have been able to spend more time teaching meditation, including Mindfulness meditation courses for teachers and running Mindful Leadership courses within organisations.

One of my favourite meditations is called Watching the Train and I would like to share it with you: -                             

Sit comfortably on your chair and take a slightly deeper breath in and as you breathe out allow your shoulders to drop a little (repeat this twice).  Then gently bring your attention to the tip of your nose and as you breath in through your nose… feel the breath flowing over the tip of your nose, and let your attention follow that breath, noticing the chest and tummy expanding as that, in breath, reaches each of them.  Then notice the tummy and chest deflate as you breathe out through your nose or mouth, feeling that cool out breath sensation on your nose or tongue (repeat this at least 3 or 4 times).

Now, I would like you to allow a picture to form in your mind. Imagine yourself at a busy railway station, a long train with lots of carriages has just pulled in and there are hundreds of people getting on the train.  You choose the carriage straight in front of you and climb on board, the carriage is chaotic, several people are having arguments over seats, a couple of teenagers have their music blaring out, several people are talking loudly on their mobile phones (other phones are ringing) and as the train begins to gather speed, the person next to you has decided to tell you their life story and go into graphic detail about their illnesses. You feel yourself sigh because all you long for in all of this is a quiet moment.

Then allow yourself to realise,’ I can change this’ and in your imagination reach up and pull a cord that stops the train, nobody else notices the train has stopped.  You walk to the carriage door and step off the train and onto the grass at the side of the track.  The sun is warm and its quiet and you are surrounded by space. You walk to the top of a small hill not too far from the track and sitting comfortably you watch the train pull away with all the carriages continuously flowing past. You have found your quiet space.  You watch the train (your thoughts) racing past, each carriage full of past concerns or future worries, you know that you can stop the train at any time and climb into a carriage, when you choose, you can also choose to sit regularly on the top of the hill (in that quiet space) and watch the train.

I Hope you will enjoy trying this meditation

Guest Blog from Alexandra Francis

Hi, my name is Alexandra Francis. Meditation has come into my life gradually over the past few years. I started out as a beauty therapist and then went on to be an air hostess for years where I gained a life’s worth of experience! I then returned to being a therapist but on a much more holistic level. Having noticed how stressed, anxious and depressed a lot of my clients were I wanted to find a natural way in which I could help them. Becoming a mindfulness meditation teacher through The British School of Meditation has achieved this and I now wouldn’t be without meditation in my own life.

My favourite meditation is ‘Mountain Journey’. I love this meditation as it makes me feel grounded and puts my life in perspective.

Mountain Journey

Imagine or get a sense of yourself climbing a mountain, brushing past growing lavender plants. Their scent is relaxing every step you take. Stop to feel the touch of the lavender. Lavender is wonderful for headaches, nervous tension asthma and arthritis. Focus on your breath as you climb this wonderful mountain, breathing in the fresh clean mountain air and releasing any tiredness and tension on your out breath.

When you reach the top of the mountain find somewhere comfortable to sit. As you look down you see a village below. You can just about make out the people. See how small they appear and compare them to the size of our earth and then to the size of the universe. See how inconspicuous their stresses and worries appear. Ponder this for a moment…and now relate this to yourself.

Your stresses and worries are small and you can let them go. Focus on your gentle breathing and see your stresses and worries lifting from you to be recycled in the fresh mountain air.

When you feel ready take yourself back down the mountain feeling light, free and invigorated, ready to face the world.

Alexandra Francis, Inspire Meditation

Inspire-meditation@hotmail.com

www.facebook.com/inspiremeditation15

07702 093183

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