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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

Helen Galpin, co founder of the British School of Meditation talks about choosing music for meditation. In this video Helen talks about Music to aid your meditation practice, Helen includes three of her favourite pieces.  Music can really set the scene for your practice so it does need to be chosen with care, have fun finding your favourite piece of music to aid your meditation practice.  

Zen and the art of Relaxation. 

Touch of Silence, Tibetan Singing Bowls by Klaus Wiese

Reiki Gold by Llewellyn

The 5 second rule by Mel Robbins

The 5 second rule by Mel Robbins

A few years ago I came across a book by Mel Robbins which I found inspiring.

Here is how her website describes her life before she discovered the 5 second rule:

‘At 41 years old Mel Robbins had hit rock bottom. Her husband’s restaurant business started off as a success but quickly collapsed leaving them with $800,0000 worth of debt. Facing bankruptcy, alcohol addiction, and a spiralling marriage, Mel felt like a complete failure. Every morning when the alarm went off, she knew she had to get up, but anxiety about her situation made her continuously hit the snooze button. She wanted to change but just couldn’t make herself do it.

Then one day, while she was watching TV, she saw footage of a rocket launching. From that moment, she told herself that she was going to launch herself out of bed like a rocket every morning without making any excuses.

So, the next morning when the alarm went off, instead of lying there thinking about her problems, she pretended NASA was there watching her and gave herself 5 seconds to get out of bed. By counting down 5-4-3-2-1 she beat her habit of hitting the snooze button’. 

From that day on she started using the countdown 5-4-3-2-1 to launch herself out of bed and start her day. Gradually she started to apply the rule to other areas of her life and quite literally transformed her life. Her book is inspiring,  I have read it several times and find it really helps me to motivate myself and stop procrastinating. I had the idea for this blog this morning when I finished meditating and instead of thinking about it for days I started writing soon after.

You can use the rule to change any aspect of your life – health, work, relationships; Mel leads you through the steps to take and backs up her words with scientific research. Watch this YouTube video.

The 5 second rule can transform your life one decision at a time.

Mary  

Spring blog

SPRING BLOG

JENNIE HOLVEY

Hello everyone.  For those of you who do not know me, I am Jennie Holvey and along with my partner I run Engra Holistics offering meditation classes and workshops as well as other holistic therapies.  

It is very difficult to write a blog at the moment without mentioning in some shape or form the current very strange and challenging situation we all find ourselves in.  However, in my opinion if there is one thing that can take our mind off all this it is the wonderful season of Spring and particularly so at the moment as we are enjoying some beautiful spring weather.  I live in Devon and it is gorgeous at the moment although I believe that large parts of the country are also enjoying blue skies and warm sunshine which is a welcome relief after the very wet winter we have just experienced.   I feel as though Mother Nature is showing us that the world is still a beautiful place.  

I appreciate that for those of you for whom spring heralds the start of the sneezing and nose blowing time of the year, you may not feel so excited about this season as I do and as you sneeze for the 15th time today, I am sure you may well stop reading at this point.  For me though it is the most energetic of seasons with a real sense of aliveness.  All things green bursting into life, colourful flowers appearing everywhere in the gardens and hedgerows, and animals who have been hibernating have woken up and are eagerly seeking food and perhaps a mate although at this time of late spring they have probably busying themselves looking after their young.    

I love to write meditation scripts and have a particular fondness for guided visualisations focused on the natural world.  The season of spring (although closely followed by Autumn ) is for me the most inspiring of seasons.  It is a season when growth is rapid and that can be quite nice for us more impatient mindful people. I planted some seeds the other day and I can already see tiny green shoots beginning to emerge from the earth.  This however is a perfect focus for a meditation, imagining yourself planting seeds and watering them and then seeing the little green shoots grow taller, leaves forming and then buds and flowers, taking notice of the colours and shape of the plant as it grows, perhaps even imagining in this meditation that you have planted seeds of hope, happiness or peace and as you tend and water them the plants will hold this energy as they grow.  

Spring is a real assault on the senses and it is an amazing time to make full use of our senses and bring them into our meditation experience especially if we can spend some time meditating outside.  However even inside if we practice a spring guided meditation we can focus on the senses one by one.  Imaging the sound of bird song and insects, and the feel of grass or a flower and warm spring sunshine, the sights of butterflies,  and lambs in the fields, the taste of fresh air and the smell of freshly cut grass can instantly bring the season of spring into focus in our meditation.

Now I hear you say, this is all very well but what if you are in a city and especially at the moment have had no opportunity to experience a country hedge bordering a field full of gambling spring lambs.  You may not feel like bringing this to mind.  I do however strongly feel that Mother Nature makes herself known to us wherever we are.  I am fortunate to live in the countryside just outside of the city but work in the town centre and also lived in the town for many years.  Even in the middle of the town there will be somewhere to experience the energy and beauty of spring.  I wrote a meditation called the Neglected garden for which my inspiration was a  totally neglected garden in the street where I used to live.  City trees with new fresh leaves and flowers growing up between paving slabs and out of walls are all beautiful sights.  (you may disagree if they are emerging all over your patio)

While handwriting this blog sat outside, a greenfly landed on the page and I was about to sweep it away, a less welcome sign of spring, however I let it stay there and instead focused on it intently.  Its wings, so delicate and its tiny green body were quite fascinating.  I had never really taken notice before.  As I watched it I had another idea for a meditation.  I am sure this has been done before but I had not practised it and so I quickly wrote it down.   A play on loving kindness and instead of focusing on people the focus is on animals and/or plants.   Starting with yourself, then moving on to a favourite animal/plant, then one you are indifferent to, (an example may be the tree in the car park at work or the little conifer sat in a pot in your neighbour’s garden, you get the gist), following on from this focus on a plant or animal you are really not fond of.  This does not have to be the tarantula sized spider you had to get out of the bath the day before.  It could be ivy or bindweed in the garden or flies or wasps, then ending with sending loving kindness to all form on Earth.  I used the phrases:

May you be healthy

May your presence on this Earth be appreciated

May we live alongside each other with kindness and tolerance.

We are now coming towards the end of spring and will be moving into summer which has a different feel again.  I will say finish by sending you all loving kindness and here is a link to a more traditional loving kindness meditation which I uploaded to

 You Tube.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i4AXS_gArDU&t=615s

Jennie is one of our BSoM Meditation teachers. Contact details:

Email:  engrareikiandmeditation@yahoo.com

Tel: 01392 833205 / 07807 653292

Nearest Town/City: Exeter

Coping in lockdown

Blog post 16052020

This week the advice from the government changed from ‘Stay at home’ to ‘Be alert’. There was some confusion as to what this actually meant at first, but now it seems some restrictions have been lifted.

I went out in my car earlier today and did notice there was a lot more traffic on the road and more people out and about.

There was also some good news that a new antibody test looks promising and will be able to detect those of us who have had the virus.

Slowly the lockdown is going to be lifted but we still need to be cautious, far too many people have died of Covid 19 for us to think life can go back to normal any time soon, if ever. Commentators are talking about the ‘new normal’ in the belief that life won’t return to the pre Covid 19 days.

We can all do our bit to help. We can make sure we stick to the government’s guidelines, not matter how difficult we are finding these restrictions. One of my friends just became a grandmother but won’t be able to see her new granddaughter until the lockdown is over. My cousin died last week but because he lived in Liverpool and I live in Cheltenham I won’t be able to go to his funeral. Although we were able to follow a service online courtesy of Zoom.

Here are some tips and ideas for helping you cope with lockdown.

  1. Meditation – by focusing on the now we can reduce thoughts of stress and anxiety. Daily meditation can help boost your mood.
  2. Join a choir – there are lots of online choirs. I belong to a choir but we haven’t met since the middle of March now and really miss it but have been practising some of our songs to remind me of the fun we have. Singing is good for us. Gareth Malone has started an online choir
  3. Phoning family and friends – we might not be able to meet up with our loved ones but we can keep in touch with phone calls. Lots of people are rediscovering the joy of the landline.
  4. Online quizzes – once a fortnight my family get together for a light hearted quiz. (I think it’s light hearted!) we get to see one another online from all over the country. We chat, do the quiz, and have a sing-song.
  5. Watch our YouTube channel for lots of tips from Helen  https://youtu.be/A0IvU45volk

Take care and keep safe,

Mary

Boosting your immune system

Boosting your immune system

In this blog we are going to look at ways in which you can boost your immune system and protect your health.

  1. Sleep – getting 7-9 hours sleep a night will help boost your immune system and also help reduce inflammation in your body.

  1. Exercise – a 30 minute walk every day can help the body fight infection.

  1. Healthy diet – a diet full of fruit and vegetables, vitamins, especially vitamins C and E, beta carotene and zinc. Also take probiotics to help you protect your gut health.

  1. Reduce stress- chronic stress exposes the body to stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol both of which suppress the immune system. One of the best ways to combat stress is to meditate. Meditation helps the body to produce antibodies to fight infection. Find a teacher near you: https://www.teaching-meditation.co.uk/findateacher/

  1. Laughter – a good laugh helps reduce stress hormones and boost white blood cells. So, watch a funny film, comedies on TV, YouTube videos.

  1. Connect with loved ones by telephone, WhatsApp, Zoom, Skype and have a good chat, have quizzes, and enjoy yourself.

  1. Take Vitamin D, it is essential to a healthy immune system. We get it from sunlight, but we can also take supplements to support us at this time while we are staying home.

  1. Essential oils – some essential oils may help fight infection and boost the immune system. Ones to try include:

Lemon – anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory

Tea tree – boosts the immune system

Eucalyptus – supports a healthy respiratory system and is a decongestant and expectorant.

  1.  You may want to investigate the Wim Hof system which suggests a variety of ways to boost your immune system: https://www.wimhofmethod.com/
Stay safe and keep well, Mary     
Check out our latest vlog: https://youtu.be/mwY4LcrrDgs

Ideas for self isolation

Ideas for self-isolation

It is likely that many of us will have to self-isolate perhaps for several weeks because of the impact of the coronavirus.

Therefore we have been looking at things we can do at home to keep occupied.

Some suggestions:

  1. Reading – you probably have a pile of books you have been meaning to read when you have the time. That time is now.
  2. Take up a new hobby, look at YouTube. There is an amazing collection of ‘how to’ videos.
  3. Revive an old hobby. When I was young my mum taught me to knit, embroider and sew. I am planning to start knitting again. What old hobbies could you think about revisiting?
  4. Phone friends and family. Connect with loved ones. Discover Facetime, WhatsApp ad other fantastic ways of connecting at a distance.
  5. Exercise – there are lots of videos on YouTube or dig out those DVD’s you bought with good intentions but haven’t used!
  6. Go for solitary walks, preferably in a park or out in the countryside.
  7. Meditate! I would say this wouldn’t I? Meditation can really help us to cope with anxiety and fear.

I found this on Facebook:

“And the people stayed home. And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still. And listened more deeply. Some meditated, some prayed, some danced. Some met their shadows. And the people began to think differently.

“And the people healed. And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless, and heartless ways, the earth began to heal.

“And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully, as they had been healed.”

Kitty O’Meara

Keep well and take care of yourself. Lovingkindness meditation so useful at this time.

My I be well

May I be happy

May I be healthy

May I be filled with Loving Kindness

Mary

Acts of kindness

This week is celebrating random acts of kindness. This is a reminder to us that acts of kindness can make such a difference to others.

At the moment the phrase ‘in a world where you can be anything, be kind’ is trending on social media as people react with sorrow to the tragic death of Caroline Flack.

Being kind can seem a simplistic idea but it can change the world one act of kindness at a time.

Do you remember the film ‘Pay it Forward’?

The premise of the film and of the book by Catherine Hyde is that you do 3 acts of kindness and ask the recipients to then in turn od 3 acts of kindness to other people rather than reciprocate your act of kindness. It is a way of spreading kindness in the world.

So, this week I will be doing random acts of kindness and remembering that even a smile can make a difference to someone’s day. It costs nothing but could make all the difference to someone.

The meditation on LovingKindness is one of my absolute favourites. Metta or LovingKindness is a powerful way of extending love and kindness in the world. https://thebuddhistcentre.com/text/loving-kindness-meditation

We can all be inspired by this meditation to be kinder to one another and also, importantly, to ourselves.

I posted this from Dr David Hamilton on our Facebook page today: https://www.facebook.com/BSoMeditation/posts/2926018600784362?notif_id=1581933347849536¬if_t=page_post_reaction

 

Profile of the Dalai Lama

  The Dalai Lama:  Profile

This article from the BBC website gives a brief outline of the Dalai Lama   https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-12700331

We thought you might enjoy reading it.  

In March 1959, as Chinese troops crushed an attempted uprising in Tibet, Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, fled into India.

Then a young man in his mid-20s, the future must have seemed bleak. With few countries prepared to respond to China's actions, he faced a difficult task to protect Tibetans and their traditions. Yet despite 50 years in exile, the reach of Tibet's spiritual leader has extended far beyond his community and he is now recognised as one of the world's leading religious figures. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989 for his consistent opposition to the use of violence in his quest for Tibetan self-rule.

 Child leader

The 14th Dalai Lama was born on 6 July 1935, in a small village just outside the current boundaries of Tibet. His parents, who named him Lhamo Dhondub, were farmers with several other children. When he was two years old, a search party of Buddhist officials recognised him as the reincarnation of the 13 previous Dalai Lamas and he was enthroned before he turned four. He was educated at a monastery and went on to achieve the Geshe Lharampa Degree, a doctorate of Buddhist philosophy.

It would be natural to compare him with Mahatma Gandhi, one of this century's greatest protagonists of peace”

But in 1950, when he was 15, the troops of Mao Tse-tung's newly-installed Communist government marched into Tibet. As soldiers poured into the country, the Dalai Lama - his title means Ocean of Wisdom - assumed full power as head of state. In May 1951, China drew up a 17-point agreement legitimising Tibet's incorporation into China. When Tibetans took to the streets in 1959 demanding an end to Chinese rule, troops crushed the revolt and thousands of protesters were killed. The Dalai Lama fled to India on foot and settled in Dharamsala, in the north of the country, which is now home to the Tibetan government-in-exile. He was followed into exile by about 80,000 Tibetans, most of whom settled in the same area.

'Middle way'

In exile, the Dalai Lama began the task of trying to preserve the culture of the Tibetan people and publicise their plight on the world stage. He appealed to the United Nations and persuaded the General Assembly to adopt resolutions in 1959, 1961 and 1965 calling for the protection of the Tibetan people.

He has met political and religious leaders throughout the world and visited the late Pope John Paul II on several occasions.

The Dalai Lama has advocated a "middle way" to resolve the status of Tibet - genuine self-rule for Tibet within China.

In 1987, amid protests in Lhasa against the large-scale relocation of Han Chinese into Tibet, the Dalai Lama proposed a five-point plan, in which he called for the establishment of Tibet as a zone of peace. But he did not move from his stance of peaceful resistance and in 1989 was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The committee praised his policy of non-violence, which it called "all the more remarkable when it is considered in relation to the sufferings inflicted on the Tibetan people".

New challenges

Despite their disagreements, the Dalai Lama has continued to seek dialogue with Beijing. Talks between the two sides broke down in 1993 and there were no more for nearly a decade. Discussions resumed in 2002 and have continued intermittently but with no apparent progress.

In March 2011, the Dalai Lama said that he planned to hand his political responsibilities to an elected representative, saying such a move was in the best interests of the Tibetan people."My desire to devolve authority has nothing to do with a wish to shirk responsibility," he said. "It is to benefit Tibetans in the long run. It is not because I feel disheartened." "Tibetans have placed such faith and trust in me that as one among them I am committed to playing my part in the just cause of Tibet”.

A poem for 2020

Be patient

to all that is unsolved

in your heart ….

Try to love the questions

themselves…..

Do not now seek the answers

which cannot be given

because you would not be able

to live them,

and the point is to live everything.

Live the questions now.

Perhaps you will then

gradually,

Without noticing it

Live along some distant day

Into the answers.

Rainer Maria Rilke

Letters to a Young Poet 1934

Keeping calm at Christmas

 I am writing this on the day of the general election. For once the news isn’t dominated by politics and that is such a relief after the last few weeks.

In the build up to Christmas we can start to get very anxious about getting everything done: food shopping, present buying, writing Christmas cards and so on. Often, we can feel pressurised by the media and by adverts to have the ‘perfect’ Christmas, and it is all to easy to fall into the trap of spending too much money and buying too much stuff.

The shops are only closed for one day, Christmas Day itself, but you would think they were going to be closed for days on end the way we can stock up on food and spend lots of money.

I still send Christmas cards to friends and family, particularly to those people I won’t see, or live a long way away from.  I have friends up North who I have known for a very long time but don’t see them from one year to the next. I do, however, like to send them a card and always like it when I get cards from them.

A few years ago, my family decided that we would only buy Christmas presents for those members of the family under 21. We have a big family and it was beginning to get far too expensive buying for everyone.

This year I heard about a tradition started in the US which I really think is an excellent idea. I think it is especially for parents and grandparents. It is the four-present rule, and this is how it works:

You buy for each child:

Something you want and something you need

Something to wear and something to read.

I think this is a wonderful idea and will perhaps save a lot of money. I have known people get into debt trying to buy far too many presents for their children and grandchildren. A friend spends over £300.00 on each of her children at Christmas!

 So, let’s all have a wonderful time but not over stretch ourselves financially.

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The British School of Meditation has been established to train teachers in meditation techniques to meet the growing demand for highly trained and accredited meditation teachers throughout the UK including: the Midlands, South West, Wales, North West, North East, London and the South East.