Ever wondered why Tibetan monks are so content and happy? One of the reasons is that they spend an awful lot of time in quiet contemplation aka meditation.
We over here in the west, in cyber chaos central could learn a thing or two from these guys. But where do you find the time?
Between getting groggily out of bed, checking social media to see if we have missed anything crucial, racing to work/school. Battling with the commute. Dealing with the thousands of external interactions and internal chatter throughout the day, to back home and more face feck, instaspam and other social mind blasts before crawling back to bed for another onslaught of insomnia. ‘
Maybe not everyones day, but I can relate to more days than I like feeling like this!
Mental health issues are soaring in the west and virtually none of us are immune (aside from aforementioned Tibetan monks). Depression, anxiety, phobias, ocd, attention deficit, anger management, addictions only scratch the surface of issues. Children are being diagnosed from the time their cute chubby fingers can swipe a screen, and the future outlook is bleak. However, when cracks start to appear these are sometimes the best places for light to enter and change to begin afresh. Mediation is one of these lights.
Meditation, an effective therapy for literally everything you can imagine. Whether you want to lose weight, look better, become financially free, have more friends, cure ailments, have more energy, learn a new instrument, language or skill and become mentally resilient to the onslaught of demands on yourself.
Meditation is quite literally mental mind magic
Whats even better, its free and does not need any equipment. Needs minimal teaching and you can do it anywhere. And, you maybe surprised to find out you actually are already quiet accomplished at this skill but you just aren’t aware. Its what we do just before we go to sleep and wake up.
How do you start creating a positive daily habit without is seeming like a chore?
Well it is unfortunate, but a lot of our best intentions (especially at this time of year) don’t make it past the end of February and some, not even a week into January. Largely in part because our mind is a character of routine and habit and finds it hard to change and learn new ones. Habits are formed, many during your early years making learning new habits and losing bad habits a challenge to our already set mind. But reinventing your mindset is not impossible. There are cheats, tricks and tools we can use to make it easier, enjoyable and give ourselves the upper hand over our unconscious mind.
Here’s how to fool your own mind into not only enjoying your daily meditation, but looking forward to it:
By linking habits to small actions you can achieve great results
Step 1: Get A Cue
(Ssshh dont let your subconscious read this next bit)
A cue is the prompt that your subconscious will recognise and commence a habit and as we are aiming to meditate, we need a relaxing one. Something small, convenient and portable. Like a candle.
Step 2: Create A Routine Around The Cue
For this step you don’t need to think about meditation but every time you are in a place of relaxation, be it the bath, lying on the sofa, listening to music. Wherever you feel most calm and relaxed. Light your candle and briefly acknowledge a link between lighting your candle and your place of safety and relaxation. Look at the candle and relax, let the tension flow away and think about your muscles relaxing from your toes up to your face and continue with the activity you are doing.
If the environment ceases to be relaxing, the kids start screeching, the phone needs answering, the cats vomit on your foot or the dog runs mud through the house. Simply blow out the candle and wait until calmness is resumed and begin again.
Do this often, if possible every time you relax.
After a while begin to think of something nice as you light your candle.
It can be anything that makes you feel good. Maybe someone who makes you smile or something you love. Even if it is the smallest thing like ‘I love peanut butter’. Imagine yourself enjoying a big spoonful or hugging that person and use all your senses to imagine and bring to life in your minds eye your positive thought just after you have lit your candle.
Over the following days your mind will begin to associate your candle with relaxation and good feelings. It will relax and associate safety automatically each time you light your candle, it will anticipate your positive thoughts and release feel good hormones to the reward centre of your brain. This is a state of mind for meditating positive change.
Step 3: Still Your Mind And Discover Inner-Peace
This time, light your candle, take a few moments noticing your body relax, thoughts will come, acknowledge them and tell yourself you will think about them more in a few moments but for now they are to sit quietly and wait for you. Watching the candle flame flicker, hear the noises around you and notice how they don’t bother you. Notice that for this moment, your mind is peaceful and quiet.
Allow your thoughts to become like driftwood ebbing and bobbing but of no consequence to you, there is no requirement for you to do anything.
Close your eyes and be still. Just be.
For one moment and one moment more.
And then, after a couple of moments. When you are filled with calm peacefulness . Open your eyes and focus on the flame. Remember to quietly thank the flame for lighting your path to mental stillness and inner peace and then blow it out.
Do this as often as you can and soon your subconscious mind will link the act of lighting a candle to the act of meditation. It will become an automatic and unconscious response, aka a habit. And, in times when you need to destress fast. It will be as simple as lighting a candle and letting the habit do the rest.
Step 4: Get The Tools And Put Into Practice Steps 1–3
Like the idea of candle meditation?
Writing as the founder of a candle brand and a clinical hypnotherapist obviously I am biased when thinking Barenaturals candles are the best to meditate with. Why? Because these candles are engineered to plant ten trees when you purchase one. And, as trees are the ultimate grand masters of meditation, knowing all about balance, harmony and stillness as they do, a link between the positive impact of ten trees and your candle can only ever bring inner peace to your wellbeing and the world.
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