By May (The Cat Pose), Aug 17 2016 05:59PM
More often than not, many start by try to clear their minds to a state of blankness in an aim to reach a bubble of what they think meditation actually is....but here's the truth; that blankness is not what meditation is. The human mind is often like a chattering and undying curious monkey, so rather than silencing the monkey, meditation is about how to work with your monkey mind. (A fabulous short video by Mingyur Rinpoche emphasises this point quite well; 'Train Your Monkey Mind') The monkey mind is part of your own being and every single object in this cyclical existence has a purpose to serve.
In the truth of impermanence there is nothing permanently good or bad, all serving a purpose in the moment that it happens. Just like every action, thought or intention having cause as well as effect. Hence your nervous worrying monkey mind needs not to be tamed, but to be loved with compassion. How do we love and nurture something? By creating the awareness to spend time with and on something, which usually develops into further awareness. It is a journey that deserves and begins with your loving compassion towards yourself, igniting what Buddhists call the Bodhicitta heart, that then realises the loving compassion for others beyond the self.
One of the simplest ways to meditate is simply to watch your breath, a foundational technique that almost all who meditate returns to whenever one gets distracted or lost in thoughts. As the often overlooked simple breath holds the key to anchoring us within the present moment. In Vajrayana Buddhism, visualisation and the breath are often used together as tools of meditation. My favourite visualisation is that of the sea and sky....so here's the how to:
1) Sitting on both sitting bones with the tailbone free and spine gently drawn up towards the sky, relax your shoulders, tuck the chin towards your throat and anchor the tip of your tongue to the roof of your closed mouth. Rest your hands on your thighs or form the Chin mudra (joining thumb and index finger at the tip). Feel free to close your eyes or have it half closed.
2) Begin to visualise yourself sitting between the sky and sea as you breathe normally to open up to this moment.
3) Gradually seeing the sky clearing away into a cloudless expansive blue, and seeing the roaring waves of the sea slowing down to a silver mirroring surface almost as though time has come to a halt. Light emerging between the meeting point of the sky and sea shines beautifully.
4) Then focus on your breath as you inhale and exhale deeply but gently. Should thoughts emerge again, let it go and bring your awareness back to your breath.
5) When you are ready to come out of meditation, gently open your eyes, rub your palms together and allow your hands to cover or gently tap your face as well as any other parts of your body that may be holding tension.
For those wishing to join us in a divinely inspired guided meditation and Zen Yoga, please drop me an email to book your spot for the last 'Uncovering the Divine Feminine' workshop this Sunday 21st August 2016 (3pm - Greenwich Park, London). Thank you to those who attended last week and I hope it has been useful to help clear some energy, initiate self-healing or bring loving attention to what needs to be nurtured within you in the divine feminine of loving compassion.
There is still an 'Open Class' (Friday 19th August - Pilates & Rehab, Greenwich) this week and two 'Restorative Yoga' (Thursday 18th & 25th August - Your Style Fitness, Woolwich) sessions before I go away to see my Guru in Seattle on 26th August. The Zen Yoga 'Open Classes' in Greenwich will resume on Friday 16th September 2016 at 7.15pm, and I am also looking into starting a new Greenwich class on Tuesdays or Wednesdays (8pm) in October or November 2016 (email for more details). Have a peaceful mid-week friends!
Be well in gentleness,