If, like me, when people tell you they meditate every day, you slightly jealously roll your eyes skywards and secretly wish you could be them, all calm and serene, finding the answers to the universe whilst sat in some enviably contorted position….. this blog post may be for you!
As it turns out, in the way you exercise your body, meditation is just a way to exercise your mind and generally all it asks of you is a bit of relaxation, some focus and an awareness of what is going on. It is really about cultivating a better understanding of your inner world and nurturing a more healthy perspective. Like any ‘skill’ it takes practice and you shouldn’t worry if you find it really unnatural or difficult at first, with our chatty brains often fighting back, as it is all about the journey rather than there being any sort of end goal in mind.
The well-known neuroscientist, Dr. Joe Dispenza, explains. “Meditating is a means for you to move beyond your analytical mind so that you can access your subconscious mind. That’s crucial, since the subconscious is where all your bad habits and behaviours that you want to change, reside. There is no such thing as a bad meditation, there is only overcoming yourself!”
Meditation covers many different techniques, not just one, so it can take some time until you find the one that works best for you. In general, the easiest way to begin meditating is by focusing on your breath.
If you are wishing to start benefitting from a meditation practice, another important thing is to begin creating a regular habit, even if initially all that means is finding a moment to try and breathe more deeply. As humans we thrive on predictability and repetition and when we start doing something regularly, over time the action becomes so ingrained we don’t even think about it anymore- this is how we create a habit. When we actively choose to cultivate a certain habit, then it becomes a ritual.
Aristotle said, “We are what we repeatedly do.” We need rituals because they are our positive, chosen habits and help keep us connected to what we actually care about. Rituals keep us focused and in line with our chosen purpose, our inner values.
So with this in mind, let us look at sacred space.
For many people when they begin to develop a spiritual practice, creating the right environment makes it more conducive. This might involve candles, crystals and incense or a favourite item imbued with meaning for you. The important thing is that you feel safe and calm there so you find it easier to settle yourself. In our experience, brewing and drinking a cup of your favourite tea offers a great touchstone for dropping into this more relaxed state.
Sacred space is about relocating your centre, entering the liminal space where you can tap into a regenerative power, a power of connection, where you can heal and grow. It is a symbolic space where we can think, reflect, receive insight, change our path, it keeps us in balance.
There is a tangible move towards the more ancient principles that in our modern world feel lost or inaccessible. As a consequence of our cultural bias towards logic and reason, we have lost the connection to ‘Sacred’ space, people are struggling to locate their centre, hence why meditative and mindful practices are having such a revival.
In a recent Youtube video I watched called ‘Venturing into sacred space’, there was a real recognition that “people need to take these journeys in order to be able to live in a human and peaceful world” and we need to “find people of understanding who know how to reconnect us to the fabric of the universe. Only then can we act from a place of unity, a place of purpose and of grace. Only then can we channel our energy for the benefit of mankind and the grand process of creation”
Such aspirations for our culture may currently seem out of reach, but as Lao Tzu famously said "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step". Maybe that step will be taken today by you, taking 5 deep breaths while you wait for the kettle to boil, and let’s see where that leads :)