Articles and Musings
Algarve Plus Magazine - November 2021
THINK ABOUT IT
MEDITATION IS GOOD FOR THE CAREER-DRIVEN, AND FOR PART-TIMERS. ITS GOOD FOR STAY-AT-HOME PARENTS AND THE WILDLY SOCIABLE. FOR GROWN-UPS, FOR KIDS. IT DOESN'T MATTER WHO YOU ARE OR WHAT YOU'RE INTO, ANYONE CAN BENEFIT FROM MEDITATION SAYS, ANNIE MOORE
You don’t have to be a yogi or a monk or a deeply spiritual person to see the amazing benefits that can be gained through meditation.
Some people say it’s too hard or takes years to master. Not true… anyone can meditate if they want to.
Meditation can be described as, being in the present moment or in the here and now or moment-to-moment living they are all similar. The phrases may differ, but what happens inside is the same.
Any form of spiritual practice we do is to help us learn the great lesson of letting go. True meditation is not an action; it is an intense longing of the heart to be one with the Self. In that process, the deeper we go, the less ego we have and the lighter and calmer we feel.
Research has shown that just ten minutes practice a day can change how the brain functions - concentration and memory improve, anxiety reduces, and the mood is lifted. People have reported that their quality of life has improved when they meditate regularly.
Best for you
People often ask me what are, the best ways to meditate. I believe the finest form of any meditation is the one that resonates with you. Whether it be mantra, insight, mindfulness, or focused techniques, they all ultimately have the same goal — balance, clarity, and peace of mind.
Here’s my selection of the most popular types of meditation practices I usually recommend to my clients, associated with their needs.
Originates from Buddhist teachings. You pay attention to your thoughts as they pass through your mind. You don’t judge or dwell on them. You simply observe and let them drift in and drift away. The objective is to focus on your breath while you observe any bodily sensations, thoughts, or feelings. This type of meditation is perfect for developing concentration and awareness.
Involves concentration using any of your five senses. You can focus on something internal, like your breath, or you can bring in external influences to help focus your attention. Such as counting mala beads, listening to a gong, or staring at a candle. If your mind does wander, it’s important to come back to the practice and refocus.
This practice is again great for concentration and calming the nervous system.
Uses a repetitive sound to clear the mind. It can be a word or phrase, such as the Sanskrit word “Om.” Or a phrase “Peace begins with me”. It doesn’t matter if your mantra is spoken loudly, quietly, or silently in your head. After chanting the mantra for some time, you’ll be more alert and in tune with your environment. This allows you to experience deeper levels of awareness. Some people enjoy this practice because they find it easier to focus on a word than on their breath. This is a good practice for people who don’t like silence and enjoy repetition.
Has a main objective to transcend thought itself, in order to, experience a state of "pure awareness," in which one is aware but without an object of thought. The meditation is customised for the client, using a mantra or series of words that are specific to each person. This practice is for those who like structure in their meditation.
Body Scan Meditation
Aims at reducing tension in the body and promoting relaxation. The practice involves slowly tightening and relaxing one muscle group at a time throughout the body. In some cases, you may also be encouraged to imagine a gentle wave flowing through your body to help release any tension. This type of meditation is often used to relieve stress and anxiety.
Loving Kindness Meditation
Is used to strengthen feelings of compassion, kindness, and acceptance toward oneself and others. It typically involves opening the mind to receive love from others and then sending a series of well wishes to loved ones, friends, acquaintances, and all living beings. This is an ideal practice for those who are holding feelings of anger or resentment.
Is a practice where you are either guided by a teacher or you listen to a meditation or visualisation. This is perfect for beginners who need guidance to help them switch off their chattering mind. Some of us find it extremely challenging to sit in silence and totally let go of our thoughts. Guided meditations quiet the mind and train the brain to settle, relax and let go.
The benefits of meditation can be life changing. When you settle into a regular practice, every day, you'll notice you have more energy, better sleep, control stress more effectively, your wellbeing will improve, and you’ll find it easier to get on with your life.
Annie Moore is registered with BSY, Yoga Alliance, Centre Of Excellence in Mindfulness and Tibetan Buddhist Meditation.
She teaches courses and classes online in the UK and from her home in the Portugal.