Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Imagine SEVERAL "slow downs" throughout the day

Whether you are aware or not, there is SO MUCH more research coming out daily about the benefits of meditation.  Some of you reading this may be thinking; "uh oh - here he goes with some hokey-pokey mumbo-jumbo again".  Don't worry, I'll save that for another post.  :)

I'll remind you all however that there are so many different forms of meditation.  I posted in the past how really anything we do mindfully is a form of meditation.  Anything where our attention is solely on that one activity at the time.  It doesn't necessarily have to be the stereotypical meditation we all think of (although it's good too!).

I've tried a few of the traditional meditations on my own, but nothing has really stuck (similar problem that we all share).  I've read some excellent books on meditation, including;  "10% Happier" by Dan Harris and "The secrets of meditation" by David Ji.  Both authors have a new book out that I'm interested in reading as well.  These books, among research papers, blogs and articles always keep my interest in check but I don't always do it.  

Just before the end of 2017, while listening to the 10% Happier podcast, Dan Harris was discussing easing into the practice, and how as little as 1-minute a day can produce benefits, and of course help us ween our way towards a healthy, regular meditation practice.   I have taken this advice, and started on the journey to making meditation a regular practice throughout my days, but have started small and simple rather than jumping into 10 or 20min right away like I used to.  It felt nice, and I didn't mind it, but it usually only lasted a week or so.  

I created a simple log sheet, which I plan to make available to people soon to track my practice.  I went back to using my favourite meditation timer app on my phone that is really customizable to suit your practice.  It's appropriately called, "Meditation Timer and Log" and can be found in the Google Play Store (not sure if it's available in the Apple Store).  This app allows you to set a chime sound of your choosing to start and/or end your session, you can have it chime at various intervals if you want and of course you can customize your sessions length etc.... It also shares quotes and affirmations.  Very simple and very cool.  

I've had interest in trying a "candle meditation" but have never actually done it.  Rather than lighting an actual candle (it was early in the morning so I didn't want to wake my wife to tell me where I can find one ... hehe), I went to YouTube and found a candle meditation video and casted it with my chromecast to my TV.                            
 I set my meditation timer for 2-min.
 I sat in a kneeling rest posture, hands relaxed on my thighs. 
For 2-min until I heard my subtle chime ring, I simply breathed and focused my attention on the flame.  

There is nothing difficult about it.  Anyone can do it.  It felt great and it really didn't take much "willpower" to make it happen.  And here's the really awesome part;   I felt really good that day.  Relaxed and clear minded.  FROM JUST 2-min!!! There is no excuse that we can't all do this as a regular practice, even if it just stays at that little amount of time. 

When I did it again this morning, the same effect was felt;  I felt great.  Relaxed, clear mind and ready for the day ahead.  I'm excited to be incorporating this and to have the desire to make this happen as a regular practice moving forward.  My dabbling with meditation in the past wasn't for nothing;  it grabbed my attention and from reading, studying and listening to various podcasts about meditation and mindfulness, it's brought me to this point where I want to keep things simple, progressive and consistent. :) A thought that really struck me this morning after my movement exercises and meditation, breakfast and a nice coffee, was thinking about how awesome we could feel by "slowing down" like this, several times throughout the day (in various ways).  Wow!  

It would be fun for some of my readers/followers to join in on including the mindfulness side to health.  Here's a challenge for you to follow along with (or start whenever you're ready .... NOW is a great time by the way):

  1. Begin a regular meditation practice (of any kind) following this target list I'm shooting for over the next 4-weeks:
                               Week 1 -        3-days per week
                               Week 2 -        4-days per week
                               Week 3 & 4 - 5-days per week

      2.  Meditation session duration as follows; 
                               Week 1 -       1-2 minutes

                               Week 2 -       1-3 minutes
                               Week 3 & 4 - 2-4 minutes
      3.  Join the Mindful Energy Facebook group over at the Living Energy Facebook page.  We can  share our practice experiences together and I plan to post information, blog posts etc, along with      my practice experience.   :) 

I made the goal with my wife that 2018 was a year of taking better care of ourselves.  Our lives are very busy with our family, 3 businesses, sports, music and friends/family visits (whenever we get the chance). Although we help make others feel good and lead healthier lives through our work, we have not been taking good care of ourselves. With that, taking care of the mind and body, and slowing down needs to become a constant, rather than an "every so often".  

***WARNING to those who take part in this; Meditation/Mindfulness has the following "side effects"
 (to name a few); 

*Greater sense of overall health and wellbeing
*Improved sleep
*Improved blood pressure
*Improved recovery
*Increased focus and mental clarity
*Aids in managing stress
*Lowers resting heart rate
*Improves breathing patterns
*Boosts immune system

And the list goes on and on.... :)