The Power of NOW

I was reminded this morning of a book by Eckhart Tolle called The Power of Now. I had read it a while ago but I hadn’t really thought about it since..

I was sat in my meditation, observing everything that I was feeling. I felt very conflicted. For a while now it has been weighing on my mind whether or not to drop out of uni. I have spent all my energy worrying about this and I really don’t feel present when I am thinking about it.

It came up for me again this morning when I was in meditation. I decided not to think about it, I would merely observe how my body was feeling. This was interesting to do but I realised I felt really awful. My heart (usually the indicator of what is the best thing to do) felt really bad. I don’t know how to describe it but when I know something is the right thing I get this amazing feeling in my heart. Today my heart just hurts.

The rest of my body was feeling ‘off’ as well, and all the emotions that were coming up for me were negative. None of them were very strong, but it was like this dull ache in the background that has been with me for a few weeks. I know that I don’t want to go around my life feeling like this and I am actively trying to be a cause in my life and sort out my situation!

Anyways, this book- The Power of Now– popped into my head. In it Tolle says that the only thing that matters is the Now. The past is an illusion, the future is an illusion. The only thing that is guaranteed is what is happening RIGHT THIS SECOND. IT is in that space that you will find peace and happiness, otherwise you will find yourself constantly conflicted throughout your life.

I thought about this and realised that all my other worries and troubles; the conflict I had been feeling; and the weight on my chest, it all dropped away the moment I really arrived in the present moment.

I knew that nothing else mattered apart from what was going on RIGHT NOW.

And what was actually happening in that moment? It was the sounds of traffic from outside; the feeling of my sitting bones and legs on the floor; my breath moving throughout my body. That was all.

I felt so relieved when I entered the Now. All this unnecessary stress I have been putting on myself dropped away. I have a choice how I feel and I chose not to burden myself with the things that were making me unhappy and weren’t even happening!

Our minds are amazing things but they can also be our downfall. We often don’t realise when they are spinning these elaborate illusions for us and we believe everything they tell us. If they project something about the future- like my mind was doing- then we start to attach our feelings to this ‘projection’ even though it is so not true!

We cannot know the future, and the past has already happened . That is why we must stay in the present moment,

The moment we realise this we will all be free.

Beauty arises in the stillness of your presence 

Namaste

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Friday Meditation

My meditation has been constantly evolving and I find it changes with the seasons to create the space that I need on that day.

Today I sat there and repeated this one mantra to myself:

It is possible. 

This meditation has changed my perspective over the past week I have been doing it and I really feel like anything is possible now. The more you say it the more you start to believe it and it really does come true.

The meditation: 

Find a quiet place to sit. Focus on your breathing for a few minutes to ground you to the present moment. Enjoy just sitting there, invite in the yin to counteract the yang of daily life.

When you feel present start to repeat the mantra to yourself it is possible. Do this for as long as it takes for it to sink in. Maybe it is only 5 minutes or maybe you end up staying for 30. That is ok, practice for as long as you wish.

As you are thinking this mantra start to be aware of any feelings that arise in your body. Notice them and set them free.

When you have finished bow your head in gratitude and say:

Namaste

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What My Meditation Practice Looks Like

I have been meditating now for the past 6 months, however that practice hasn’t stayed the same. It has been evolving and growing with me. It is a fluid thing with no boundaries or expectations, it is natural and authentic.

Recently I have been doing the same meditation every morning. This is 15 minutes of complete focus on my breath. I find this very difficult actually, to keep my attention on my breath takes a lot of effort. A lot more than just sitting there observing my thoughts or moving my awareness through my body.

I used to meditate for half an hour each morning but I found that my mind would get distracted quite easily. I would put my attention on my breath, then get bored so move my attention somewhere else. I would repeat mantras to myself but this was also distracting. I changed my practice to be shorter but better quality. This hasn’t been easy but I think it is good to practice.

It is crazy that our attention spans are so short, apparently 7 seconds for an adult?! Meditation interrupts that habit of constantly shifting our attention. It can be very powerful putting all our attention on exactly one thing. When we invest everything into something we can have amazing results.

I can’t really say the benefits of my meditation practice yet, because I don’t think I have been doing it long enough to alter my brain. But I do find that on a subjective level, the stillness in the morning really sets me up for my day. I have space to breath and slowly awaken. I don’t feel rushed and thus feel less stress throughout my day. Meditation is definitely a very safe space for me which I come back to often to feel grounded.

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I also include my other activities as meditation: running, walking, being in nature and yoga are some of the things that I do that definitely have the same effect. They all make me feel present and bring me closer to my authentic self.

 

If you are interested in starting a meditation practice you can read my blog post on how to start meditating.

Stillness can be scary at first but it is the only place we will find ourselves. There is beauty in stillness and when we learn to see it we can appreciate it so much more.

Namaste

Dear Universe

This morning whilst I was meditating I said this prayer, and I thought I would share it with you all.

Dear Universe,

I offer a prayer to you this cold Monday morning.

I pray that everyone out there who is suffering find light. I pray for everyone suffering and everyone that has ever suffered. I pray for the whole of humanity.

I pray that everyone find the light in their lives. That they find something worth living for: happiness, peace, love.. Whatever it may be. I pray they find it and it gives them purpose in life.

I pray also that we all experience kindness today. I pray that we all move from a place of kindness within us: whether we are brushing our teeth; eating breakfast; helping someone we love. If we could all move from a place of kindness then the world would be such a beautiful place. The space within us where kindness arises, our heart chakra, is full of powerful energy and infinite possibilities. I pray that we can access this space and so enter that child-like flow. The natural state we were in the womb, but society conditioned us to forget and ignore.

I pray we remember. I pray we have awareness.

I pray for a world full of people awakened from their dreams.

Namaste

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*heart chakra painting available on Etsy

Meditating In The Clouds

You are awakening out of the dream of time into the present

-Eckhart Tolle

Yesterday when we were on the plane travelling to Aruba I used the clouds for my meditation. This felt like I was awakening out of a dream. Often looking at the clouds can feel as though you are in a dream, but this time I knew the dream was reality. It was the only thing real in my life. All the past and future isn’t real. Only the Now.

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I looked at them and was immediately at peace.

I saw their textures and new dimensions that you don’t notice from below. I marvelled at the shapes and saw all kinds of weird and wonderful animals and scenes depicted by the clouds.

Their beauty astonished me. Clouds are so untouched by man. When you see them on their level you start to truly understand how perfect they are. Their world seems totally separate to ours, even though there is nothing that separates us.

Mediating on the clouds was something that I had never done before and it brought calmness into my life. I knew that everything would work out and that I am where I need to be. This is an amazing feeling. To trust so strongly that any doubts and anxieties evaporate. It is how we should live all of the time.

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I wanted to write this as an example of how you can meditate anywhere and everywhere at any time. Flying can be difficult and stressful. But when you bring your tools from meditation it brings calm into the process and you are able to appreciate the beauty. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes or an hour, just look and listen and breath and be in the present. Think of what you are grateful for and how AMAZING it is to be able to see clouds from above. Usually that experience is only for birds, yet here we are as mere humans able to join them. It gives us new perspective that hopefully we can bring into our lives when the plane lands and we again step back onto earth.

When you see beauty from a different angle you are able to see it deeper and maybe see something that you have missed before.

See the beauty in everything today, because there is. There is lots of it.

Namaste

Using Mindfulness to Choose Happiness

I say this all the time, mindfulness is such an amazing tool to have in your life. It allows you to deal with any situation in a thoughtful manner and not get stressed out by whatever life throws at you. I am always trying to be more mindful in EVERYTHING I do. It is a continual practice which we could all get better at, and the great thing is that it can be applied to every moment in life.

Today I want to talk about using your mindfulness to cultivate happiness in your life. In particular to choose happiness. Choosing happiness is so simple. Every breath we take we have the choice to choose happiness, but often we forget or don’t have time before the moment has passed. This is where mindfulness comes in..

Practicing mindfulness helps us increase the gap between an event and our reaction to the event. Whatever it may be, good or bad, we are always reacting to things. Usually unhappiness and suffering comes from our reaction and not actually the event itself.

By increasing the time for our reaction to occur it gives us a chance to choose what our reaction will be. This is so so important to remember. WE ALWAYS HAVE A CHOICE. Think about it for a bit. How do you want to react to any situation in life? I want to react in a positive, understanding and kind way to whatever happens. Whether that is someone shouting at me or giving me a compliment. I always wish to react in the best way.

When we are able to choose our reaction we are also choosing happiness. When we control our reaction we react in the best possible way, that means we are happy with how things went and it usually means everyone else around us is happy to, because we reacted in a way which was considerate of them also.

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Practicing mindfulness is easy. All you have to do is remind yourself to bring your awareness back to the present moment and start paying attention. If you forget then setting a reminder on your phone is a good way to remember, or leave notes around the house, whatever works for you! Focus on your breath to anchor yourself to the present and then open your eyes and try to really notice things. The more you do this the more you will be in the habit of being mindful all the time. 

As well as helping us to live in the present and react to situations better, mindfulness also helps us change the story we tell ourselves. We begin to see things more clearly and for what they really are. Often we get upset about things which haven’t even happened but we stress about them and can’t stop thinking about all the negative things which surround this one thing. Mindfulness reminds us that what is going on in our brain is not real. It is just a story we tell ourselves.Recognising this story is false and then changing it to a more positive story is choosing happiness. We make ourselves happy by seeing the world around us in a good light. This change comes from within.

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Finally, mindfulness teaches us some valuable skills in life, which help make us happy. We learn gratitude, acceptance and have an understanding of ourselves, others and the world around us. We feel more deeply connected to the people in our lives and can start giving to make them happy. By increasing their happiness it makes us happier. We learn that true happiness does not come from objects or money, but the people around us. We cherish these people and our relationships with them. We hold them sacred and start to live in the present moment so we can give people our time and attention. Eventually we really start living our lives and every day we choose happiness. We choose happiness for ourselves, for others and for the planet.

It is a choice. And mindfulness is the beginning.

Namaste

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Ways to Meditate

So when someone says ‘meditate’ it makes you think of a monk sitting in lotus position and emptying their mind of all thoughts and probably sitting there for several hours. You think I can’t possibly ever do that and just give up hope of ever meditating yourself. But let me let you into a secret.. You don’t actually have to ‘meditate’ to meditate.

Meditation can be done at any time, any where, when you are doing ANYTHING! So you don’t have to be sitting down. If you find it hard to sit still for half an hour then that is ok, you could go for a 30 minute walk and meditate then. Running, walking, yoga and many other activities are all forms of ‘moving meditation’. They are just as good for the brain as sitting meditation and have all the positive effects!

You meditate when you are completely in the present moment. This can be done whilst doing any activity. To try meditating in an activity, firstly focus on your breath and what you are doing. This will bring you to the present moment. Notice your thoughts but don’t hold on to them, let them drift away and keep your focus on the present. Try to find ‘flow’ where you are doing something and so absorbed that you forget about time and everything else. This happens to me when I run or practice yoga and it is amazing. It is pure joy and if you can find something that makes you experience that then you should do it everyday!

Other ways to meditate not involving meditation are doing art work or listening to music. It is very easy to forget about time and just immerse yourself completely in the music or the art. This is brilliant and it IS meditation. You are probably meditating daily without even realising it.

So this Sunday try doing something you LOVE and look for the meditation within it. You will probably be very surprised that you have been meditating all along! See it isn’t as hard as you think.

Namaste IMG_6313

Using Meditation To Manifest Your Dreams

I completely believe in manifestation. If you believe and use it correctly it can be a very powerful tool. So far it has worked in my life without me even realising what I was doing. Now that I have became a lot more interested in it and done research, I have begun to incorporate it into my daily meditation. I will share with you my techniques for doing this and what I have learnt.

I just want to stress the point that before you start to manifest anything in your life you should be completely grateful for everything that you have at the present. We will not be able to give out the right energy needed in order to manifest if we are not grateful and content with out present situation. Try writing a list everyday of what you are grateful for and in every situation start to LOOK for gratitude. Soon it will come naturally and then you are ready to manifest abundance into your life.

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I started by every evening having ‘manifestation time’. This is around half an hour every evening where I just sat down and wrote everything I wanted to manifest in my life. A great question to ask is: ‘If money wasn’t an issue what would you do with your time?’ I also spent time picturing the perfect day and then writing down everything I wanted to manifest from there.

It is important in this time that you are listening to your heart. This may sound silly but trust me. When you are listening to your heart you are listening to your INTUITION and AUTHENTIC SELF. This means that you know the ideas you are having or choices you’re making are coming from the real you and not external influences. It is very easy to see things around us and be influenced by them. For example you may see a friend who has just been on holiday to New York and you think you want that. So you may try to manifest a holiday to New York but if you really think about it you know that deep down you hate cities and definitely don’t want to go to New York. It is just that your EGO saw what she had and wanted it.

This is common for all of us and it shouldn’t be judged. It is just good to be AWARE of this happening. If we realise that we are being influenced by external factors then that is great. We can sit down and really think about what we want. If we decide that we still want that even though it was influenced by someone or something else then that is ok. The main thing is that we are making the decisions and we are AWARE that we are making these decisions.

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After practicing your ‘manifestation time’ journaling for a few weeks it is time to turn this into meditation. Before you do this try and write a list of all your dreams and desires you want to manifest. Once you have this list you may begin.

Look at your list of dreams before you go into meditation. Then close your eyes whilst sitting comfortably and calm your mind. Focus on your breath for a few minutes and let all thoughts drift away.

When you are in this still space in your meditation practice it is time to release all the desires and dreams you wish to manifest. Release them one by one into the universe. Maybe say them out loud or just think of each dream individually.

Now it is time to let go. Let go of those dreams and trust them to the universe. Focus on your trust in the universe and say it out loud with certainty.

I trust in you. 

I trust in you. 

The universe will hear you and respond in time, presenting you withe the opportunities to achieve your dreams or the dream itself.

Spend the rest of your meditation feeling grateful for everything you have and try to radiate that energy out into the world.

Finish with a silent pray and say thank you. Finally with Namaste.

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Practice this manifestation meditation every night. Releasing your dreams one by one and cultivating your sense of trust in the universe.

Patiently do this and you will manifest your dreams.

Keep your eyes open to the opportunities presented to you and gratefully take each one.

Remember gratitude is key.

And you are deserving.

Namaste

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If you need more help achieving your dreams then this is an amazing book! The seven spiritual laws of success.  It is one of my favourite books ever and has helped me so much on this journey. Would definitely recommend.

SIMPLE SUNDAY MEDITATION EXERCISE

Meditation is great. There are so many benefits to having a daily practice and a lot of research has gone into the positive effects.

To briefly outline what effect meditation can have if you practice everyday, even just for 5 minutes before your day or 5 minutes before you go to sleep in the evening (this is just naming a FEW):

  • reduce perceived stress
  • improve sleep quality
  • improve multitasking
  • improve memory
  • improve concentration
  • reduce risk of depression and anxiety

If you want to find out more I have linked some great resources below which have a lot of information and also the evidence if you still need convincing.

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So how can you fit meditation into your life? I used to think I didn’t have time to meditate everyday or didn’t have the patience to sit still. But this is so not true! If we can ignore these mental barriers we set ourselves we can actually do anything and realise that it is not difficult at all.

EASY MEDITATION PRACTICE: 

  1. Find a comfortable seat, make sure your spine is elongated and straight. Try to be somewhere quiet with little distractions. (This will make your life a lot easier).
  2. Once comfortable set a timer for 5 minutes and then close your eyes. Start to focus your attention inward and on your breath. Calm your mind.
  3. Notice everything about your breath. How does it feel? How long is each breath? Notice the pause between inhalation and exhalation. Listen to the sound. Be completely mindful and aware of your breath, don’t try to change it, just notice.
  4. If any thoughts come into your mind that is ok. Notice them and let them go. If you feel yourself being distracted that is ok. Gently bring your awareness back to your breath. Do this every time you feel yourself drifting. Do not judge yourself for having thoughts, simply let them go and focus on your breath.
  5. Start to visualise your breath. On your inhale picture your breath starting at the base of your spine and slowly drawing up until it reaches your chest. Picture your breath as full of light and energy. Giving vital life energy (oxygen) to your body.
  6. On you exhale imagine your breath continuing up your spine. It moves from your chest up your back to your head. See your breath leaving your body by the crown of your head. Watch your breath dissipate into the world, releasing anything that needs to be released from you.
  7. Feel your spine grow in length and elongate as your breath travels up it. Feel empowered by having this vital energy move through you, helping you grow physically and spiritually.
  8. Finish by picturing your breath in your heart. See light there. Think about all the things you are grateful for and feel that gratitude in your heart. Release it into the universe on your exhale.
  9. When your timer goes off bow your head and say thank you and namaste. Put your hands at your heart in a prayer position and silently thank the universe for everything.
  10. Continue into your day with a sense of lightness, gratitude and grace.

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I hope this was helpful for everyone out there! Try it and see the effect it can have on your day and your life.

Please let me know your experiences I would love to hear back.

May the light in me honour the light in you.

Namaste

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Resources:

  • Headspace app is a great app for practicing mindfulness. It has videos and guided meditations and encourages you to use it everyday.
  • Bemindful.co.uk has information about mindfulness and also provides the evidence and research into mindfulness.
  • Mindapples.org has a great article on the history of mindfulness and how we came from Buddhist meditation to using mindfulness in medicine.

Creative Visualisation

Creative visualisation is a very powerful tool. It is a technique in which you use your imagination to picture scenarios in your minds eye with the intent of manifesting them in your life. Creative visualisation can be used to achieve your goals, to make your dreams come true and to have all your desires in life.

However for creative visualisation to work you must be patient and detach yourself from your desired outcomes. This is done by creating a strong sense of trust in the universe and having the trust to step back and let things unfold in their natural way. If you would like to know more about this I recommend reading ‘The Seven Spiritual Laws Of Success‘. Deepak Chopra, the author, explains it very well and talks about all the other components needed in order to succeed.

When we spend time using creative visualisation, impulses are fired in our brain. This creates new pathways between neurones and results in changing our behaviour and habits. If we use creative visualisation in the right way then it can result in new positive habits which help manifest our dreams.

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Creative visualisation can be used on both a small and big level. In our everyday lives creative visualisation is used a lot and we may not even realise it. It is commonly used by sports professionals to imagine their perfect goal or race. This helps them perform well and succeed.

I use creative visualisation in yoga. Jumping from downward facing dog into crow can often be difficult and scary. When you picture exactly where you want your legs to land and how it will feel makes the movement a lot easier. For me it feels like my body knows what I want it to do when I have imagined it so the transition happens smoothly.

To incorporate creative visualisation into your everyday life on a small scale I recommend spending time in meditation every morning. Use this time to picture EXACTLY how you would like your day to go. What would the perfect day look like? Smell like? Taste like? What emotions would you feel and how would your interactions with other people go? When you have finished meditating you will bring these emotions and feelings into your day and you will have the day you pictured.

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Creative visualisation can be used to achieve big things in life such as your dreams. Used regularly it can play an important role in helping you achieve what you want in life. Write a list of all your dreams and desires. Keep that list with you wherever you go and look at it before your meditation twice a day. When you are meditating imagine the process of achieving those dreams and also the outcome. Try to imagine it in the present tense and first person, this will make it seem more real.

The universe works by turning the un-manifest into manifest. The movement of energy is what makes this happen. By using creative visualisation you can use your thoughts to guide the energy in the universe to manifest your dreams.

Key Points:

  • Quiet your mind before creative visualisation by meditating
  • When deep in meditation start to visualise what you want
  • Do this regularly, I would say twice a day
  • Remember to use all your senses when you are imagining something and use your active imagination
  • Be in the first person and present when you are visualising

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Lastly I just want to say remember to be patient and trust in the universe. Don’t be disheartened or give up if your dreams are not manifested straight away. Keep in mind that the universe has a divine plan for us all and it might not be exactly what we want. But everything happens for a reason so be grateful for whatever does happen.

Namaste