Mindfulness is everywhere these days. With the number of books and apps and courses available you would think we had become a nation of bodhisattvas overnight. The positive effects of mindfulness are widely known and aggressively advertised, but the practice doesn’t work the same way for everyone, and it can actually make you feel worse.… Continue reading The Hidden Dangers of Mindfulness
“Mindfulness of Breathing, monks, cultivated and regularly practiced, is of great fruit and great benefit. Mindfulness of Breathing, cultivated and regularly practiced, brings to Perfection the four Foundations of Mindfulness. The four Foundations of Mindfulness, cultivated and regularly practiced, bring the seven Factors of Enlightenment to perfection; the seven Factors of Enlightenment, cultivated and regularly… Continue reading What is the real meaning of Mindfulness?
“Mindfulness is the skill of thinking you are doing something when you are doing nothing. One of the good things about mindfulness is that you get to do a lot of sitting down. Sitting down is good for the mind because so much positive energy is stored in the lap.” – The Ladybird Book of… Continue reading The Dark Face of the Mindfulness Craze
One night I was having trouble sleeping so I decided to do a guided meditation. It seemed simple enough: you meet a guide who gives you a gift and then shows you something you need to face. I thought it might distract me from the insomnia and shut my whirring mind off for a few… Continue reading An Unexpected Gift: when a guided meditation went “wrong”
There’s a new mindfulness craze sweeping the nation: colouring books for adults. It’s supposed to help you relax and be more mindful, but does it work? The idea is that keeping your hands occupied allows the mind to become still. If you struggle with normal meditation, where you have to sit and do nothing but… Continue reading Colouring Books: Art Therapy or Mindless Money-spinner?
You may find this hard to believe, but your mind is a puppy. Train it well, treat it with respect, and you’ll have a lifetime of devoted service sitting between your ears. Wet nose optional. Let me explain. Writing is hard work. It’s even harder if you have no control over the most important tool… Continue reading Mind Training with the Puppy Technique
The Four Immeasurables are four virtues that are cultivated in meditation practice. They’re also called the Brahmavihara, which means the ‘abodes of Brahma,’ and they can be found in various Buddhist texts as well as the Yoga sutras of Patanjali. The four immeasurables are unconditional and so are boundless. They consist of: Loving-kindness, or metta… Continue reading How to Meditate: The Four Immeasurables
Tonglen is a Tibetan Buddhist practice of meditation. The word means ‘giving and taking’, or sending and receiving. The practice involves taking in the suffering and pain of others, and then breathing out love, compassion and understanding. It’s a powerful practice that uses visualisation to help you develop compassion and unconditional love for all. The… Continue reading How to Meditate: Tonglen
Savasana, or Shavasana, is a powerful yoga pose that can bring healing to your body and mind. The word comes from the Sanskrit shava, which means corpse, so this is the Corpse pose. It’s usually performed at the end of a yoga session and is ideal for when you need total relaxation. When doing Savasana,… Continue reading How to Meditate: Savasana
This is a guided meditation that comes from the therapeutic practice of psychosynthesis which was started by psychoanalyst Roberto Assagioli. It involves a process of gradually stripping away the layers of false identification to reveal the true nature of the Self underneath. Normally you identify with everything except your true Self – your body, emotions,… Continue reading How to Meditate: Self Identification Meditation
The Body Scan is a guided meditation that’s easy to do and brings excellent results. It’s a good way to check in with your body to see if there are any changes you need to make to improve your health and wellbeing. It gives you a heads-up on grumbles and issues so you can make… Continue reading How to Meditate: Body Scan
Many of the meditation practices that we’ve already looked at in this series can be practised without focusing on spirituality at all. You can watch your breath, do body scans and practice mindfulness as basic techniques to calm the mind and reduce stress. But centring prayer has a direct spiritual meaning and significance, and is… Continue reading How to Meditate: Centring Prayer