Eco-magic Course:
Meditation

Diary

Meditation is the art of being relaxed and alert in the same moment - It's a subtle balancing act!

In essence, mediation is quite simple:

  • Relax
  • Choose one thing to focus on and explore
  • If your mind wanders, gently bring it back to focus again
  • Let everything else go

There are many ways to mediate, but for our practice session we'll focus on the breath using what I call my 'Beach Meditation'.

Beach Meditation

Sometimes I meditate on the image of a beach. With each in breath, I see the sea coming in, and on each out breath, the sea flows back down the beach. Each wave clears the beach of any debris (i.e. my random thoughts).

In your own time:

  • Relax. Shake your body to clear any tensions. Then take a deep breath, and release it with a sigh. Let everything go.
  • Now just watch your breath. There's no need to breath especially deeply - just breath naturally though your nose. Just watch each breath as it flows into your body, and flows out. Feel the air as it enters your nose. Notice your chest rise gently as you inhale, and falls slowly as you breath out.
  • Imagine you are sitting on a beautiful soft beach in front of the sea. There are gentle waves rolling up the beach.With each in breath, the sea rolls up the beach, and as you breath out, the waves return to the sea.
  • Any passing thoughts you have are like flotsam on the beach. As the waves come in, your thoughts are embraced by the waves, and as the wave return to the sea, they are carried away.
  • If your mind wanders, gently bring it back to focus again.
  • Let everything else go.

When you're ready, slowly and gently return to everyday consciousness. Wiggle you toes and your fingers. Open you eyes. Look around. Try to stay with your calm relaxed state.

Simple alternative meditations

If it helps you focus, count each breath. Count from one to five with each breath. When you reach five, start again. If you loose count, don't worry. Just start again. The important thing is not to engage with losing focus - It happens. Let it happen, and move on.

Mediating Everyday

Try and spend some time mediating everyday. Many books will tell you that you must do 15 to 20 minutes meditation everyday. I found that very off-putting when I started, so I suggest you just do what you can. Aim for 5 minutes meditation everyday. Don't get judgmental if you miss a day - It happens. Let it happen, and move on.

As time goes by, you'll find that mediating becomes a habit you enjoy and gradually you'll find yourself doing more each day.

Alpha and Beta Brain Waves

The brain’s neurochemical activity generates electrical charges. These charges are classified into alpha (8 - 12 Hz), theta, beta and delta brain waves. Alpha waves are produced during alert relaxation, while theta waves are associated with deep meditative states. Beta waves are produced when you're concentrating on a task or problem solving. Delta waves are present during sleep.

During everyday activity our brains are mainly producing beta waves (12 - 40Hz). Beta waves are associated with arousal, problem solving, attention and concentration, and other intellectual processes. When we're thinking, talking, or planning we are mainly in the beta state.

Alpha waves are associated with calmness and relaxation. People in alpha states are awake but relaxed, and it's sometimes described as 'the gateway to meditation'. Closing your eyes helps produce alpha states.

While in the alpha state, we tend to be more present in the moment, less-judgmental, and more focused on the senses.


Handout Notes:

What is meditation?

There are many types of meditation, but one definition that fits almost all types is..."Consciously directing your attention to alter your state of consciousness."

There's no limit to the things you can direct your attention toward... symbols, sounds, colors, breath, uplifting thoughts, spiritual realms, etc. Meditation is simply about attention... where you direct it, and how it alters your consciousness.

What is the purpose of meditation?

Traditionally meditation was (and still is) used for spiritual growth...i.e. becoming more conscious; unfolding our inner Light, Love, & Wisdom; becoming more aware of the guiding Presence in our lives; accelerating our journey home to our True Self... our Spirit.

General Guidelines for Meditation

Try to get into a regular daily practice. If you are just beginning meditation and want to practice regularly, it's best to start meditating 10 to 15 minutes once a day. Later, you may want to increase that to 20 minutes once a day, or 10 minutes twice a day. But don't worry about that for now - just begin!

  1. Put your expectations aside, and don't worry about doing it right. There are infinite possibilities and no fixed criterion for determining right meditation. There are, however, a few things to avoid.
    • Don't try to force something to happen.
    • Don't over-analyze your meditation.
    • Don't try to make your mind 'blank' or chase thoughts away.
    • Don't worry too much about 'doing it right'.
  • You don't have to meditate on a completely empty stomach. If you're hungry, eat a little something.
  • Find a quiet, comfortable place to meditate. You can sit in a comfortable chair, on the bed, on the floor, but you don't want to be so comfortable that you fall asleep!
  • Eliminate as much noise and as many potential distractions as possible. Don't worry about those things that you can't control.
  • When you sit to meditate, sit comfortably, with your spine reasonably straight. This allows the spiritual energy to flow freely up the spine, which is an important aspect of meditation. Leaning against a chair back, a wall, headboard, etc. is perfectly all right. If, for physical reasons, you can't sit up, lay flat on your back.
  • Place your hands in any position that is comfortable.
  • You might want to call on a "higher source" for assistance in your meditation. Any form is all right. This can be quite helpful, but is not absolutely necessary.

Some Misconceptions about Meditation

Misconception #1. 'Meditation is turning off your thoughts or making your mind a blank'.

Not True. Inner quietness is experienced in meditation, but not by willfully turning off thoughts. Quieting the mind results naturally from the effectiveness of the method used and a force beyond our own efforts.

Misconception #2. 'Meditation is difficult and takes tremendous discipline'.

Not True. Meditation can be easily learned, and can be quite enjoyable. Meditation is only difficult if one tries to do it perfectly, which is not really possible.

Misconception #3. 'Meditation is not successful unless we see interesting things in our mind'.

Not True. Although some meditations are specifically for visualizing, many are not. In those meditations, seeing things may be entertaining, but is not essential. Even visualization does not necessarily require seeing. Some people sense or feel things inwardly, and that's all right.

Getting Started

When beginning your meditation practice, the most important thing to remember is to approach meditation with "relaxed effort" and not to be concerned about doing it correctly, or about what is supposed to happen.

Just follow the simple steps, and allow for whatever you experience. If you follow these guidelines, you will find meditation to be easy and enjoyable, and you will start noticing positive results in your life.

Mindfulness Meditation

The following meditation is said to be the meditation taught by Gautama Buddha about 2500 years ago. The primary focus is your breathing. However, the primary goal is maintaining a calm, non-judging awareness, allowing thoughts, feelings, and sensations to come and go without getting enmeshed in them. This calm, accepting, spacious awareness is your Core Self... your Essence.

Steps of Mindfulness Meditation

  • Sit comfortably, with your eyes closed, your spine reasonably straight.
  • Let your attention rest on your breathing.
  • When thoughts, emotions, physical sensations, or external sounds arise, simply acknowledge and accept them, allowing them to pass through without judging or getting involved with them.
  • When you notice your attention has been caught up in thoughts, emotions, or sensations, bring it back to your breathing and continue.

Taken from: www.meditationcenter.com/