Monthly Archives: October 2016

This Week: Meditation Classes & Tangible Benefits

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So this week I finally made it back to a meditation class. This time in the Kadampa Meditation Centre on Portland Street. Although I thought it was just a drop-in session it turned out to be the start of a four-week course on using meditation to help manage stress and worry. It was in a Buddhist setting and they did open with a ‘praise’ I didn’t feel any pressure to join in, or feel like the religious aspects had any negative effect on my experience of the class.

The course mostly talked about  how technology doesn’t really affect our levels of happiness. Mostly in  relation to the way we use smart phones and other devices which I can agree with. However, I can’t really agree with that statement as a blanket statement as I find certain types of technology extremely helpful.

The other main point made was that a problem isn’t caused by external circumstances, but by how we relate to it. For example, if the car breaks down when we need to go somewhere then it is a problem, but if it breaks down when we were hoping not to have to go somewhere then it suddenly becomes not so much of a problem.

In between  teaching there were two periods of meditation probably about 10 to 15 minutes long. I definitely enjoyed doing meditation in a group setting again. The teacher had a really calm presence and at the start of the first meditation  period, she said ‘sit up as straight as is possible for you’ which immediately put me at ease. It was a lovely warm and friendly environment and  I am definitely hoping to go back next week.

I was able to see  the benefits almost straight away because that night I forgot to ensure that I had my phone with me before my PA left.  When this has happened in the past I have been really angry with myself. It  has also made me really anxious because if something happens in the morning I am not able to do anything about it. This time I was able to not panic,  remind myself that nothing bad had happened yet,  saying to myself if something happens in the morning then you can panic. I might have been a bit anxious, but nowhere near my normal levels and I was actually able to get a pretty good night’s sleep.

If you want to know more about the  meditation centre I visited click here

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Your Personal Slide Show

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When it comes to meditation and mindfulness I have often Been encouraged to watch the mind like TV.  for some reason I haven’t found this helpful because I tend to get this image in my mind of a blank TV screen, you might think that this is a good thing as when I’m meditating it’s supposed to be about clearing my mind but instead I’m frustrated because to me I’m not doing the exercise in the right way.

As a slight  twist on this exercise and a way to try and note  when I am getting lost in thought, I have started trying to use the image of slides in a projector like this one.slide-projector

That way,  when I realise I have been distracted I can visualise taking that particular thought out of my ‘mental  projector’ and put something different in. It helps me come back to what I’m doing or move away from unhelpful thoughts. It’s a  more elaborate  version of the noting  practice that I have been doing as part of my meditation in the last couple of days.

The noting technique is one of my favourite techniques. You simply note whether you have been distracted by either thinking or feeling/sensation and then go back to the breath. One of the reasons I like it is because it is really easy to use in every day life as well as in practice. Whenever I notice I have been distracted I just note it and come back to what I’m doing. The more often you can note, the more present you will be. It’s a really easy way to make mindfulness a bigger part of your day.