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Character of Change




Change is guaranteed. Whether we like it or not, it is a rare constant throughout the whole of our life. Meditation is a way of stepping back to observe change without getting caught up in it, distracted by it, anxious or depressed about it.


Meditation

Meditation is not an act we perform - it is a quality we acquire. We cannot do Meditation, but can become meditative. Below are some approaches that you may be familiar with from yoga class.


Mindful Breathing

Breathing is a priority technique. Here we start to learn more about life’s best process. Engaging with the breath is a reminder that breath is the gift we are given at birth, it remains with us throughout life, and it leaves when we die.


Pay close attention to  the “inhalation” and “exhalation”. Use each breath pattern to feel into a sense of thankfulness and delight for this gift and for just being alive.


The Buddhist Master Thich Nhat Hanh says, “ .... while breathing in, you know that you are alive.” So breathing alone is the best reason for us to celebrate our life


The duration of each In-breath and out-breath may vary.  At first you may only be able to maintain it for a few seconds.  Continue to practice, comtinue to focus on the breathing.   This is sufficient to make a difference.


Concentration

When we concentrate, we can focus on the process of feelig the inhalation and exhalation coming in and out of the nostrils. At the same time, we may start to notice the feeling of relaxation. This state of relaxation helps us develop a clear state of mind. We may also begin to start to notice the spaces between the breaths, think of it as emptying the mind.  This helps us access the most intuitive parts of the brain. In yoga, the spaces between the breaths are known as the space of no thought. Over time these spaces will get longer and the breaths themselves may appear to get shorter. This is a natural meditation progression.


When breathing, follow the breath from the start until end. Let your mind go with the flow completely, mindfulness then becomes uninterrupted. You can definitely expect high quality concentration like you have never experienced before. With daily practice, this will help you concentrate and focus on everything you do. You will learn things quicker.  You will problem solve more productively.


Awareness of Your Body

This technique takes you to a much higher level. In the first steps, you became aware that you are breathing and alive. You tried to go with every breath and have produced energy through mindful breathing. Now it is about time to use that energy to recognize and feel your body.


Mind and body should become one. If your mind is inside your body, the  stronger and more centered you become. You feel more alive as you tap into the energy of the universe. You become in touch with things around you as they are in reality. You stop living in your imagination and memories of past occurrences.


Releasing Tension

Thich Nhat Hanh uses this technique to release tension that you carry with you always. Once you become aware of your body, you will become aware of pain and tension that has accumulated over time.  It’s been there so long you don’t even notice that your body suffers from it. It is essential to find ways to release it.


There are several ways to release it. You just have to find your comfort zone. You can do it while lying, sitting, or standing. Peace is possible anywhere. Practice it several times daily to get the best effect.  This is because our bodies feel different at different times of day.  Many people practice this while at work or while doing household chores. Some practice it while at the gym or while cooking. Take whatever opportunities you can. It will help you feel relaxed and tension free.


Walking Meditation

Walking, a favourite pastime, is a great time to practice mindfulness. Walking meditation practice fits right into our daily activities. You can exprience this for yourself in Qigong and Yoga Class 22nd July 1100-1230 at The Yoga School. Horsham. See dates below. Or Click Workshops.


Walking meditation is definitely not your usual walk in the park. It is done slower and requires coordination of movements. Make every step aligned with your breath. Focussig this way om the breath with the movement actually feels quiet different to regular walking. No extra effort is required for this process. It is simply enjoyable.


Thich Nhat Hanh teaches that when you are taking a walking meditation, you are there physically with an active mind. You are also there to enjoy the things that surround you. Every step may bring a deeper sense of peace, joy, and healing.


Smiling Meditation

Thich Nhat Hanh once said that in-breath can relax the body and mind. When breathing out, you can smile.  Never underestimate the power of smile. There is more to it than you could ever imagine.


Breathing comfortably is necessary to relax the mind and the body and to feel comfortable. Try closing the eyes, right now, and feel the simple sensation of breath moving in the nostrils.


Next is to focus on the mouth. Let the tongue rest behind your teeth. Allow the lips to soften or slghtly part which encourages the jaw and chin to relax, to drop back. And when the body is completely relaxed, focus your attention back to the mouth, and especially your lips. Feeling into what you may quietly explore the inner sensation of a secret inner smile. A smile that you are able to sense for yourself but at the same time one that no one looking directly at you may be aware of.


These are some of the very many straightforward ways to begin a quiet practice.


July 22 Qigong and Yoga 1100-1230 includes Meditative Slow Walking

July 27 Immersive view of Change 1330-1630 Unwinding with Somatics


Resource Inspired by The Buddhist Master, Thich Nhat Hanh

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