Tips on Meditating For a Healthy Mind and Body

Meditation was originally used for spiritual growth, to become more open to and aware of the holy and the guiding presence of the holy. Today, though, meditation has become a valuable tool even for those people who do not consider themselves religious. It can be a source of peace and quiet in a world that is seriously lacking in both.

It can be used for healing, emotional cleansing and balancing, deepening concentration, unlocking creativity, and finding inner guidance.

When you begin your meditation, put your expectations aside, and don’t stress out about the ‘right’ way to do it. There are many ways to meditate and there are no fixed criterion for determining right meditation. What works for you is the right method for you. And finding out what works may require some experimentation and adjustments. I list a number different approaches below.

There are, however, a few things to avoid when you start meditating:

Don’t try to force something to happen.

Don’t over-analyze the meditation

Don’t try to make your mind blank or chase thoughts away

Remember, there is no one “right” way to meditate. Just concentrate on the process and find the best way for YOU!

To start meditating, choose a time and a place where you won’t be disturbed. That in itself may seem like an insurmountable task. Unless you are a hermit, there are probably people in your life demanding your time and attention. You may want to tell these people that you will help them find their socks, get the gum out of their hair, listen to their rants about the people at work, or whatever AFTER you’ve had a few minutes of peace and quiet. Let them know that this is something that you need to do for yourself but they will also benefit because you will be more relaxed, more energetic, and more loving.

When you are starting out, you only need 10 or 15 minutes for your meditation session. This is plenty of time when you are beginning and it may well be that this is all the time that you feel you can pry out of your busy schedule for yourself. That’s fine – it’s much better to spend a few minutes a day meditating than to put it off completely.

Over time, you may find your meditation time so beneficial that you want to increase the amount of time you spend in a meditative state. That’s completely up to you. A good goal is to work up to two 20 minute meditation sessions each day. Research has shown that spending this amount of time meditating leads to better health and can help reduce the stresses and strains of daily life.

The process is helped if you can make it a habit to meditate at about the same time each day. Some people find that meditating first thing in the morning works for them. Other people meditate last thing at night before going to sleep. There is no exact time that is best for everyone. Whatever works for you is good! Just make sure that you practice on a regular basis.

The actual place where you decide to meditate is again up to you. A few people set aside a room in their house as their meditation room but if you’re just starting out, that’s probably a bit too extreme. Instead, you may decide to meditate in your bedroom, the lounge, the kitchen or even the garden – wherever you are least likely to be disturbed. It is, of course, better if you don’t try to meditate in the living room while the rest of the family is watching TV. Other than that the exact place where you meditate doesn’t matter – it’s much more important that you actually start practicing meditation.

If you find that the original place you chose isn’t working for you, don’t be afraid to change it. The same goes for the time and the method that you chose. The ultimate benefit of meditation far exceeds the precise method of meditation that you use to reach the benefit.

One of the easiest ways to start meditating is to use a guided meditation. This is a CD or MP3 that contains all the instructions you need to achieve a state of meditation. All you need to do is to find somewhere that you won’t be disturbed, sit or lie down and play the audio file. Soundstrue.com has many such guided imageries as well as meditation music.

There are many different types of meditation. We’ll cover some of the more common types below but if none of these suit you, you’ll find many more to explore on the internet. Feel free to experiment with some of the different types of meditation explored below until you find one that works well for you.

Centering

Centering is meditation in action. Within you is a space that is always calm and at peace. This space is often referred to as your “calm center”. Being centered means remaining in your calm center amidst the busyness of everyday life. Being centered means not allowing your inner light to be overshadowed by stressful circumstances or negative thoughts and emotions.

When you are centered, you are in a state of clarity, focus, peace, and balance. When you are not centered, you are unclear, unfocused, stressed, and off balance.

A good centering technique will require only minimal attention, allowing you to keep some of your attention on the activity at hand such as washing dishes, folding laundry, or gardening. Be aware, though, that your family may be more tempted to interrupt if they see you doing something. Just explain to them that you are also meditating and that unless they want to help you do dishes, fold laundry, or garden, they should leave you alone for a few minutes. Here are some quickie centering techniques.

Simple Breath Awareness

While involved in whatever you are doing, bring some attention to your breathing for just a few moments… it needn’t be your full attention… just enough to bring you back to your calm center. Breathe naturally, or perhaps just a little more slowly and deeply.

Reclaiming Your Energy

When you are feeling stressed and scattered, take several slow, deep breaths. With each in-breath, imagine you are pulling all of your scattered energy and attention back to your inner self… your calm center.

Letting Go

This centering technique combines breath awareness with the phrase or mantra, “Let go.” It is especially helpful when you are tense and/or fixating on a stressful situation or a negative thought or emotion. As you inhale, say (silently or aloud), “Let”. As you exhale, say “go”… while letting go of all that is stressing you.

Relaxation Meditation

This remarkably easy and relaxing meditation makes use of a little-known secret about the eyes. Allowing the eyes to rest in a soft downward gaze has an instant, automatic relaxing effect.

Relaxation meditation provides a great deal of stress reduction and can be used as a quick 2 minute relax and refresh break almost anywhere (but not while driving). You will also realize a heightened sense of alertness.

Sit comfortably with your spine reasonably straight.

Allow your eyes to rest comfortably downward, gazing softly, but not focused on anything.

Without closing your eyes completely, let your eyelids drop to a level that feels most comfortable.

Continue gazing downward… the act of gazing is your primary focus (rather than the area at which you are gazing). You may notice your breathing becoming more rhythmic.

It’s OK to let your attention drift a bit. If your eyes become very heavy, it’s OK to let them close.

If you notice you’ve come out of your relaxed space, simply bring your attention back to your relaxed downward gaze.

Breathing Meditation

In this meditation, you will be focusing on your breath. This is probably one of the easiest methods of meditation to begin with.

Start by adopting a comfortable position. 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.

Once you’re comfortable, close your eyes.

Start to notice your breathing. We breathe so often that we tend to take breathing for granted. So take the time to notice your breathing.

Notice the air filling your lungs.

Then notice as you breathe out and the air leaves your lungs. Repeat the process of noticing your breath.

As you do this, you’ll find thoughts coming up. They might be about family, friends, work or absolutely anything else. That doesn’t matter – it’s all part of the process and it is perfectly normal to continue to have thoughts whilst you are meditating.

But once these thoughts come up, let them drift out with your next breath. Each time your thoughts drift, bring your mind back to focusing on your breathing.

Walking Meditation

If you find it difficult to sit still and keep your eyes closed whilst meditating, then walking meditation could be good for you.

There are four components to a walking meditation:

Becoming aware of your breathing

Noticing your surroundings

Being conscious and attentive to your body’s movement

Taking some time to reflect on your meditation experience

Become aware of your breathing in much the same way as you would for the breathing meditation process. Notice each breath as you breathe in and then breathe out again.

Become conscious of the air filling your lungs and use each exhalation to send out any distracting thoughts.

When you start noticing your surroundings, you’ll likely be amazed. We take lots of things for granted in our everyday life and much of what is around us goes completely unnoticed. When you are walking around, notice the different colors that you see.

Don’t just notice colors. Listen for sounds. There may be bird song, road noise or the chatter of people or animals. Consciously tune in to these different sounds. Notice the different tunes sung by the birds.

If you are in an urban area, pay attention to the different traffic noises. Each car’s engine sounds slightly different. So does the sound of wheels on the different street surfaces. You’ll find yourself hearing things that have merely passed you by before.

There are also smells to fill your senses. Maybe the aroma of freshly mown grass or the sweet smell that occurs just after a shower of rain. There are plenty of smells in the atmosphere and the chances are that most of these have slipped past your consciousness.

Tune into your body’s movement. Start to notice the light pressure on the soles of your feet as you walk. Be aware of the air brushing your skin, whether it’s a calm day or a windy one. Pay attention to your body’s movement as you walk around. Feel how your arms swing. Notice how you hold your head – is it upright and attentive or a different position? Switch your attention to different body parts as you are walking and you’ll be fascinated at what you find.

Once you’ve completed your walking meditation, take a small amount of time to come back to your normal world. During this period, mentally run through your thoughts and feelings that you experienced during your meditation time. Think what you can do to enhance your experience even further next time you choose to do a walking meditation.

Gradually come back from your peaceful site to your regular world.

Universal Mantra Meditation

This meditation comes from an ancient Indian text called the Malini Vijaya Tantra, which dates back about 5000 years. It is a very easy meditation, yet very powerful in its capacity to quiet your mind and connect you with your Essence or Inner Spirit.

This meditation uses a mantra as your object of focus. A mantra is a word or phrase that has the power to catalyze a shift into deeper, more peaceful states of awareness. The mantra most use for this meditation is: Aum. Aum does not have a literal translation. Rather, it is the essential vibration of the universe. If you were to tune into the actual sound of the cosmos, the perpetual sound of Aummm is what you would hear.

Although this mantra is sometimes chanted aloud, in this meditation, you will be repeating the mantra mentally… silently.

Before we get to the actual steps, there are a few important points to be aware of:

One of the keys to this meditation is repeating the mantra gently or faintly in your mind.

The power of this technique comes from letting go and allowing your attention to dive into the deeper realms of awareness.

Therefore, even though you will be focusing on the mantra, staying focused on the mantra is not the aim of this meditation.

Trying too hard to stay focused would keep your attention from descending into the deeper realms. Instead, you will be repeating the mantra with “minimal effort”, and giving your mind the space to wander a bit.

Resist the temptation to make something happen, and allow the mantra to do the work.

This meditation easily produces a shift into deeper, more peaceful states of awareness. (The degree of this will vary from session to session.) It increases the flow of energy to the brain and clears away a good deal of physical and emotional toxins.

Because of this detoxification, it is best to keep this meditation to 10 or 15 minutes a day when first beginning. After a month or so, it can be increased to 20 minutes, but that should be the maximum for anyone who does not have quite a few years of meditation experience. Also, it is advisable to drink a lot of pure water.

Finally, mantra meditation accelerates spiritual growth as you achieve a state of relaxation and self-awareness.

Sit comfortably, with your eyes closed and your spine reasonably straight.

Begin repeating the mantra gently in your mind.

Repeat the mantra at whatever tempo feels most natural. There is no need to synchronize the mantra with your breathing, but if this occurs naturally, it’s ok.

Allow the mantra to arise more faintly in your mind… repeating it with minimal effort.

Continue repeating the mantra faintly, and allow for whatever happens.

If at any time, you feel that you are slipping into a sleep-like or dream-like state, allow it to happen.

If and when you notice that your attention has drifted completely off the mantra, gently begin repeating it again, and continue with minimal effort.

After 10 or 15 minutes, stop repeating the mantra, and come out of your meditation slowly.

After any meditation technique, allow yourself a moment to savor the sense of floating and calm that surrounds you. Take a deep breath, gird your loins (figuratively), and venture forth into your daily rounds with renewed energy and a deep sense of peace.

Questions About Meditation

I used to think meditation was something only religious or deeply spiritual people practised, to be honest I thought it was a pretty pointless exercise. What benefit can sitting quietly with your eyes shut for an hour possibly offer me? Surely my time could be better spent doing, well… pretty much anything else!

However, over the years I kept hearing about the benefits of meditation from different sources, benefits like, increased happiness, achieving inner peace, inducing greater creativity and improved concentration. I also heard about the health benefits which range from, having a positive effect on heart rate, blood pressure, breathing and metabolism to resolving psychological problems.

However, I also had lots of questions and fears about attempting to meditate, which delayed me jumping in and giving it a shot.

Questions about meditation like, what type of meditation is the right one? How exactly does someone meditate? How would I know if I was doing it right? How long should you meditate for? Which is the correct way to meditate, in silence or with music? You see, there weren’t that many Zen Monks around me to ask about the finer details, so I just kept putting it on the back burner and telling myself I would get round to it ‘someday’.

Fortunately I did take that leap, and I’m glad I did, and as I’m soon to release a series of meditation audio’s on this blog over the coming months, I thought I would answer a few questions about meditation which I would have liked answered before I started meditating, so this article is aimed mainly at people who are beginners, or are yet to take that leap into the stimulating world of meditation.

What type of meditation is the right one?

There are many different types of meditation; too many to list here, and this is where a lot of the confusion stems, so don’t get too hung up on which type of meditation you should be doing. The good thing about having so many different types of meditation is that there is a type out there for you, so it’s just a matter of finding which one suits you best.

When I started to meditate I began with guided meditations set to tranquil background music, it made me feel more confident about how I was meditating because as the name suggests, guided meditation basically talks you through the whole process.

Guided meditation, unlike traditional (unguided) meditation, requires less effort on your part as you don’t have to worry about keeping your mind focused and as clear as possible. Traditional meditation is fantastic in its own right, and once you’ve achieved the basics is something which can later be strived for.

What I love about guided meditation is the opportunity it offers to visualise effortlessly, and engage the imagination with positive suggestions tailored to the subject of your choice. This is certainly a good option if you’re new to meditation or not quite sure how to start out.

How exactly does someone meditate?

Again this depends on which type of meditation you are practicing, traditional meditation, unlike the guided meditation above, calls for the subject (you) to sit in a comfortable upright position with your eyes closed.

The goal is to clear your mind of all thoughts and be witness to any experience you may have. To clear the mind it is often suggested that you take a few deep breaths at the beginning of your meditation, and then breathe normally concentrating on each breaths inhale, and exhale.

This initially clears the concentrated mind of all but the thought of breathing, if other thoughts occur, which they will, the key is not to reflect upon those thoughts. You become a bystander of thought as you experience them, but do not get involved in reflecting upon those thoughts and what they might mean.

Don’t be miffed if nothing happens during your meditation, after all, that is exactly the point! Benefits from meditation don’t occur during meditation; they occur, and can be witnessed through measured transformation in daily life, over the course of time.

How long should you meditate for?

As mentioned before this depends on which type of meditation you are involved with. Guided meditations are pre set, and last for the amount of time the audio lasts. With more traditional types of meditation you are the one who decides the length for which you meditate.

If you’re new to meditation, start with a length of time you’re comfortable with, even if it’s only 5 minutes. You can build up minute by minute until such a time you can achieve half an hour, then an hour. I do need to stress there are no hard and fast rules about meditating; if it feels comfortable for you, then that is the right length.

Which is the correct way to meditate, in silence or with music?

There is NO correct way to meditate, if it feels good and you’re getting results from it, it’s correct. I like to meditate in silence and also with music; it really depends on how I’m feeling at the time. I also use binaural beat meditation and paraliminal meditation audio’s.

Binaural beat meditation

Binaural beat meditation uses the effect from different frequencies introduced into opposing ears, and therefore stereo headphones must be worn to achieve this. If a tone at 150Hz is played into one ear, and a tone of 155Hz is played into the other ear, the brain hears the difference between the two tones, (5Hz – called an auditory artefact) as a beat, which sounds more like a pulse.

This auditory artefact is then mimicked by the brain to induce a specified range of brain waves which occur naturally:

When in a relaxed or drowsy state (Alpha Waves)

Or asleep and experiencing REM dreams (Theta Waves)

In a deep dreamless state (Delta Waves)

all while still awake but in a meditative state.

These are the brain waves meditators are trying to achieve using the traditional meditation method, so for beginners binaural beat meditation offers the chance to experience a deep trance like state without the previous experience.

I use binaural beat meditation a lot, and I offer many free meditation audio’s with different binaural beat waves on my website.

Paraliminal meditation

I also use paraliminal meditation audio’s, which are very similar to guided meditations, but they use each ear for differing messages throughout the audio, so again stereo headphones must be used.

Paraliminal meditation audio’s are theme based on one subject related to personal development. They offer guidance with things like becoming more confident, weight loss, stopping smoking, public speaking or any other road block you may be experiencing in life.

They work by offering different hemispheres of the brain different messages, sometimes at the same time through different ears. The messages aren’t something you need to keep track of, as listening to two voices, one in each ear, would be pretty difficult, you are free to just let the audio play and do its thing.

Paraliminal meditation is another great way for beginners to get a taste for meditation in a fairly passive manner, without worrying about whether you are doing everything correctly.

Discover Meditation

Meditation

Thirty spokes of a wheel all join at a common hub
yet only the hole at the centre
allows the wheel to spin
Clay is moulded to form a cup
yet only the space within
allows the cup to hold water
Walls are joined to make a room
yet only by cutting out a door and a window
can one enter the room and live there

Thus, when a thing has existence alone
it is mere dead weight
Only when it has wu, does it have life

Verse 11, Tao Te Ching, Lao Tzu

Wu is nothingness, emptiness, nonexistence

Discover Meditation and the Secret Gap

Stillness of mind, improved concentration and focus, heightened clarity, increased vitality and rejuvenation, happiness and emotional stability, improved memory and learning ability, inner peace, calm and oneness are just some of the benefits regular practice of meditation can give you.

Discover meditation and the secret gap and you will open a doorway connecting you to your true self, your soul, and leading you down the path of self realisation; that you are one with the universe, part of the whole that is everywhere, everyone and everything.

The simplest things are often the most difficult to comprehend. Meditation is the key that unlocks the door to your soul, who you really are, your purpose, why you are here and the true meaning of life.

Start your own journey and discover meditation for yourself.

What is meditation and where did it come from?

Meditation is the practice of focusing on an object or a single point of awareness. It is the practice of calming the mind to allow one to become immersed with their true essence; the true self that is one with all (source, universe, divine consciousness, universal consciousness or any other given name meaning the same).

As you will discover there are lots of approaches to meditation; hundreds of different tips and techniques. These all work; certainly in the beginning they help to focus your concentration. It is, however, important not to get attached to a particular technique or object. When it comes down to it meditation is all about a post realisation that you have discovered the secret gap that is as Wu describes; nothingness, emptiness, nonexistence. Only then are you meditating, and the key is not to grasp what you have discovered but, simply allow it to be, merging with the stillness, the silence and the tranquillity that is the pure essence of our universe.

It is the path to all wonder and the gate to the essence of everything. It can only be found within, by merging with the silence, the stillness and the tranquillity of the present moment. It is discovering meditation and the secret gap that leads to a life of fulfilment, happiness, and total inner peace. Life becomes flowing, effortless, and beautiful and at the same time you achieve self awareness which brings clarity, creativity and a deep sense of true purpose that is simply just being.

Meditation existed before history was recorded. Archaeologists found ancient Indian scriptures which detailed the practice of meditation dating back thousands of years. It is a well documented practice of many world religions to include Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Jainism, Judaism, Sikhism and Taoism. Spreading from the East meditation techniques are now practiced throughout the world by millions of people on a daily basis. Meditation in Sanskrit is Dhyāna and is one of the eight limbs of yoga which leads to a state of Samādhi (joy, bliss or peace). The physical practice of yoga, through the avenue of the breath, is in itself a moving meditation which again is practised by millions of people throughout the world.

What are the other benefits of meditation?

Studies have shown that meditation decreases the negative effects of stress, anxiety and depression. Overall we become calmer, happier and more fulfilled.

Meditation improves concentration, which is essential to realising our true potential. Focused concentration generates great power and when our powers of concentration are improved we are able to use this not only for the purpose of meditating but in our other activities too. Part of achieving our goals and desires is having the ability to master our thoughts. By calming the mind and focusing our concentration, we are able to experience this self mastery and we can begin to change and replace our negative or unwanted thoughts with positive ones. This shift in our thought process aligns our energy with that of universal energy vibrations and we will begin to notice positive changes and improvements throughout all areas of our lives.

Physically meditation reduces stress related symptoms such as heart palpitations, tension and migraine headaches, disturbed sleep and nightmares and hypochondria. As stress and anxieties are reduced we are actually decreasing the probability of experiencing any heart related illnesses.

Studies have also shown that meditation can relieve chronic pain, drop cholesterol levels and improve blood pressure. The flow of air to the lungs increases and improves and we will experience an overall greater sense of wellbeing.

How do I meditate?

Buddhism often describes meditation as a way of ‘training the mad monkey’, referring to the mind as a mad monkey, which is always jumping and racing from one thought to the next. During an average day we think around 64,000 thoughts!

The Buddha said by the absence of grasping one is set free. Meditation is not something you achieve by trying. Although when you begin to practice you are seeking to meditate effectively, the more you try the more it will elude you. Meditation can be likened to holding a wet bar of soap; one minute you are holding it in your hands and the next it’s slipped through your fingers.

Meditation is about letting go and to discover the secret gap you have to let everything go. Let go of any outcome before you begin.

There are many meditation techniques, and over thousands of years different meditation practices have evolved. The true essence of meditation, however, is just to sit and be. Quite simply you are going beyond the ‘conditioned’ mind and elevating your mind to a state of pure self awareness.

Whilst you can focus on an object or on your breath to help you to reach this state, ultimately it is a natural process which evolves over time, the essence should always be in connecting yourself with your source. You are looking inward without actually attempting to do anything but to just sit and be.

It is also effective to meditate on particular struggles or problems we are experiencing in our lives. For instance, if we want to come to a decision on a particular aspect of our life; a career direction for example, meditating on this can help us to arrive at the answer. At times the answers we are seeking can come into our minds almost immediately. The power of focusing concentration and directing that focus towards a particular question or subject can produce amazing results.

It is a good idea to have a meditation space. This can be a room, or part of your home where you feel most comfortable. You might have soft lighting, candles, incense, cushions, flowers, and other objects which invoke feelings of calm and relaxation.

Aim to meditate twice a day. Sunrise and sunset are the best times of day for meditation because our minds are more receptive at these times. Sunrise is the dawn of a new day and everywhere is quiet, calm and peaceful. The day has not yet begun and following a restful sleep, our minds tend to be calmer. At sunset the day is ending and meditation at this time enables us quiet reflection on the day we have just passed. Our minds are winding down at this time before sleeping, and the stillness and calm that meditation brings will be with us as we drift off to sleep, helping us to feel refreshed and energised when we awaken the following morning.

Place a cushion on the floor and seat yourself so that your bottom is half on and half off the cushion. This will elevate your hips and naturally lift your spine and you will feel more comfortable than if you were just sitting on the floor. Take yourself into a cross legged position. Traditionally the lotus or half lotus pose is used when meditating but if you are not able to comfortably sit in these poses, sit as is right for you. Let your spine be upright and tilt your head so that your eyes, when open, are fixed three feet in front of you. Place your hands wherever they feel comfortable; one on top of the other in your lap, in a mudra with the tip of the thumb touching the tip of the first or middle finger to form a circle, or simply place them on your thighs. Whatever is comfortable and feels right for you.

As previously mentioned there are many things you can focus on during meditation; statues, flowers or a single rose, silk scarves, candles, crystals, music, mantras and the breath to name a few. Experiment yourself with each of these and find what works best for you.

Not surprisingly I have found the simplest methods to be the most effective; the breath and a mantra. The example I have used throughout most of this section is the breath, which is by far the most universal focus of meditation.

Close your eyes and begin to focus your attention on your breath. Focus on each inhale and exhale. Silently saying the words ‘SO’ on the inhale and ‘HUM’ on the exhale also helps focus. Allow your thoughts to come and go but always return your focus to your breath. If you have chosen an object, you would simply focus your attention on that object allowing the thoughts to come and go returning your focus to the object. Over time meditation becomes easier and you will find as your self mastery grows you are easily able to sit for 20-30 minutes.

To begin with just work on achieving 5 minutes twice a day and then increase to 10 and so on. Meditation can be effective at any time. If you are not able to meditate regularly find some quiet time when you can to allow yourself to simply sit and be. Focus on your breath and visualise yourself sitting somewhere which will help bring about a calm and relaxed state of mind. One of my favourites is on a beach in front of a beautiful calm blue sea. Choose something which feels right and true for you. Be patient and gentle with yourself. As your ability to meditate increases, your level of self awareness grows. You will begin to notice improvements with each day’s meditation practice.

Allow yourself to become your own silent observer and simply observe the breath. As you follow each inhale and exhale, thoughts will become slower. Let the thoughts come and let them go, simply observing them and not becoming attached to them. Your focus is the breath, always return to the rhythmic inhale and exhale. Then allow yourself to become the breath. With this merging comes release and without an actual momentary realisation you are immersed in stillness, in the silence and you have discovered the secret gap. This is the place of being, of presence and of your true self. Here you are at one with everything; whether that be God, universe, Tao, divine consciousness or whatever your term for it is, you are it, it is you and it and you are everything.

Can I teach myself; do I need a teacher?

Meditation is a journey of self discovery leading to self mastery that you can start right now — today. There isn’t anything you need to learn that you don’t have right at this moment within you. Simply sit and allow yourself to be. It isn’t easy, training the mad monkey mind that races from one thought to the next but, with practice, it becomes a welcomed opportunity to spend time with yourself.

A meditation teacher can help and guide you through the practice of meditation and attending a group meditation session will enable you to share the experience with others, which can help your own practice. However, I would urge you to start practising yourself as I have described in this section. There is nothing a meditation teacher can tell you that you don’t already know, you just have to sit and be with yourself to discover it.

Silence is not something we often experience on a daily basis or even welcome for that matter. Most people find it very difficult to really relax and let go, particularly of their thoughts. The important point to remember is that you are not trying to push your thoughts away, but simply allowing them to be, without attachment to them. This practice over time reduces the number of thoughts, and distractions, you experience during meditation. Many people’s lives are busy and hectic with work commitments, financial pressures, parenthood, socialising, hobbies, interests and a whole list of other activities that take up the majority of our time.

Make a conscious decision to make time to meditate. Commit to embarking on your own journey of self discovery. Unlock your own great creative potential which, with continued practice of meditation, will be unbounded.

My own Meditation Journey

I was first introduced to meditation when I began studying Buddhism. Before then I think I believed, and this is a common misconception, that meditation was a rather mystical practice that took over your body and mind somehow, that it was something to be feared almost and it was only really practiced by monks and mystics. I couldn’t have been more wrong!

Meditation is merely the gateway to the soul, the vehicle to carry you deeper into your self and a practice that opens up a part of you that has always existed, but that you never realised was there; your true self and that which gives you the true meaning of your existence and interconnectedness to the universe and everyone and everything else in it.

Without meditation I would not be the happy and fulfilled person I am today. It has enabled me to discover more about myself, to realise my true potential on many levels but, most importantly, uncovered the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, that which people seek and often feel they never find. It is the complete and perfect oneness; the knowledge that we are all one, part of the whole that is the universe and beyond, that which is nothing but that which is everything. Try to understand it and it is gone. The beauty of this realisation brings many things; inner peace, inner calm and tranquillity, profound clarity and a deep sense of belonging, of purpose and of true joy. That is the essence of life, the true meaning of life.

I think the reason so many people never find this or discover this is because they are looking for something external. They seek happiness and fulfilment through materialism, relationships, jobs, holidays, money and so on. They miss what is already there, already perfect just as it is, right in front of them, and only by letting go and completely surrendering to it do you become it. This is what the Buddha meant when he said by the absence of grasping one is set free.

I have not reached my full potential because that would mean there is a boundary to my potential. My potential is infinite and so I enjoy the flow of life and trust completely in the direction that takes. Sure, I make intentions and create what I would like to bring into my life but I also trust that everything that comes into it is somehow part of my journey, my life lessons, and so I am always learning from it. I am a student and I am a teacher. I am many things but foremost I am just me and I am also you, the universe and everything in it. My purpose is to help others achieve their own self realisation and start their own journey. The journey begins beyond the doorway that leads to your soul; your true self and meditation is the key to unlocking that door.

My daily meditation practice, which is usually for an hour each morning, is like recharging my whole system. It’s like returning home to the place where I came from. It’s allowing me to completely let go of the dualistic reality we live in and enter a world that you cannot see or touch but that through your heart you know is always there whenever you should wish to be there. It energises, cleanses and revitalises your mind and body from the inside out. It is like diving within yourself and becoming one that is simply non existence, nothingness, but yet that which is everything and everywhere. This is the real meaning of finding heaven on earth.

The immersion of self in the silence gives great power and energy, recharging the whole system on all levels; spiritual, emotional and physical. Let it be, without trying to understand it or analyse it or name it. It is simply as it is, and cannot be found, cannot be named and cannot be understood. It is everything and when you are in silence, immersed within yourself, you are there, you are everything and it is you.

Just be.

Shelley Costello is a freelance writer and author of Holiday Road and Champagne Friday. She has also published several articles with the international Yoga Magazine and is currently writing her third book.

Shelley has a diverse career history in management and marketing and has a passion for creating websites which is part of her freelance services. She is a qualified life coach, yoga and meditation teacher and has studied Buddhism, nutrition and many other areas of self development.

The Energy Healing Power of Natural Medicine

Natural medicine is a system that uses a variety of therapeutic or preventive health care practices such as homeopathy, naturopathy, chiropractic, and herbal medicine. Alternative medicine is also known as traditional, naturopathic, natural or holistic medicine. Proponents of alternative medicine are not refuting the validity of discoveries in and the practical uses of conventional medicine, but are merely trying to put some things into perspective. Due to the widespread interest in natural medicine along with the disappointment and disenchantment with Western medicine, many people, especially in the United States and Europe, where conventional medicine has taken a dominant foothold, are seeking the advice and treatment from naturopathic physicians. These practitioners include herbalists, acupuncturists, naturopaths, chiropractors, and others, who advocate preventative health measures as well as recommend wholesome foods and nutritional supplements for their patients and clients. Considering the growing popularity and effectiveness of alternative health treatments and products, certified and licensed professional practitioners of such medical practices should be given their rightful and respectful place in medical society. Natural medicine has been proven not only to be safe, but more effective than Western medicine in treating many chronic illnesses such as diabetes, hypertension, asthma and many other diseases as well

The history of Natural Medicine and its roots can be traced back thousands of years to ancient cultures such as India and China. Ayurvedic (E. Indian) and Chinese medicine, along with their diagnostic and herbal systems, are still used in these countries extensively, as well as in the United States, especially in Europe, where alternative medicine is well respected. Chinese herbal medicine has a documented history of over 2500 years in China, and is now widely used by practitioners all over the world. It has been legally practiced in the United States. since the mid seventies by licensed acupuncturists. Homeopathy is also a well-known form of alternative medicine discovered in the 18th century by German physician Samuel Hahnemann, but was practically stamped out in the U.S. in the late nineteenth century by the American Medical Association. In 1938, though, the U.S. Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act finally recognized homeopathic pharmacopoeia as the legal equivalent of allopathic medicine.

Another more contemporary and popular form of herbal medicine, called Western herbalism, can be traced back about two hundred years in America. Samuel Thomson, born in 1769, is considered the father of Western herbalism. He discovered over sixty different medically effective native plants by clinical testing, and on the basis of these findings, devised a theory of disease and botanical drug action. Randy Kidu, D.V.M., Ph.D., writes in his articled entitled A Brief History of Alternative Medicine: “The history of herbal medicine is interesting because herbs have been a part of our diet and pharmacy since man began roaming the earth. Coprophytic evidence (seeds and other plant part(found in preserved fecal pellets) points to herbal use by cavemen. Early herbalists practiced their trade since before recorded history in all parts of the world including China, Egypt, Greece, Rome, Africa, England, the Americas, and Europe. Many herbs are also mentioned in the Bible. Today, based on sheer numbers of folks who use one form of herbal medicine or another, it remains the most-used medicine worldwide.”

Twenty-five hundred years after the advent of allopathic medicine, modern medicine is still grappling with the idea that herbal medicine could be an effective treatment, and not just quackery, although thousands of years of recorded history has proved its efficacy. A new model of understanding in medicine needs to be incorporated into the existing allopathic model. Because of the growing popularity and effectiveness of natural medicine, practitioners may eventually be given their deserved place in medical society. The incorporation of natural medical practices into the existing model of conventional Western medicine, including the training of new medical doctors, is now called Complimentary Medicine. In order to solve our health problems, this modern paradigm for treatment in medicine must be promoted. This can only truly emerge when bias, self-interest, greed and discrimination is discarded and diverse medical knowledge is promoted and shared, not only between university trained scientists and medical doctors, but among Alternative Medicine practitioners, philosophers, metaphysicians, and other intelligentsia of society as well.

You Can Heal Anything: You Are the New Medicine

The origin of healing systems

The division of medicine into traditional/conventional and alternative/complementary did not occur by accident. Mankind as a whole needed to experience both of them before it was ready for a system of medicine whose purpose would be of a higher nature than is currently available. The new medicine, although it is so unlike the conventional and alternative models, is being birthed by both of them

Other than the Lemurian and Atlantean approaches to healing, it is clear that the ‘medicine of nature’ has been the most influential in recorded history. Nobody created this form of medicine; it was simply there to be re-cognized or discovered by those who had direct access to the language of nature called Veda, which means knowledge or science. The first written records of nature’s medicine appeared about 6,000 years ago. They were channeled messages written down by Vedic sages in direct response to the first occurrences of illness on the planet. This system, which kept illness and suffering at bay for hundreds of years, became known as Ayurveda, or the ‘Science of Life’.

Although Ayurveda only survived the passage of time in India and some in areas of Brazil and China, it remains a universal form of medicine. Today it stands revived to some of its original form. It greatly contrasts with the western approach to modern medicine in that it seeks to address the underlying imbalance responsible for the symptoms of illness rather than trying to alleviate or remove the effects of the imbalance.

Outsmarting the violation of the laws of nature

Before Ayurveda became a textbook science of healing, people knew how to live in harmony with the laws of nature. As a result, sickness, pain and poverty weren’t part of life. But as time progressed, we began to replace some of the laws of nature with our own laws; in other words, we violated natural law. To try to address the consequences of this transgression from natural living, a system of healing (Ayurveda) was developed to treat the physical and mental effects resulting from the deviations from natural law. A new set of natural laws needed to be employed to undo the damage that was caused by the violation of the original laws of nature. When you dam a stream of water and it flows over its banks, the flooding caused by this action requires a different approach than just letting the stream flow in its own course. We needed to employ new laws and insights to help us deal with the damage once done. The first violations of the laws of nature on Earth created the need for a natural system of healing, one that would give us access to those secondary laws that would reduce the damage caused by violation of the primary laws. This system would show us how to release the obstruction that hinders the flow of the stream in its natural direction. Without anyone violating the primary laws of nature, such healing systems would otherwise be unnecessary.

Hippocrates was perhaps the most enlightened father of nature’s medicine in the more recent history of our species. He understood that the need for healing (applying secondary laws) resulted from the loss of alignment with one’s inner wisdom and intuition. The more humans distanced themselves from their own inner wisdom and the rules of the natural world, the harsher were the corrective measures needed to be taken by the force of nature. So, killer diseases such as the plague began to decimate the population, which then generated the urge for a new kind of medicine, which would combat disease-causing germs and stop each new one dead before it became an epidemic. This approach is what has become known as the conventional system of modern medicine. Of course, all of this was part of the master plan – to throw much of humanity into the other end of the spectrum of duality for the purposes of greater learning and growth in consciousness.

Breeding illness

Just like Ayurvedic medicine, modern medicine, too, was unable to prevent the escalation of disease on the planet. Modern medicine was so concerned with the effects or symptoms of disease that it lost sight of the reasons why people fell sick, most of which weren’t even physical causes. The discovery of the first antibiotic medicine (penicillin) caused euphoria among the medical circles and general population. Years later, the enthusiasm of developing an effective drug for almost every infectious disease became dampened by the fact that the side effects generated by the poisons contained in the drugs were so severe that they often outweighed their benefits. In fact, they actually contributed to the emergence of an entirely new class of diseases now known as chronic illnesses, such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and arthritis.

At the beginning of the twentieth century, only 10 percent of all diseases fell into this category. The rest were acute problems, including fractures, infections, burns, etc. By around 1980, over 90 percent of all diseases had reached a chronic stage, meaning they couldn’t be cured by modern medicine. They also became known as the killer diseases of the modern era. Since our genes haven’t changed a bit over the past hundreds or thousands of years, genetic errors cannot be held responsible for such a sudden and dramatic escalation of diseases, especially when most of them occur only in the modernized world. What’s more, having defective genes doesn’t mean an affected person is going to get ill. Research on the blood disease thalassaemia, for example, has shown that patients who have exactly the same defect in the gene may be extremely sick, mildly ill, or completely healthy. This applies to most other ‘genetic’ illnesses, too. There may be just as many people with healthy genes who suffer from diabetes or asthma as there are those who have defective genes.

The symptom-oriented approach of modern medicine became synonymous with the revival of the old epidemics that so scared and scarred humanity less than a hundred years ago. The wide use of antibiotics and steroids have forced the targeted microbes, blamed for causing infectious disease, to resist the drugs’ action and mutate into what is termed ‘antibiotic resistant organisms’. The germs, following their natural survival instincts, are now outsmarting one drug after another, which means that there are now very few effective ‘treatments’ left for diseases such as tuberculosis and malaria. Millions more people each year are dying from these ‘new’ infectious diseases than ever before and the current trends suggest it will get worse. Unless medicine takes a complete u-turn in its approach, or healing is practiced in a different fashion, mankind will be greatly decimated once again.

It is highly unlikely, though, that modern medicine is going to save humanity from self-destruction. The side-effects of drugs and treatments are breeding so many different diseases and causing so many deaths every minute of the day that it is virtually impossible to even remotely win the battle against disease as long as people believe they depend on any form of medicine, even an alternative one. Since the current medical system is primarily controlled by financiers who have a vested interest in keeping it going and even expanding it further, it is not in the investors’ interest to find a real cure for the most common illnesses, for this would mean the end of medicine. Modern medicine is not designed to make people healthy; it is designed to make and keep people sick.

Many voices among doctors, patients and alternative practitioners denounce the exploitation of ‘innocent’ people. However, they have not yet realized that the same medical system that is misleading and enslaving mankind and robbing millions of people of their sense of sovereignty and self-empowerment is also instrumental in birthing a new medicine, one that will make everyone their own best healer. The government, health care agencies, medical associations, insurance carriers, and drug companies are unaware that they are key players in the cosmic game of transformation. They have helped a major portion of mankind to feel helpless and powerless against microbes and other disease-causing factors. The extreme denial of the infinite power of healing and rejuvenation that lies inherent in everyone is forcing the pendulum of time to swing back and allow the masses to gain complete and unrestricted access to this power within. Without the hazards of the old medicine, the new medicine could not come about.

The perfection of all this lies in the fact that no person can fall ill, regardless of whether it is through a microbe or a medical drug or treatment, without having (unconsciously) agreed to this. The Universal Law of Non-interference makes certain there are no victims and no victimizers. Each person’s Higher Self knows exactly what lessons are needed to move on and evolve toward greater wisdom, love, compassion and self-empowerment, however hard and painful the learning process may appear to be. The final lesson of each individual is to discover and produce the New Medicine, the medicine of one’s Higher Self.

The New Medicine

The return of old diseases and the emergence of chronic illness divided mankind into two camps: One that continues to uphold the trust and confidence in modern medicine, and one that takes recourse to natural methods of healing. Although alternative (complementary) medicine is still battling to make its approaches available to the masses, in some countries of the world such as Australia, Germany, England, New Zealand and now also in the United States, it is becoming more and more common sense to try the natural route, either along with or without conventional medicine. Now both approaches are well represented in the overall scheme of things and can be accessed by almost anyone. Medical doctors still risk prosecution and loss of their license to practice medicine if they dare speak out in favor of alternative health modalities or even apply these in their practice. But before long we will find that both approaches of medicine will intermix or merge together. Indications for merger are already subtly there; when it happens in a more obvious way, a New Medicine will be born, one that will be entirely different from that which existed before. It will work according to the principle, “The whole is more than the sum of its parts.”

The New Medicine will be less concerned about what is wrong with the body or mind; it won’t need to be. Instead, it will focus on unleashing the creative power of the individual as the principle source of health and youthfulness. The New Medicine will recognize that disease is ultimately the result of disconnection from our Source intelligence and Source energy. It will give health care back to the people. Miracles will take place as frequently as operations take place today. Reconnecting with our spirit Source will be the most important thing that can be done to improve one’s health. It’s like switching on the light that dispels darkness. Mankind as a whole will realize that trying to find out everything about the symptoms of disease is like trying to investigate all the possible problems that darkness could cause to a person who has no light to see the path along which he is walking. Although switching on the light is a very simple act, it can solve some of the most complex problems arising from being in the dark. Imagine if there was no light. What could you possibly do in your life except sit, think and worry? Fixing diseases is similar to fixing darkness; there is no end to the fixing.

Both the alternative/complementary and conventional systems of medicine are incapable of eliminating disease on this planet. Both of these systems are expressions of duality; therefore, their scope of influence remains very limited and incomplete. They each have their value in upholding their particular expression of duality; some of it is effective, and some of it is not. To find the eternal fountain of youth and healing, however, we must return to the origin of both these streams, that is, human consciousness. Now is the time to move collectively into the Divine moment where the consciousness of spirit and the physical matter of the body meet, and are recognized as one. It is in the gap of the moment where the two spirals of duality find their common origin. Of the two approaches neither is better or more important than the other. Both are capable of taking us to the desired place of wholeness. Here in this gap of simple existence we activate our creative intelligence, the intention of desire that becomes instant manifestation. The power surge emanating from the Divine moment of being within our own awareness creates the instant and automatic healing of that which is without.

In the gap of Non-Judgment

Healing does not need to take long. In fact, if it does it is likely to be incomplete. According to Japanese research studies, spontaneous remission and complete cure of cancer occurs when those afflicted with the disease move into the gap of non-judgment or non-duality, i.e., when they relinquish all needs or desires to have it one way or the other. This cannot be accomplished by will or by use of the rational mind. It may occur when someone faces death and, oddly, loses all hope for survival. Giving into death may take someone into the gap of their eternal spirit self, provided this is in the person’s highest interest. Thus, consciously losing the fear of dying and stepping into one’s essence may instantly stimulate the body’s immune system into a powerful response that can dismantle egg-sized malignant tumors in the brain, bladder, intestines, etc., within less than 24 hours, in some instances within as little as 15 seconds. There are thousands of documented cases like these.

What is most interesting in these cases of spontaneous remission is that the healing merely (if that is not enough) consisted of gaining freedom from judgment, of accepting one’s situation at that moment. Fighting for life doesn’t get you to this magical place of the Divine moment, for effort and struggle are born out of fear. Giving up one’s desire to live, on the other hand, is born out of resignation, frustration and merely represents the other end of duality awareness. However, accepting death without trying to avoid or enforce it moves you into the Divine moment where miracles take place.

Of course, we don’t all have to face death, either our own or someone else’s, in order to find the opening to slip into the Divine moment. Life provides us with plenty of other opportunities that can serve in the same way. All we need to do is to keep our eyes, ears and hearts open to receive and accept these opportunities, many of which may show up in the disguise of problems and misfortunes. In due time, our polarized duality consciousness becomes anchored in the singularity of Self. The body simply follows suit. Once we lose our polarity thinking, that is, our mode of reference to what we believe is right and wrong or good and bad, the DNA of our body begins to lose its polarity mode as well. As soon as we are able to accept whatever is, which means all our strong and weak sides, our successes and failures, fears, anger, and guilt, etc., our body will move, automatically and spontaneously, out of its polarity mode.

You can make your body do anything

When you are under the strong emotional influences of fear, anger, or even excessive joy, your body is out of balance, too. The stress of sudden joy can cause a heart attack just as easily as the stress of sudden rage. Being ‘good’ is no antidote to disease. We need to remember here that being or expressing one quality also means that its opposite is not far away; in fact, it lurks in the invisible shadow part of our consciousness known as the subconscious mind. True healing begins when we can be both qualities and have no judgment about which one is better or worse. Shadow and light serve each other well and co-exist all the time. The reason we have ‘weak’ spots in our attitudes and behavior is to bring out and develop their opposite, ‘strong’ counterparts. Accepting both creates oneness or balance, and balance is the key to healing. Preferring one quality to another generates discord in the body and mind. For example, even if we choose happiness over sadness, it counts as an imbalance. Consequently, the body has no other choice but to develop a physical imbalance, too.

Everything in life is valuable, and once we see that we then become graced with the perception of oneness. Since the body does nothing of its own accord but simply follows instructions, the new perception of oneness and acceptance of whatever is becomes the new blueprint reference for DNA. The genetic codes in your body’s DNA adjust to the ‘new you’ and copy that information into a new RNA which subsequently alters the functioning of your body, making complete rejuvenation not just possible but unavoidable. When the adjustment is complete, the DNA structure will go off like a time bomb in order to accommodate the light of oneness. The time for genetic detonation is now.

Our body is nothing but soft clay, shaped and molded on a minute-by-minute and day-by-day basis. If you tell your body that something is good for you, it believes you. It has no other choice but to serve one master, you. If you tell your body it cannot heal itself and requires help from outside it will believe this too and you will find yourself in need of a doctor, a drug or surgery.

On the other hand, your body can walk on fire if you can convince it that it can. You can even pierce your body with knives and needles and suffer no injuries if you can make it believe that this won’t hurt it. If you persuade your body that it can live without air for several days while being buried under the earth, then it can even do that for you. Levitating in mid air or walking on water are other so called ‘impossible feats’ the body can accomplish if it trusts its instructor enough. Sri Chin Moi, the well-known peacemaker and musician from India living in the United States, repeatedly lifts 1,000 pounds of weights in front of camera crews. He claims that the power is coming from his mind. Numerous ‘miracle performers’ have been scientifically studied and show that the above abilities have actually nothing to do with the body but come from the power of the mind. Likewise, your body can remove a tumor that has metastasized (spread) everywhere.