On my last post we explored whether ‘Meditation’ is a taboo word and the results were surprising. An alternative expression – ‘Mindfulness’ kept coming up though, suggesting different connotations – not so spooky, or suggestive of chanting and behaviour we might find strange in this country. Not that meditation is really like that – but it is a common misconception.
We are more used to the term ‘Praying,’ but, again, it can be off-putting for some.
Yet the need for quiet contemplation is universally acknowledged. Our culture doesn’t readily accept ’Meditation’ as mainstream yet, so sticking with what other people have to say, in a genuine discussion of experiences, thoughts, feelings and practices, here’s what came up. Please feel free to add yours. This is an open ended subject and I have no set direction with this blog. I’m happy to see where it is led.
AISHA ISABEL ASHRAF – EXPATLOGUE . Aside from a burst of trying to teach myself to meditate as a 15-y-o, my experience with meditation has been in the form of Mindfulness. I’m diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. I battled depression, eating disorders, self-harm and suicide for over ten years before I got the help I needed. I received Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and learnt how to manage my condition, but last year I had the good fortune to discover something I wish I’d known about years before. I volunteered to participate in a research study into the effects of Mindful meditation on depression relapse prevention and mindfulness is now part of my daily life. It’s helped me to manage and deal with my emotions and brought focus and calm to my life. I documented the 8-session research program on my blog. If you think mindfulness is relevant to what you’re writing about, you may want to read through the posts. Here’s the first, I still have two left to write up, but you’ll get the picture!
LISA PEARSON – MUMMY WHISPERER. I’m a big fan of anything that gives me a break from my ‘brain noise’so ‘moving’ meditations work better for me like yoga or even going for a walk. I think that lots of people make it over complicated, and much too time consuming. I can’t ‘ohm’ in a corner; my brain will be immediately writing a new blog post. I also hate ‘guided’ meditations. I’m normally swimming in the sea by the time the ‘guider’ gets to the beach. In my book I recommend starting with a little zen type meditation every day when making a cup of tea or taking a shower – it just means that you notice the sounds, sensations, smells, and what you see as you make the tea and become aware of your breathing. It’s easy to do and fit into life whenever we need a break. Zen sounds like Mummy Barrow’s ‘Mindfulness.’
TANYA - MUMMY BARROW. I LOVE meditation. I follow Headspace and their app and they refer to it as “Mindfulness” rather than mediation per se. I went to a workshop that Andy ran and we did a chocolate meditation. Holding the bar, feeling it through the wrapper, imagining the cocoa on the tree, who picked it, breaking a chunk off and hearing that noise and then putting in our mouths and letting it melt. The meditation that I do is a ten minute one. Every day. It grounds me. It brings me back to the here and now and it is what keeps me sane. It is fab. And Andy, who is Mr Headspace is an incredible man. Spent many years as a monk. I could listen to him talk for hours.
LOUISE R TURNER – ALL THE CAMPING GEAR. More than happy to add my weight to Headspace. The free app is great (I just keep doing the same days again and again!) It is the only thing that cures my insomnia. 10 mins & I’m off, thoroughly recommend it. We have this CD which we’ve used a couple of times with both kids (they are 6 & 3, the youngest is less sold) and we’ve been using a kids meditation book with Mimi (oldest) to get her off to sleep too and she loves it! I wouldn’t say it’s the most professionally done book in the world – and it’s more a booklet in length – but it’s done the trick!
Having never previously heard of this company called HEADSPACE, I dutifully trundled off to check it out. It is these people who offer ‘Meditation for Modern Living’ and ‘The World’s First Gym Membership for the Mind.’
This is what they say: Although most meditation approaches were developed as part of various spiritual disciplines, in recent years, many non-religious techniques have been created to bring the tangible benefits of meditation to people’s lives, outside of a religious or spiritual context.
They keep it simple and succinct. Their FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) Page is FANTASTIC. They also mention the SCIENCE and offer a free TAKE 10 programme – ten minutes guided mindfulness for ten days, which is definitely worth checking out. I’m impressed and like what they seem to be about. The New York Times says – ‘Andy Puddicombe is doing for meditation what Jamie Oliver has done for food.’
In my opinion Meditation is multi-layered and Mindfulness can be just the beginning. Anything that brings you back to yourself is healthy, will automatically bring about a more relaxed, calm state of mind and body and the method is neither here nor there. I’ve compared what we see on the surface of ourselves with what we first see of the sea – and what can be seen by looking a little deeper (and it’s not difficult!) – on this post here.
I was going to nominate three bloggers who openly admit to struggling with this sort of thing or being unfamiliar with it, to see if they could give themselves just ten minutes a day to practise ‘Mindfulness’ or ‘Meditation’ in whatever way they’re most comfortable with and then share their findings with us in a fortnight or so, but perhaps volunteers might be better? I shall put myself forward in my capacity as Older Single Mum and, for the record, I was thinking of Helen Neale – Stickers, Stars and Smiles, Ellen Arnison – In a Bun Dance, and Helen Wills – Actually Mummy – there’s no obligation – none of us needs any more pressure!
What do you think?
Thank you again everybody.
NEXT – Healing our Children.