4 Ways To Let Go Of Stress And Become Present

Originally Posted on LaMav Blog on February 23, 2016

 

Get Rid Of Stress & Find Inner Peace With Karen Wilson


Meditation teacher at  Awaken Meditation Retreats and author of 3 books, Karen Wilson is definitely an inspiring figure you can learn a lot from.

In her mid 20`s, Karen has practiced long periods of meditation which completely changed her health, happiness and the quality of her life. Since then, she has been passionate about spreading the benefits of meditation to the world, to help people find their true self and their true power.

Today, the woman behind ‘7 Illusions: Discover Who You Really Are’ , ‘Meditation Workout: 30 Days – 30 Meditations’, and ‘Awaken: Mindfulness Musings for the Soul’ is here to share with our readers her basic, bu essential, tips on achieving inner piece and balance, without losing contact with your true self. Let’s see what she has for us…

Stress has become a common part of our lives. It is just there and somehow we got used to living with it. There is always something to be concerned about, whether it be our health, our job, our relationships or our finances. It sometimes seems like as soon as a ‘problem’ is resolved it is soon to be replaced by another one. Then we have something else to be worried about that need to be fixed. And most of the time we can’t totally relax until “our main big problem” is solved. But it never seems to end and instead we start accumulating too much stress that will also create more health, family or financial problems. So how can we find some kind of peace in the middle of our mayhem?

It often helps to understand that most of our fears and worries are in our minds. They are often concerning a ‘future’ situation we are trying to avoid. We want to feel secure, in control of our lives and have everything all perfect so we can finally enjoy it. Unfortunately that is not how life works. We will never have it under our control, and our future will never be secure no matter what our minds are trying to make us believe: “once I get that job, all will be well”, “once I buy a house, I will be safe”, “once I get that raise, I will be secure”. Understanding that we can’t really create security helps us let go of the pressure of trying to fix everything to get it perfect and secure. There is nothing to be fixed. So what can we do instead?

First, It is good to know that stressing over the future or any situation won’t help. For example stressing about money won’t make us richer. The best we can do is to first assess if there is anything in our power that will improve that situation, and if there is then we can act on it. But if there isn’t it, then we just have to let it go, stop worrying about it and trust that the situation will take care of itself. So how do we just let go?

The problem when we worry too much about our lives and our future is that we tend to miss out on our present. We tend to be so caught up in our minds that we forget to just live and enjoy the precious moments in our days. In order to let go of our stress we need to come back to the present moment. How can we become more present? Here’s a few tips:

1. Breath

Every time we notice ourselves caught into the maze of our thoughts we need to remember to take a deep breath. That deep breath will bring us back here, now, in the present where we stand, and where we are safe. In that moment our future worries are not ‘there’, they are not ‘real’. But WE are here, now, and we are alright.

2. Awareness

We can become more present by paying attention to what’s around us NOW. Right now: what am I seeing? What am I hearing? What I am feeling? What am I tasting? Reconnecting with our five senses shifts our attention from our illusionary thoughts back to our experience of the moment. Then we can really make the most of it and enjoy it fully.

 

3. Nature

Taking some time in nature is important for each of us. It is soothing and grounding. It helps reconnect to a slower pace of living which we used to have before fast paced cities and technology. It is important to make some time to slow down and enjoy a forest or beach walk, or just sit in a park if we are in a city. We always feel better after having spent half an hour in nature.

4. Meditation

Taking up meditation is not the easiest thing to do. Our busy minds don’t like sitting down for half an hour and like giving us all kind of excuses to avoid it. Yet learning to meditate, and practicing regularly will help us to become in control of our mind instead of being controlled by it. Moreover,meditation can help us access these moments of deep peace which happen when all thoughts stop.Meditation may seems like hard work but on the long term it is one of the best way to de-stress and enjoy a more peaceful life.

In the end no matter what our favourite way of de-stressing is, it is necessary to incorporate it in our daily life. Our mental wellbeing is very important and to be honest we are not going to miss out on anything if we take half an hour time out daily in nature or in meditation. Our ‘problems’ may still be there when we come back but our thoughts about them would be gone. And that’s what peace is all about!

MEDITATION AND MENTAL HEALTH

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On World Mental Health Day, I thought I would share my story about how meditation helped me with my mental health issues.

When our physical body get sick, we try to fix it. We can try a western medicine approach: take a few pills and wait for the symptoms to disappear. Or we believe in a more holistic approach when all physical symptoms are a mere reflection of a dis-ease in our mind/ emotion/ body /soul connection. Then, not only are we trying to treat the symptoms but also the causes of the problem. We will also try to keep our body/ mind healthy and in balance to prevent ‘getting sick’ again. All diseases have something to teach us if we dare to look inside ourselves at what is really causing our suffering.

With mental health, the issues are harder to diagnose as we do not have any physical symptoms; we are sick ‘inside’. Again we have the choice of trying to fix the problem with a few pills and while it may help us to feel better and relieved while we are on  medication, it often does not remove the problem. Healing the mind/ emotion is a far more complex healing journey than it may appear.

How can meditation help?

I started meditation when I was 23. I didn`t know anything about meditation or know anyone who was practicing it. I`d heard and read about it and strongly felt it could help me. I had never been diagnosed with any mental health issues before as I had  never seen or told anyone about  how I was feeling ‘inside’. Yet looking back I was far from being ‘as well as I appeared to be’. I grew up very shy and introverted, with very low self-esteem,getting sick a lot, got through my teenage years with ‘low mood’ and ‘dark thoughts’ always running through my head. Maybe I was just feeling lost, maybe I was looking for myself, maybe I was depressed. I was also very anxious, stressed and was experiencing panic attacks on a regular basis. And I also had some  mild form of OCD ( how many times did I have to check my pocket to make sure I hadn`t forgotten my keys!!!). But because I was doing very well at school and then at uni and always been told that I was ‘ intelligent’; I didn`t know if  what I was experiencing was normal or not. For me it was normal anyway, that is all I knew then. Leaving my country at 22 for a one year holiday in Australia was supposed to be life changing. I hoped it would change me anyway, change how I felt inside. Although, even if I did escape my physical conditions, what I thought made me unhappy, I couldn`t escape myself. Inside it was still the same: a busy, scared, worried, unhappy mind.

I can`t remember the first time I heard about meditation, but I remember the first time I tried to do it. Not much of a success I can tell you. I didn`t stay sitting for long. But for the first time I totally become aware of how BUSY and full of nonsense my thoughts were! And if meditation could help me with that then I would give it a chance. So I started practicing daily , and slowly I started noticing some improvements. First I could manage my thoughts a bit better, then control them, then change them, then stop them altogether . That first moment when I experienced pure emptiness of thought felt incredibly amazing. I was free. Free from any negative thinking that my mind was trying to make me believe in. I was at peace. I was myself. It was just me. Bliss.

I`ve never stopped meditating ever since. Meditation taught me a lot and brought me on a  amazing journey full of wonderful experiences. But mainly what mediation did is that it saved me. It saved me from myself, from my own thoughts, my own fears. It does not mean that I don`t experience fear, stress or worries or negative emotions anymore, but they don`t have much power over me. They do not affect me as they used to. I can be aware of them without identifying with them. I can notice them and stop them. Or I can leave them alone while I live my life. But the best of it is that my mind is so much more peaceful! That alone is worth gold!

Meditation changed my life because it changed the inside of me. It changed how I experience and respond to life. Life has still its moments of pain, joy, its problems, its ups and downs. But how I react to them is totally different now. I can now say that I am well, I am at peace, and I am happy.

It has been an amazing journey, trying at times but well worth it. Now I am dedicated to teaching people how to help themselves.

You can check my website www.karenwilson.co if you are interested in learning meditation, I wrote a couple of e-books and teach meditation retreats. Our next retreat is coming up, it will be on the 8th of November 2014. It would be great to see you there 🙂

Positive affirmations to change subconscious thought patterns

Learn meditation

The repetition of affirmations can on the long term reprogram the subconscious. The subconscious mind is about 80% of our being and is responsible for manifesting our reality. It is programmed around our BELIEFS. These beliefs have been mostly programmed during our childhood through our parents, schools, society and through our own perception of reality then. 

By changing our minds, consciously and subconsciously, we can change our reality NOW. We can release the beliefs that do not serve us anymore and create another reality for ourselves, manifesting what we want.

Meditation is one of the best tool we have to do just that.

This meditation is an extract from my last e-book: Meditation Workout: 30 Days/ 30 Meditations, click here to download all meditations.

AFFIRMATIONS

  • Sit down comfortably
  • Take a few deep breaths
  • Now repeat over and over a positive affirmation
  • In your mind or out loud
  • Anything like:
  • I am powerful
  • I am beautiful
  • I love myself
  • I am abundant
  • I am loved
  • I am confident
  • I am successful
  • You are allowed to use as many as you want during these twenty minutes
  • As long as it starts with “I am” + positive affirmation
  • You can be anything you want

Click HERE to download Meditation Workout: 30 days/ 30 Meditations

LEARN MEDITATION

 

 

 

 

     

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD MY LAST E-BOOK: Meditation Workout, 30 days/ 30 meditations.

TAKE THE CHALLENGE!

What is meditation?

When we hear about meditation the first image that may come to mind is the one of a Buddhist monk, sitting crossed-legged with his eyes closed. This is a good picture, but what is he actually doing? What is he thinking about? EVERYONE can sit on the ground and close their eyes; does that mean that we are meditating then? WHAT ON EARTH DO WE NEED TO DO THEN?

Have you ever tried to do just that? Just sit down and close your eyes. If not it could be a very good idea to put that into practise. Let`s just see what happens. How hard can that be really?! It`s pretty easy to just sit and close our eyes, but the mind!!! The main obstacle IS the mind. That thing just won’t stop! Is it normal?? And then what? Do I just sit there and listen to it? Really what`s the point, I already do that all day with my eyes opened! What is supposed to happen? What do I have to do?

The main problem, the only problem, is the mind. Meditation aims to clear, to heal the problem. If you were to watch a beginner trying to meditate, you would probably notice how tense his face is, and how concentrated his eyebrows look. On the other hand, if you were to look at the face of a practised meditating monk, you would notice how relax his face is, and how peaceful and blissful he seems to be. What is the difference? The difference is what is happening inside. On one side the head is full of thoughts, it`s messy, it`s busy, and it`s scattered. While on the other side there is nothing. There is no thought. There is no mind. Just peace. Just quiet. How do we get there? With a bit more practice time.

Think of meditation as a tool. If you want to lose weight for example and get a bit bigger biceps on your arms, you would go to the gym and practise some weight lifting. The toned arms probably won`t appear during the first week, but if you keep to it you`ll gradually notice signs of improvement with time. In a few months your arms could start looking as good as you want them too. Meditation is like the weights in the gym. But instead of training your body, you will train your mind. And god, you really feel the weight at the beginning too!! That mind seems SO heavy! But the more you train the easier it gets. Until the weight feels like a feather. Until the mind becomes like a breeze.

Why meditate? Do I need to?

Are you happy? Are you really happy? If you answered ‘yes’ then you probably don`t need to meditate. Just close the book and go back to enjoying your life. If you answered ‘no’, or’ not all of the time’, or’ it depends on the day’; then you would probably benefit from meditating.

Meditation can change your life. Meditation WILL change your life. Actually it will not change your life as such, but it will change YOU. It will change how you live your life. And that`s life changing!

Where do I start?

This book aims to give you some tools, some techniques to practice meditation. You will not learn by reading, analysing, understanding, judging, or intellectualizing the concepts in the book. You will learn by PRACTICING the different meditations. It`s like everything really, you will learn by doing. It is pretty straightforward and easy in a kind of way. First of all you don`t need anyone else to start practicing meditation. Just you, it`s quite simple. Secondly you don`t need to have any money to start, it`s completely free!! Also you don`t need to have any special body requirements, you don`t need to be fit, skinny, healthy or anything else. As long as you can sit down on the floor or on a chair you can meditate. At the worst you can lie down. Lastly, you don’t need to be employed, you don’t need to be unemployed, you don’t need too much time or too little, you only need a mere twenty minutes a day to start with. Just wake up twenty minutes earlier or go to bed twenty minutes later if you really need to. That is all. Really no excuses!

 

TRAIN YOUR MIND!

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD E-BOOK AND START YOUR ONE MONTH CHALLENGE!

 

 

Emotion is an illusion

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THE ILLUSION OF EMOTIONAL PAIN

There are two types of pain: physical pain, which is as much real as our body is, and emotional pain which is as much an illusion as our mind is. What is it with our emotions? Are they real? What if they were not? What if they were just a product of our imagination? Life is emotions, living is experiencing emotions. So what does it mean that emotional pain is an illusion? We experience it as a strong feeling. It can even manifest into a physical pain, sometimes we can feel it in our heart, sometimes deep in our belly. And it feels so real, it feels so painful. Yet, if at that moment we decide to change our focus to a positive thought, the pain can dissolve and may be replaced with a joyful feeling. We may then forget it even happened. Was it real?

EMOTION IS AN ENERGY

Everything is energy, our thoughts, our physical body, and our emotions. We are energies vibrating at different levels, and different speeds. If these vibrations rise very high, matter will disappear; the physical body will disappear, as well as all heavy thoughts and emotions. If we lower our vibrations, we feel very dense and heavy, crave heavy, unhealthy food, hold dark thoughts and desires, and experience negative emotions. Pain and all other negative emotions only exist at a certain vibration. Depending on which frequency our energy is, we will experience different kind of thoughts and emotions. If we are in bliss, nothing can touch us or cause us pain. On the contrary if we are caught in a dark spiral, everything will be a challenge and cause us to suffer. In both cases the outside world is exactly the same, but the difference in energy and vibration will determine our experience. It will determine what we will see, think and feel. It is all very subjective. The quality of our energy determines the quality of our life.

EMOTION IS SUFFERING

Emotions are the main cause of our suffering. If we don`t experience emotions then there is nothing. There is no pain, no desire, no suffering. Without emotion we just see life as it exactly is, with a clear perception and without any projections. Without emotion we just become watcher of this movie we are playing. We do not try to change it or wish for it to be different because we REALLY DON`T MIND how it is and how it will end up. Without emotion there is no suffering.

EMOTIONAL SUFFERING IS IN THE MIND

Emotional suffering is in the mind and the mind only. The pain we experience exists because there is a dichotomy between what is and what we want. We want something that is not there, or we don`t want something that is there. Therefore we are not happy and suffer. We are driven by all our desires and yet despite all we have, we are never satisfied. Always wanting is the main cause of our suffering. Acceptance and surrender are the tools that will free us. Whether we have nothing or we have it all, we will always want more. We always want what we don`t have, and we are never fulfilled with what we have. This is the problem of the mind as we’ve seen previously. Liberation from suffering will come when we stop fighting against life, and when we start being happy with what we have and who we are.

Excerpt from 7Illusions

What is meditation?

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What is meditation?

Meditation has been used for centuries all over the world. People that have been practicing meditation for a long time can radiate peace and well-being. Meditation is the best tool available to us to find happiness and peace of mind.  Yet, despise it being known, practiced and praised for so long it is still not part of our every day life. Why? Maybe because meditation can be both easy and difficult at the same time.

Why is meditation easy?

  • It is free! It is not something only available to the richest people in the world, it is available to anyone! Its does not cost any money, nothing, nada!
  • It is technically easy to do, we just have to sit down and close our eyes. How easy is that!
  • it does not take too much of our precious time. If we can spare twenty minutes a day that`s already plenty. We can always wake up 20 mn earlier, go to bed 20 mn later, or spend 20 mn less on Facebook or watching TV.
  • we don`t have to think hard about anything, on the contrary the less we think the better it is!

Why is meditation so difficult?

  • mainly because we identify with our mind AND
  • THE MIND DOES NOT LIKE MEDITATION!

What the mind says:

  • ‘i don`t have time today’
  • ‘i`ll do it later’
  • ‘i`ll start tomorrow’
  • ‘pfff, it`s too hard’
  • ‘i don`t want to’
  • `’i don`t feel like it’
  • i rather eat, watch TV or check Facebook again’

Why does the mind say that?

The main aim of meditation is to quiet the mind. A quiet mind = peace. But the mind itself doesn`t want to be quiet! It wants to be active, busy, heard, listen to. It just wants to talk talk talk!!!

Meditation can quieten and stop the mind. The mind does not want to disappear so it will do anything to stop YOU from meditating. It will give give you ALL the excuses in the world not to meditate, EVERY TIME you will try to.

YOU are NOT your mind. If you can learn to quieten, stop and control something, it means that THAT THING is not you, it is separate from you.

So why should you meditate?

Do you want to spend the rest of your life listening and being controlled by a voice in your head which is NOT REALLY YOU?

It is like having a TV in our head, switch on all day long on the same channel, with no remote to change channels or turn it off.

Meditation is the remote control.

What could happen if you start practicing meditation?

  • you can become in control of your mind
  • you can become in control of your thoughts
  • if you control your thoughts, you control your emotions
  • you will become happier
  • you will become more peaceful.
  • no more stress, no more worries
  • your life will change

Shall I start meditation?

  • If you are 100% happy with your life and yourself, you probably don`t need to
  • if not, you`ve got nothing to lose, except your mind maybe  😉