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 🙂

Love And Chocolate

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What makes your soul shine?

What makes your spirit sing?

What always brings a smile to your lips?

Do you like listening to children laughing?

Do you like the very first bite of a chocolate stick?

Do you take pleasure watching the dance of the butterfly wings?

Do you like burying your toes under the bed sheets?

Do you like feeling the water when it is raining?

Do you like the feeling of a kiss on your cheek?

What do you live for?

What makes your heart beat?

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  😉

 

 

Be yourself

meditation retreat

Just be yourself

don`t try or pretend to be someone else

just be who you are

you are perfect as you are

shine your light

don`t be scared

don`t worry about what other people think

don`t pay attention to what other people do

they all have their own fears, worries and insecurity, trying to hide them by also wishing to be someone else.

if you were not good enough, you wouldn`t be there in the first place.

Let go of judgments

Let go of fears

Embrace who you are, all that you are

Let go of perfection, it does not exist

Everything is OK, you will be fine.

Just be yourself

You are alive, you exist! That itself is amazing.

Enjoy that life

Share all your talents to the world, you have so many!

Just be yourself

Just BE

How to meditate: listening for mindfulness

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Simple meditation technique

This meditation technique is very simple yet can bring great results.

Again, start by finding a nice place to meditate and sit comfortably for twenty minutes or more.

Have a few deep breaths.

Then listen.

Start listening to any noise that you can hear.

Close or far away.

Birds` songs.

Car horns.

People chatting.

Rain.

Only focus your attention on listening to what is being said right now.

Every time you catch your mind wandering in imaginative situations just stop that thread of thoughts where it is and start listening again.

Do not put a name on what you are hearing “oh that`s a bird”, “that`s my neighbor starting his car”, “that`s a plane”, etc

Just listen

No judging, no labeling, no story telling from ”the noise”.

Just be aware

Just listen

Just be mindful

Just be

You are in the moment, you are present, you are listening.

 

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Just a moment please

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Once a moment of our life is gone, it will never return.

Each moment is the most precious thing that is.

How are you living this moment?

Are you really present with it?

Are you making the most of it?

Right now this moment is all that you have.

Right now this moment is perfect as it is.

Do not waste it.

Do not miss it.

Just live it, completely, fully, happily.

The past is gone it will never come back, there is no point thinking about it.

The future is not here and will never be, there is no point thinking about it.

Today IS.

NOW IS.

THAT IS ALL THERE IS.

 

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/434387

 

Happiness is in the mind

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THE MIND IS YOUR HAPPINESS

The thoughts that cross your mind will either make you happy or not. It is not your life or what`s happening in it which makes you happy, but your perception of it. This is the half full/ half empty cup which we talked earlier. If you think negative thoughts, you will not feel good and vice versa. Now you know that you can control your mind. So you understand that you are solely responsible for the quality of your life and your state of happiness. There is nothing wrong in being delighted in dramas, fears and worries if it is a conscious choice, and if somehow that makes you happy. But if it is true happiness that you are after, peace and bliss, then only you can provide it for yourself. No one else can do it for you. No outside circumstances will bring it to you and no amount of money can buy it. This is your work, decide how you want to walk this journey which is life, happy or not.

CONTROLLING THE MIND

Learning how to control the mind is work that we should all learn at elementary school. We do learn to develop the left side of our brain, and to focus and concentrate our mind on some given problems. But we are not taught that it is also important to use our mind wisely outside the school facilities. And more importantly we are not taught how not to use the mind when we do not need it. The western way of teaching has created children with a very intelligent mind but which quickly becomes out of control because of its overuse.  We make them forget it is just a tool, and encourage identification with the mind. That is one of the causes of the many depressive and suicidal tendencies developing during teenage years. The burden of the mind and negative thoughts become so overwhelming that the person cannot cope with their own thoughts. They do not know how to find the peace and the awareness of who they really are outside the mind. In an ideal world, school would teach children to develop equally both sides of the brain. And they would learn how to focus and use their mind to solve problems, as well as how to turn the mind off in order to not over load it and stay stress free. Power surges of the brain have become way too common in our western world. How many people have turned to drugs, alcohol or medication to find, even if it is for a short time, that peace and quiet inside them?  And then it becomes an addiction. We want to stay high. We want to stay happy. We want to stay blissfully peaceful. We`ll do anything to escape the incessant chatter inside our head. If only someone had taught us that we do not need any outside substance to turn it off. If only someone had taught us that we could be in control. People are telling you right now, all over the world. Don`t search for any more excuses not to start doing the work. It is never too late. You`ll never be too old or too young to learn meditation. It is just a question of will. Do you want to be controlled, or do you want to be in control?

LIVING WITH THE MIND

Imagine a life where you are totally free and happy, where there is no fear, no worries, and no problems. Imagine if you could live each day to the fullest. Carpe diem! Imagine if you could play life as if it was a big game. Imagine…When you know your mind and how to control it, that`s when you start living in harmony with your mind. That doesn`t mean your mind will disappear altogether. It just means that your mind won`t have any more power over you. You will choose to listen to it or not. You will choose to listen to it when it offers you reasonable solutions to a concrete problem in your life now. For example: what is the best way to invest my money right now? Which is the quickest way to go from A to B? How much is a two kilo bag of apples if they cost five dollars a kilo? Etc. You will choose not to listen to it when it mumbles on and on about improbable stress situations in an improbable future, such as: what if I don`t make it in time for my dentist appointment? Maybe I won`t be able to pay the rent next month. What if my car breaks down while I’m driving a country road in the middle of the night? Etc. You will choose to smile when you hear fearful thoughts, as if you are smiling at an innocent child, as you will know these thoughts are not real. And then you will start living, as you will understand that there is actually no fear to have, that there are actually no problems in life. You will know that each fear, each problem is a creation of the mind and as such they don`t really exist. You will be walking hand in hand with your mind but you won`t be fooled by it any more. There will be no more separation. You will be at one and at peace with life.

Extract from 7 Illusions

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/434387

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