Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Meditation’ Category

hand draws brain signThis blog arrived in my email today.

I was struck by its profound simplicity and by it’s practically as a useful tool to develop appreciation, gratitude and mindfulness.

What do you think?

A Simple Practice to a Happier Balanced Brain

By ELISHA GOLDSTEIN, PH.D.

“TAKE A MOMENT to look around. Where is the good in this moment? Look inside and out. What’s the good within you, what’s the good outside of you?

The gifts of life are truly here; we just need to come to our senses from time to time to notice them.”

Mindfulness Meditations for the Anxious Traveler: Quick Exercises to Calm Your Mind

The fact is our brains aren’t wired to be happy; they’re wired to keep us safe. That’s why left to its own devices the brain isn’t going to be aware of all the good that is around.

There are many writers, psychologists and mindfulness teachers who speak about the essence of our true nature being good, being happy, and being compassionate.

However, this only comes when we feel safe and secure.

Our brain is often times not in a state of feeling safe and secure and is more often on the lookout for what’s a potential danger around us. This is what’s been called the brain’s automatic negativity bias. In other words, we’re far more likely to pay attention to what’s not good than to what’s good. This is especially prevalent if you’ve ever struggled with anxiety, depression or any trauma.

But there’s good news:

The good news is that we also know what we practice and repeat in life starts to become automatic. In neuroscience lingo, that is the basis behind neuroplasticity – the ability to wire our brains with our attention and behaviors.

This can be a very simple practice as suggested above to just pause from time to time and ask yourself, “What is good right now?” or perhaps you can even ask yourself, “What do I love?”

At times the answers may come easy and at other times you may yourself reaching for something that’s good. There may be even times when you notice resistance to this practice, judgments around it or a sense of vulnerability arising in combination with the answers.

This is your brain’s way of guarding against vulnerability. In other words, if you feel good you’re at risk for a greater let down if something bad happens. Researcher Brene Brown calls this “Foreboding Joy” and it’s more common than we think. When you notice this resistance, remind yourself it’s okay to be aware of the good and see if you can refocus on it for a moment.

For the good of your brain and your life, give this simple practice a shot. Treat it like an experiment and see what you notice. Allow your experience to be your teacher.

These are the sorts of things we will be exploring and practicing on the Meditate for life workshops we are running over the next few months.   For more information go to the Meditate for Life Webpage: http://www.questforlife.com.au/meditation-program

All the best

StJohn Miall

StJohn Miall

StJohn Miall

StJohn Miall is the co-founder of Keep Evolving, an organisation the facilitates Leadership and Personal Development Programs that has it’s focus on the development of Wisdom, authentic Power and Compassion.  His focus is on the design and delivery of programs to both the corporate sector and the general public with particular focus on deeper, developmental work, supporting the ongoing building of emotional intelligence, spiritual intelligence, coaching, leadership and personal development.

StJohn is an expert guide in the gentle practice of Meditation and its use by those wishing to explore their own inner landscape.

With over 25 years of training experience, StJohn has a wealth of experience to call on both in the design and delivery of transformational programs. He is known for his easy style and ability to make the complex simple and easy to grasp.

Along with his wife Alexia, he facilitates ’Meditate for Life’ and eight week program run in Sydney to learn all about meditation and how to establish a regular meditation practice.   StJohn and Alexia also Facilitate the ‘Take a Stand for Life’residential program held at Bundanoon which is specifically for people looking to further develop their skills for a meaningful and fulfilling life.  

Read Full Post »

If you only have the time to do one practice, then Meditation is the one to choose

If you only have the time to do one practice, then Meditation is the one to choose

Meditation has been an important part of my life since 1980.  I have found myself thinking and saying over the years, “I don’t know how I would have got through (the day/the week/the year/the incident etc)  without Meditation”.  When I am too busy to Meditate, I make the effort to find the time, and then am amazed at how much I achieve during my day.  Meditation has helped me to find that still place inside,  even when everything is chaotic around me.  I have found the value many times over of the practice of Meditation in my life, and know the benefits of finding the time to practice regularly.

I am convinced, if you only have the time to do one practice, then Meditation is the one to choose.

If you are thinking about learning to meditate OR wanting to kickstart your practice, then check out the Quest website for the upcoming Meditation programmes in Caringbah, the Central Coast and Crows Nest.


Meditation

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This article is about a variety of mental disciplines used to induce specific modes or states of consciousness.  

Meditation is a practice in which an individual trains the mind or induces a mode of consciousness, either to realize some benefit[1] or as an end in itself.[2]

The term meditation refers to a broad variety of practices (much like the term sports) that includes techniques designed to promote relaxation, build internal energy or life force (qikiprana, etc.) and develop compassion,[3] love, patience, generosity and forgiveness. A particularly ambitious form of meditation aims at effortlessly sustained single-pointed concentration[4] single-pointed analysis,[5] meant to enable its practitioner to enjoy an indestructible sense of well-being while engaging in any life activity.

The word meditation carries different meanings in different contexts. Meditation has been practiced since antiquity as a component of numerous religious traditions and beliefs. Meditation often involves an internal effort to self-regulate the mind in some way. Meditation is often used to clear the mind and ease many health issues, such as high blood pressure,[6] depression, and anxiety. It may be done sitting, or in an active way – for instance, Buddhist monks involve awareness in their day-to-day activities as a form of mind-training. Prayer beads or other ritual objects are commonly used during meditation in order to keep track of or remind the practitioner about some aspect of the training.

Meditation may involve generating an emotional state for the purpose of analyzing that state — such as anger, hatred, etc. — or cultivating particular mental response to various phenomena, such as compassion. The term “meditation” can refer to the state itself, as well as to practices or techniques employed to cultivate the state.[7] Meditation may also involve repeating a mantra and closing the eyes. The mantra is chosen based on its suitability to the individual meditator. Meditation has a calming effect and directs awareness inward until pure awareness is achieved, described as “being awake inside without being aware of anything except awareness itself.”[8] In brief, there are dozens of specific styles of meditation practice, and many different types of activity commonly referred to as meditative practices.[9]

Alexia Miall

Alexia Miall

Alexia Miall

Alexia’s career began in banking and then moved via advertising to a major career change in 1980 to Adult and Transformational Education.  She has been privileged to share this incredible journey with 1000’s of like minded souls through her extensive experience as a facilitator, trainer, life coach, therapist, and mentor.  She managed her own training company in Victoria during the 1990’s, and during this time was the Course Leader for a training program from which the Banksia Environmental Foundation formed.

Alexia has acquired further education in Adult Education in Training; Somatic Psychotherapy; Life Coaching; Conflict Resolution; plus Accreditation in many behavioural and culture change models. She is an Associate of EcoSTEPS, a niche Sustainability consultancy, which supports her love of the natural environment.

Read Full Post »

The better response will become your new default reaction

Keep a journal of your triggers

The five-step process below came into my computer’s inbox today, and I believe it is beneficial to be reminded that we do have the power to make different choices around our ‘habits’.

Meditation/mindfulness is a wonderful tool to support us on this journey.

Five Key Steps to Habit Change

Tara Bennett-Goleman’s new book, Mind Whispering: A New Map to Freedom from Self-defeating Emotional Habits, explains the neuroscience of habit change. She recommends mindfulness as a way to bring unconscious habits back into awareness where they can be changed. And she outlines a simple five-step process for making that change.

1) Familiarize yourself with the self-defeating habit. Get so you can recognize the routine as it starts, or begins to take over. This might be by noticing its typical thoughts or feelings, or how you start to act.  You can also follow Paul Ekman’s simple suggestion: keep a journal of your triggers.

2) Be mindful. Monitor your behavior –thoughts, feelings, actions – from a neutral, “witness” awareness.

3) Remember the alternatives – think of a better way to handle the situation.

4) Choose something better – e.g., what you say or do that would be helpful instead of self-defeating.

5) Do this at every naturally occurring opportunity.

Tara cites the neuroscience evidence that the more often you can repeat the new routine instead of the self-destructive one, the sooner it will replace the self-defeating habit in your basal ganglia. The better response will become your new default reaction.

Shared by Alexia Miall

Alexia is co-facilitating one of our Meditate for Life courses in Sydney commencing in August. These 8 week courses are conducted in a variety of locations. You can visit our website for all the details.

Alexia Miall

Alexia’s career began in banking and then moved via advertising to a major career change in 1980 to Adult and Transformational Education.  She has been privileged to share this incredible journey with 1000’s of like minded souls through her extensive experience as a facilitator, trainer, life coach, therapist, and mentor.  She managed her own training company in Victoria during the 1990’s, and during this time was the Course Leader for a training program from which the Banksia Environmental Foundation formed.

Alexia has acquired further education in Adult Education in Training; Somatic Psychotherapy; Life Coaching; Conflict Resolution; plus Accreditation in many behavioural and culture change models. She is an Associate of EcoSTEPS, a niche Sustainability consultancy, which supports her love of the natural environment.

Read Full Post »

meditation as a life skill for our youth

Meditation as a life skill for our youth

I recently introduced my 13 year old daughter to Petrea King’s meditation CD.  Emma has a short term memory problem which has made learning very challenging for her. She’s a talented artist and singer but struggles with learning in a school environment. Over the years we have spent thousands of dollars on learning support – speech therapy, occupational therapy, kinesiology and more recently with counseling sessions with a child psychologist to help with her self-esteem. Both the primary and secondary schools she has attended have provided excellent learning support and have supported me, as her fiercely loyal advocate, with encouragement and advice along the way.

The greatest improvement and benefit however has come from her meditation sessions which she now initiates herself. She will head off to her bedroom after school, close the door and meditate to Petrea’s CD for 30 minutes. When she finishes her ability to articulate is so greatly enhanced that I am often left speechless. She is able to “slay” her brother at the dinner table with confident, insightful and humorous conversation that has previously evaded her. Meditation obviously clears her neural pathways to allow her memory to function normally. She is generally less anxious and has become more confident at school and in social situations since starting to meditate. She quickly recognized the considerable benefits gained from meditation and now considers it part of her life. She chooses when she wants to meditate which is generally three or four times per week. I can see it will eventually become a daily ritual for her which I know will support her well through the teenage challenges ahead.

No-one had ever suggested meditation as a support tool and it makes me wonder how this could benefit the hundreds of thousands of families out there dealing with learning difficulties and trying to navigate their way through a winding road, lurching from one solution to the next, often being confronted with issues of whether to medicate or not and being out of pocket thousands of dollars along the way.

So it has got me thinking about the broader benefits of meditation as a life skill for our youth. With so many issues impacting on our young people today, an increase in learning difficulties, a huge increase in youth mental health issues, eating disorders, body image issues, cyber bullying and the anxiety and stress they deal with preparing for their HSC. The fear of failure if they don’t get that high Atar score. If meditation was taught to our children as part of their PDHPE curriculum what impact would we see? A start to each school day that involves 30 minutes of meditation perhaps? Sounds like a worthwhile research project to me.

Vicki Miller
Guest blog

Read Full Post »

Do you have control issues?  Has anyone told you that you are controlling?  This meditation will help you learn to let go.

Benefits

·      Makes life more pleasant for you and others

·      Helps you understand that everything changes

·      Helps you learn to let go of wanting to control everything

Do you always have to be on top?

Do you always have to be on top?

If you are a controlling person, it is important to get beyond your symptoms – your need to control the actions of your loved ones or to have the magazines on the coffee table just so – and ask yourself what you are afraid of.  Fear usually motivates the desire to control others or your physical space.

Meditation

When

If you have received many complaints about your controlling behaviour, you might want to try this meditation.

Preparation

Write about three occasions on which you can remember feeling anxiety and wanting to control someone else’s behaviour, even if it seemed justified to you at the time.

Practice

1.    Sit on a cushion or chair in your meditation space.  Watch your breath for five minutes.

2.    Choose one of the events you listed.  Try to recall it in detail.  Feel what you were feeling at the time.  Perhaps your partner moved a chair and didn’t move it back to where you had placed it when he or she left the room.  Was your first feeling one of anger?

3.    Ask yourself why it is so important to have things the way you want them, especially since you are sharing your life with another person.  If you weren’t feeling anger, would you feel fear?  Are you afraid something may happen unexpectedly and you will feel powerless, alone, abandoned?  Are you trying to ward off unexpected and hurtful things happening by trying to control your environment, the people around you and the future?  Explore the fear behind your need to control.

4.    Commit to letting go a little at a time on a daily basis by looking for the fear behind the need for you to control.  Relax your grip on things and notice that usually nothing terrible happens.  Be kind and patient with yourself in this process.

The Meditation Bible
Madonna Gauding

Alexia Miall

Alexia co-facilitates Meditate for Life (in Sydney) and Take a Stand for Life (in Bundanoon).

Alexia’s career began in banking and then moved via advertising to a major career change in 1980 to Adult and Transformational Education.  She has been privileged to share this incredible journey with 1000’s of like minded souls through her extensive experience as a facilitator, trainer, life coach, therapist, and mentor.  She managed her own training company in Victoria during the 1990’s, and during this time was the Course Leader for a training program from which the Banksia Environmental Foundation formed.

Alexia has acquired further education in Adult Education in Training; Somatic Psychotherapy; Life Coaching; Conflict Resolution; plus Accreditation in many behavioural and culture change models. She is an Associate of EcoSTEPS, a niche Sustainability consultancy, which supports her love of the natural environment.

Read Full Post »

Walking Meditation

Walking Meditation: gets you outside and moving, and reconnects you with your inner self.

I truly enjoy my Walking Meditation, it fulfills two functions, gets me outside and moving, and reconnects me with my inner self.

The following Informal Walking Meditation is very simple and easy to do.

On the Meditate for Life program, one of the many meditation techniques we teach is a form of Walking Meditation, again very simple and easy to do. So, I encourage you to give it a go and enjoy the outdoors whilst attending to your inner self. HAVE FUN.

Alexia Miall

INFORMAL WALKING MEDITATION

When we are too centered on our own internal dramas, too full of our own subconscious gossip, we become out of touch with the world around us.

Rediscover a sense of awareness by going for a walk.

The act of walking literally establishes contact with the ground, and the constant input of new images helps break up fixed moods, let in fresh air, and diverts attention from a fixation on problems.

This informal walking meditation does not require any particular technique of the body or hands and so can be performed anywhere – in a city street or a park, for example. It simply focuses on maintaining awareness.

1. Select a place in which you feel relatively secure. An unsafe part of town is not the right scene for a walking meditation.

2. First focus yourself, bringing your mind back to your clear intention to remain aware. The purpose of the exercise is to be fully present while you take your walk.

3. As you set off, feel the energy rising up from the ground to the top of your head. Consciously relax your body and mind. Let the motion of walking be easy and natural.

4. Let go of mental chatter, and focus attention on the sights, sounds, smells, and sensations of the environment around you as you walk.

5. When you notice that you have been thinking, come back to the sights and sounds around you. Simply acknowledge that you have been thinking, and return to the immediacy of the present moment.

From The Meditation Year – A Seasonal guide to contemplation, relaxation, and visualization
Jane Hope

Read Full Post »

Take a Stand for your life

Take a Stand for your life

Every so often, (and especially after we have encountered some life-changing experiences, whether they be illness, job-change, relationship disruptions and the like) it becomes valuable to take some time out to assess what it is that’s important and where you are headed with your life.

Having done that the next thing is to take a stand for those new directions.

Literally to take a stand for life. Your Life. Because if you don’t, no one else is going to, and you run the risk of just being another cork bobbing around on the great ocean of life.

To take such a stand for something involves being willing to take the next step on your own evolutionary journey – this precious journey that is life-long, full of surprises and unexpected events that challenge us to be more creative, more autonomous, more authentic, caring and wise.

It requires navigating and interweaving both the ‘inside work’ and our involvement with the world at large.

Almost by definition it’s the stand that you may have been putting off, avoiding, dancing around or outright denying, and yet, deep in your heart, you know it’s a step that must be taken if you are going to achieve what it is you have set out to do for yourself and your loved ones.

Taking a Stand is most powerful when taken after a period of reflection on three things: your journey so far, what’s important right now, and what will take you towards your goals and thus fulfill your sense of purpose.

It also requires that we develop new skills to overcome the hurdles that may have tripped us up in the past, or to speak some truths or set some boundaries that may have been too difficult to do up until now.

It requires courage and is not always easy… it’s often like trying to get out of the box you feel trapped in when the instructions for getting out are written on the outside of the box!

And yet, with the right reflection, taking time to slow down enough to contact the deeper places of clarity and simplicity inside, clarity does come, and with it, the commitment to step forward. To do this in the company of others who are willing to do what you are doing and in an environment that is both accepting and supportive of your process is a rare opportunity.

Such an opportunity exists on the ‘Take a Stand for Life Program’ being run by Quest for Life starting on March 12th.

You can expect at least two things from attending the Take a Stand Program:
• a powerful step forward along your evolutionary journey, and
• taking away with you a rich bag full of insights, understandings and skills that will support you on that journey right through your precious life.

For details of the March Take a Stand for Life program click here or call us on 1300 941 488.

But don’t delay, the Universe rewards those that are willing to take action. Carpe diem!

And if you’re one of those lovely people who have taken ‘Take a Stand for Life’ in the past and want to share your experiences of the course, please feel free to add your two bob’s worth below.

Thank you.

All the best StJohn
Facilitator of the Take a Stand for Life program.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »