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Meditation Exercises

Meditation exercises are being practiced by people of all walks of life. There are various meditation exercises yet all of them create varied and incredible benefits. The most common task of meditation is to concentrate the mind on a single subject or experience, which leads to a lucidity of thought seldom otherwise experienced. But meditation is also used to great effect for reducing stress, lowering blood pressure (if you already have low blood pressure consult your health care professional for advice), and building self-esteem and/or self-confidence and a host of other things. Similarly, there are many meditation exercises aimed at achieving these goals. In what follows there will be a brief summary of 3 less common meditation exercises and their benefits for your consideration.   

Walking Meditation. This is generally the most physically active form of meditation (though strictly speaking, meditation is simply the narrowing of conscious attention to a single deliberation or sequence of experiences, and thus could be done whilst performing any physical task). This is best done on a familiar route that will not require more than the absolute minimum awareness of your surroundings (it would be nigh impossible to do this walking through a busy city). When you are ready, close your eyes, take in a slow deep breath, and exhale slowly. Become receptive to your physical body: tune in to every sensation and subtle movement. (You will be amazed how many physical sensations you become aware of; information which you usually ignore!). Once you are tuned in, open your eyes half way and, keeping your eyes focused on the ground just in front of you, start walking slowly, being careful to mind your step. The aim here is not contemplation but observation, quiet observation of how your body is functioning at this time. While you walk simply be aware of your sensations. If you cannot remain a faithful observer, the mental habit of reflection will engage and you will start to analyze what you are doing. If this is the case, simply observe those thoughts and let them pass. Try not to judge or criticize anything that happens, just be aware of your body. Try to keep your pace steady and even. 10 - 15 minutes is usually sufficient to center yourself with this meditation exercise, though 30 minutes is ideal.

Eating Meditation. This is great for losing weight and digestive problems. Hard to do with company so try this when you are eating alone. For best results, ensure your meal is tasty and nutritious. When your meal is ready, sit at the table. Take a deep breath in and let it out slowly. Think of this meal as your last. Begin by eating slowly, being conscious of every chew of your food. Be conscious of how (good!) the food tastes. Be mindful of the texture of the food and concentrate on chewing your food as much as possible before swallowing it (this can be quite challenging in itself and a real work out for your jaw!). If you cannot limit your awareness to the above facets, allow your ruminations to explore the origins of your food. If you like the taste, and know the meal is healthy, you will feel decidedly invigorated by the food. This meditation exercise will slow your eating process down, and may cause you to feel fuller on less food than you normally require to satisfy your appetite. (Remember that it is all right to leave food on your plate). If done once a day for 2 weeks, you will find a new meaning to the phrase “nice, relaxing meal” and a greater appreciation of what you ingest. This has many knock-on benefits such as acquiring a healthier approach to eating and getting greater assimilation of your food, meaning better health, and more energy.

Meditation for Healing Prayer. This is done in the more familiar seated meditation position. You do not have to sit in full lotus (as do the yogis), as long as you sit comfortably, the floor or a chair is fine (if using a chair, try to keep your back straight and both feet flat on the floor). Take a minute or two to let go of any physical or mental tension. When you are ready, close your eyes, take a full deep breath and slowly exhale. Concentrate on whatever higher (Infinite, Absolute) force that inspires reverence in you: God, Allah, Cosmic Consciousness, Divine Essence, etc., and recite the following (aloud or mentally):

“My body is a manifestation of the Infinite Power that creates and sustains the entire universe. I call on that Infinite Power to heal me [and whomever else you desire] now, revitalizing every bone, every muscle, every organ, every gland, and every cell in my/our body/bodies. I ask that any negativity be cleared from my/our body/bodies, and be replaced with the warm, loving energy of [God, Allah, whatever]. I am one with the Infinite Power. I allow the healing energy, the loving light of [God, Allah, whatever] to flow through me, healing me, and revitalizing me. I now live in love, harmony and peace.”

When you have finished, give some consideration to the majesty of the universe and the amazing array of beings it contains. When you implement the latter part of this meditation exercise it expands and prolongs the feeling of connectivity with the Divine Essence and generates a greater sense of wellbeing, much like a long overdue trip home can, only on a much more profound level.

As with the physical kind, the more you do exercises the easier they become, so give some thought to how you can implement these into your daily routine and start getting a great mental and spiritual work out.

By Lee Waterhouse

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