The Wonders of Meditation
How Meditation helped Mr Angry! First of our monthly ‘alternative business’ slots on Cambridge 105 with John Froggett and Helen Meissner about meditation
Meditation Tips from John Froggett, Council Member for Complementary Therapists Association and founder/chief executive of The Accountancy Practice. Written by John and Helen Meissner.
In an era where we are expected to be ‘ever ready’, bombarded by comparisons on social media and challenged by opportunities for Personal Best’s this is your chance to carve out something for you in this chaotic world. Your chance to step off the world for a few minutes a day, and just BE. So often we end the day reeling from what we’ve managed to accomplish, immediately followed by a self critical mental list of those things we didn’t perhaps even start, which are now at the top of tomorrow’s list! No wonder it becomes harder to wind down and recharge when we sleep. We are on the go all the time.
I have noticed that everyone comes to meditation from different places, and recently the definition has helpfully broadened from what was quite a strict practice which was almost impossible to achieve for most mortals (so failing, yet again, was on the cards unless you were fortunate) to something which is somewhat kinder to the soul, something which is less rigid and more conscious, the more holistic approach which includes mindfulness, yoga and even, shock horror, ‘moving’ meditation!
Personally, I came to it from a place which could be labelled ‘anger issues’ and about ten years ago found myself to drawn to spiritual solutions and I have to say (and my family would agree) regular meditation has been my saviour. And in the classic way of someone who has ‘seen the light’ I wanted to share my discoveries with anyone who was interested, so started a couple of weekly meditation sessions, which I ran for a number of years.
Here’s some tips I hope are useful, for people who can’t avoid the buzz about meditation and are curious, as well as those for whom it is a familiar and welcome part of their life.
Be Kind to yourself. There’s no right or wrong way to meditate. There’s lots of routes to the destination and you need to try them and see which works for you, there’s no end goal. If you gradually enter a calmer mindset, feel more balanced and are able to offer more mindful reaction to every day stressors, then you are on the right track. We can’t change what happens to us, all we can do is change how we react to it.
You can meditate anywhere and whenever. However for people starting out, somewhere you feel safe and secure is usually more conducive and first thing and or last thing are often preferred initially. I found those times were best for me and helped me start the day more calm and sleep better at night.
Preparation. Make an effort to find a comfortable seat, or position on a cushion (anywhere you can be upright and not in discomfort basically) where you are not going to be distracted, the phone won’t go, there’s no additional stimuli. Sit in your spot, and give yourself permission to just be. Be compassionate towards yourself. Be kind. Be present.
Some people find a bell or similar can help them go into a new ‘zone’, and help prepare your mind for what is coming. I find it helpful to have an alarm set, I’ve heard good things about Insight Timer, a free app for your phone, and at first, aim for five minutes to start with and increase it from there as you see fit.
Getting started. You might want to pick some simple background instrumental music, there’s loads online, and allow yourself to breathe. And notice your breath. Counting breaths to ten, over and again is helpful for some people, others like to have their eyes open and let their gaze focus on something such as a candle or a crystal, or maybe you’d prefer to listen to guided meditations (which you can find online). A ‘body scan’ is a simple and useful way to enter a meditative state. Start at your toes and take your mind on a journey all the way up your body, checking for tension or pain and noticing everything about your body.
Warning! Be aware that your brain is not going to play ball, it is working against you here. So expect that and don’t fight it or feel annoyed about it. Simply move back to your chosen method of meditation. Your brain is geared up to think all the time, even when you are asleep, and it will fight you when you wish to tame it! Don’t judge, just shelve the idea and resume.
If you enjoy the support of others, consider joining an online community – Headspace and Breathworks are good, or find a regular session with groups, where peer support can be very powerful and inclusive.
The less time you think you have for meditation, the more you need it! If you are feeling more stressed , distracted and overworked than usual that is the time where you need to make more time to meditate. It seems counter intuitive but I’ve found that a few minutes clearing your mind somehow resets it, and when you return to your tasks, something you had forgotten jumps into your mind, or previously unrealised solutions become evident which make everything work more smoothly. It’s so easy when we’re really busy to become reactive, especially to outside stimulus on a laptop or phone. A few minutes ‘taking time out’ can make all the difference to your productivity.
I use meditation to solve issues, simply ask the universe before the session for help. What I call ‘Ask it then park it’. No need to dwell on it, just carry on as usual. You may then find the solution presents itself at the end or soon after.
‘Moving meditation’. You can transform a shave, shampoo, shower, or bath in to a mindfulness practice by again using your senses as a way to focus your attention on what you’re doing, not what you’re thinking. This shift in focus helps your mind get quiet so you can hear what your inner wisdom is whispering to you. You can turn walk into a moving meditation, drop your attention in to your body and feel your weight transferring, your feet peeling off and then falling back down to the floor, your body moving through space. Walk slowly, staying present to every step, and drop the tendency to think about what will happen when you arrive.
As a business, The Accountancy Practice now incorporates meditation and self care into the way we run our business and have seen the benefits of a holistic approach in the way we approach our business needs as well as that of our clients. I hope it helps you and your clients. Do get in touch with John if you’d like to discuss this more or have any questions about it email@example.com