Always Well Within

Calm Your Mind, Ease Your Heart, Embrace Your Inner Wisdom

Category: Mindfulness & Meditation (Page 1 of 15)

How to Create a Simple and Supportive Meditation Space

How to create a simple and supportive meditation space

Recently, I ran across a Pinterest pin with a a checklist for creating your meditation space.  The pin listed items divided up by the senses plus some extras, like these:

  • Calming pictures
  • Ornaments
  • Meditation Mp3
  • Relaxing playlist
  • Oil diffuser
  • Oil burner
  • Incense
  • Blanket
  • Rug
  • Cushions
  • Herbal tea
  • Bells
  • Fresh flowers
  • Plants
  • Meditation cushion

Those items might be nice if you want to create a cozy space for self-discovery, personal reflection, or listening to the whispers of your heart.  But, believe me, not a single one of these items is necessary for mindfulness meditation.  You don’t even need a room.

To be clear, I’m speaking about the practice of mindfulness meditation, not meditations or guided visualizations meant to help you relax, increase your self esteem, or improve your body image.  Those can be helpful, but they’re completely different from mindfulness meditation.

The only thing you truly need to meditate is your mind.  Meditation is about working with your mind, whatever the environment.  However, in the beginning it’s helpful to have a relatively quiet and supportive ambiance in order to establish and stabilize your practice.

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Is Meditation the Best Solution for Stress and Overwhelm?

Too busy to meditate?

Have you tried to meditate to manage stress and overwhelm, but found it impossible to maintain a regular practice?

No doubt, you want to meditate for a reason. You know that mindfulness meditation is good for you – for your physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being.

But perhaps you’ve come to see meditation as another pressure and resent the time it takes away from your real-world obligations. Sometimes, you may feel aversion at the very thought of meditation. And, when you try to meditate amidst all the pressing demands of your life, sitting still may feel excruciatingly difficult.

How do you get through this?

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How to Overcome Restlessness in Meditation and in Life

We live in a speedy, restless age.  So much so that the constant agitation can change our physiology, causing us to be even more prone to edginess.  As a result, as much as we might desire it, trying to sit still for a few minutes of peace can feel like torture:

  • Your mind races with uncontrollable thoughts.
  • You can’t get comfortable.
  • You can’t sit still.
  • You notice every itch and minor discomfort.
  • You feel compelled to get up.
  • Your must-do list calls to you like a Siren.
  • You wonder, again and again, when your ten minutes will be over.
  • You feel anxious, excited, distressed or overcome by other emotions.
  • You try too hard and then feel more stressed.
  • You begin to judge yourself for your restlessness.

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Climate Change: 3 Ways You Can Make a Difference Through Mindful Consumption

How you can positively impact climate change

When times feel dark and chaotic, I turn to The World We Have, A Buddhist Approach to Peace and Ecology by Thich Nhat Hanh for guidance.

You don’t have to be a Buddhist to follow the 5 Mindfulness Trainings Hanh shares in this guide.  They provide a non-sectarian global ethic, not associated with a particular religion, race, or ideology, relevant to everyone.

Hanh says,

The bells of mindfulness are sounding.  All over the Earth, we are experiencing floods, droughts, and massive wildfires.  Sea ice is melting in the Arctic and hurricanes and heat waves are killing thousands.  The forests are fast disappearing, the deserts are growing, species are becoming extinct every day, and yet we continue to consume, ignoring the ringing bells.

All of us know that our beautiful green planet is in danger.  Our way of walking on the Earth has a great influence on animals and plants.  Yet we act as if our daily lives have nothing to do with the condition of the world.  We are like sleepwalkers, not knowing what we are doing or where we are heading.  Whether we can wake up or not depends on whether we can walk mindfully on our Mother Earth.  The future of all life, including our own, depends on our mindful steps.  We have to hear the bells of mindfulness that are sounding all across our planet.  We have to start learning how to live in a way that a future will be possible for our children and our grandchildren.

Hanh’s message feels more important than ever, especially given the new U. S. administration, which denies climate change as a hoax and is determined to dismantle environmental protections at lightening speed.

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21 Meditation Tips You Need to Know As a Beginner

Meditation Tips for Beginners

Meditation has changed my life for the better in so many ways.

It has helped me become more relaxed, peaceful, loving, and accepting of myself.  I’m less inclined to fret about the past or worry about the future.  I’m less likely to create suffering for myself and others by engaging in storms of fantastic emotion.

More and more, I’m able to see, understand, and change my habitual patterns of thought and emotion, the ones that bring unhappiness and suffering.  This isn’t all due to meditation, but meditation has played a significant role.

I’m not perfect, of course.  I still get waylaid by my beliefs and emotions from time to time, but less often.  I still have plenty of fears to deal with, but I’m less afraid of them.

Having taught mindfulness meditation for more than ten years, I’ve witnessed the remarkable shifts hundreds of people have made as they’ve learned to meditate as well.

They’ve discovered:

  • An incredible sense of freedom that arrives when you’re no longer the victim of your thoughts and emotions.
  • A spaciousness of mind that makes you less perturbed by all that’s going on around you.
  • A deep feeling for the fullness of the present moment, when one’s senses come fully alive.
  • A warmth of heart that makes loving themselves and others a natural expression of their truest self.

This is what I would like for you too. So I’ve gathered together my best tips on mindfulness meditation to help you get started. Or to help you get started again if you’ve hit a roadblock in your meditation practice.

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Ordinary and Extraordinary Mindfulness: What’s the Difference?

Secular Mindfulness | Buddhist Mindfulness

People throw the word “mindfulness” about these days as a panacea for almost every possible trouble from pain to high blood pressure to psoriasis.  For many people, mindfulness does indeed offer an effective solution for an array of practical challenges.  Research backs up its potency too, in studies conducted with participants who have received bona fide mindfulness training.

More and more, people view mindfulness as a self-help technique, entirely divorced from its origin or ultimate purpose.  This single word describes a spectrum of awareness training used in such oddly different places as the military and law enforcement, elementary schools, health care settings, cognitive behavioral therapy, and traditional Buddhist centers.

This concerns me because secular mindfulness typically differs from traditional mindfulness in significant ways.  The modern world has appropriated the word “mindfulness,” just like it swallowed up the word “zen,” which originally contained such profound meaning.

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