Archive for the ‘breathing’ Category

Guided Meditation on Loving Yourself   Leave a comment

I wrote a guided meditation back in February for a gathering at my church, and I thought I’d put it up to share with anyone who might be interested in guided meditations. I used to create these on the fly back in college, but this is the first one I’ve written in many years. I hope that it gives you what you need.


 

Make sure you are seated comfortably, with your head supported.
Sit back, close your eyes, feel your body supported by the seat and cushions beneath you.

Take a deep breath and release; feel your breath filling your entire body.
Continue taking deep breaths;
With each exhalation let go of some tension, stress, or tightness held in your body.

Feel your body become more relaxed with each breath.
Let yourself sink into the cushions supporting you.
With no tension in your body, let your body go limp, melting into the seat.

Continue feeling each breath fill your body, and now let each breath make you lighter
You gradually become lighter and lighter, becoming light as a bubble
Eventually you start to float, carefree and relaxed.

A door opens and in the eddies of wind you float outside.
Like a bubble carried on the breeze you rise up above the day-to-day world
The moon beckons you and fills your bubble self with light.
The light of the moon fills your senses, fills your mind.

As your vision clears you find you are now resting on a low tree branch.
You are no longer a bubble, but your normal body.
Looking around, you see that the tree branch you are on is just a few feet above a stream.
Gently, you push off of the branch and step into the stream
Walking slowly downstream out from under the shade of the tree
You feel the the water flowing around your ankles offering a gentle caress,
You feel the sun warming your back,
And hear the birdsong providing a relaxing melody in the background.

“Love is patient”

As you walk down the stream, you encounter a spot with a still pool on the side of the stream.
There are leaves swirling on the surface of this pool.
If you have felt frustrated or impatient with yourself recently, pick up a leaf from the pool,
Put your frustration or impatience on the leaf, and put it down in the stream to be washed away.
Release as many leaves to float away in the stream as you have frustrations,
Let go of whatever makes you impatient with yourself, or those that you love.
When there are no more leaves to release, you continue walking down the stream.

“Love is kind”

Further down the stream you find a deep pool of spring water spilling into the stream.
The spring has a smooth surface and when you approach you can see your reflection in the water.
Your reflection smiles up at you, beckons you into the pool,
and offers an apology to you for any unkindnesses you have said or done to yourself recently.
You step into the warm pool and soak in that apology to yourself.

“Love is not jealous”

After you have been soaking for a while a bunch of butterflies flutters nearby
The butterflies land on the rim of the pool and on your head and arms.
You can look at the butterflies up close, marveling at their fragile beauty.
The butterflies absorb any jealousy that you have been harboring towards anyone else,
and any lack of contentedness with yourself.
One by one they lift off and all fly away, taking your jealousy and discontent away with them.

“Love is not pompous nor inflated”

Eventually you get out of the pool and continue walking down the stream.
A warm rain starts to fall, gentle at first and gaining in intensity.
Each droplet of rain massages your head and body.
Any facade that you wear to face the outside world is softened by the rain, and maybe even washed away.

After the refreshing rain shower passes on, the sun comes out.
You notice a large flat rock near the stream and you lie down on it to dry off in the sun.
As the steam rises off of your hair and clothes,
let any other stresses, grudges, or criticisms that you hold evaporate with the water.
Feel the sun warming you like an I-love-you from God.

When dry and warm, relaxed and contented you start to feel lighter and lighter.
You become a feather lying on the rock.
A gentle breeze comes by and picks you up,
Lifting you higher and higher.
As the breeze carries you through the sky the day turns to evening, and then night.

You realize that you are no longer a feather dancing in the sky but are flying like a bird.
Feel the glorious wind rustling your feathers as you fly above the earth, surrounded by star light.
Look down and you can see the lights of the city below you.
You fly lower, feeling drawn towards something.
You see a building with an open door with light spilling out of the door.
You fly towards the light and then into the building.

You alight on a seat and settle your body into the cushion.
As you do so you gradually become aware of your arms, legs, and body resting comfortably in the seat.

When you are ready you open your eyes, refreshed and renewed.

 

1 Corinthians 13: 4-7

4Love is patient, love is kind.
It is not jealous,
Love is not pompous, it is not inflated.
5It is not rude,
it does not seek its own interests,
it is not quick-tempered,
it does not brood over injury,
6it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth.
7It bears all things, believes all things,
hopes all things, endures all things.

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Posted March 30, 2014 by mayakey in breathing, centering, spiritual practices

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Spring Detox – Time To Check Up On Good Health Habits   Leave a comment

Spring detox isn’t just about diet and supplements, although they are a major part, but it’s also about making sure that the body’s natural detoxification systems are supported normally. The plan that I follow/have developed over the years includes several things that are good everyday health habits that get taken for granted or left in the background much of the time. By this I mean habits like getting enough sleep, breathing deeply, and drinking enough water. These are all habits that go right along with being conscious of my body and its needs, but it is also really easy to get caught up in distractions and drift from an established habit. For me being really busy at work makes it harder for me to drink enough water since I get sucked into my computer, being busy at home makes it hard to get enough sleep, and any form of stress or anxiety can restrict breathing. Taking a few days to make sure I am actually DOING what I think I’m doing (although to be honest I don’t think I get enough sleep regularly) is really valuable for me in the context of living a conscious life.

These are all habits that support the body’s natural ability to detoxify. Sleep is when many organs recharge themselves, especially the liver and the skin, which are two major parts of the body’s detoxification system. Exhaling rids the body of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and any other gaseous contaminants. Water is obviously a major part of the body’s detoxification system since it is the vehicle the kidneys use to get rid of waste (urine).

Posted April 1, 2011 by mayakey in breathing, conscious living, health, self-care

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Centering vs. Anxiety   1 comment

Centering and meditation are pretty much the best medicine for anxiety; but anxiety is one of the strongest meditation interferences. Which one wins out? It depends on the level of commitment.

I am currently experiencing the worst anxiety of my life, including flirting with anxiety-induced depression for the first time. At the same time, part of my pre-pre-pregnancy lifestyle changes include committing to centering as a way to bring peace into my life. It is either a perfect storm (anxiety preventing meditation and centering), or a perfect opportunity (learning to meditate through anything and using centering to combat anxiety), and the difference is my level of commitment to internal peace.

One would think that a commitment to internal peace is a no brainer, right? Not for us “modern” humans! We feel the need to brag about our discomfort and dramatize our voluntarily adrenaline-packed lives. We are really good at finding internal peace, and then throwing it away. We insist on doing what feels “good” rather than what feels GOOD. It is a real challenge to stop every once and a while, take a deep breath, and just BE. It is a real challenge to silence the voices in our heads long enough to FEEL who we are at our cores, to FEEL what grounds us, and to FEEL our inner strengths. But when we do, it works; it works really well!

Feel an anxiety attack coming? Stop and take a deep breath. Empty your mind for just a moment as you feel the breath filling your body and then rushing away to leave you standing/sitting a little bit taller and a little bit stronger. Find a visual that helps you. My visual is a tree. A tree has a deep and wide root network, and when the wind blows, the top of the tree is flexible and bends. As a result a storm does not move or break the tree, and it will still be standing when the storm is gone. Taking these centering breaks regularly throughout the day, and whenever I feel a surge of anxiety, has really helped to keep the anxiety in check. I have only had one anxiety attack in weeks, and that one was related to my failure to consistently block out the anxiety while meditating.

So the score is tied: Anxiety 1 (for affecting meditation), Centering 1 (for reducing anxiety)

Centering Practice   1 comment

Right now one of the things that I am working on is centering. My new 6 month spiritual goal is to  habitually center myself periodically throughout the day. I really crave the peace of being centered during ordinary life, and yet I haven’t been able to it. I kept procrastinating, unable to make the commitment. The noise of “being busy” was too seductive. It is amazing how much of a trap busy-ness and stress are. Just think about how often people complain (brag) about  how late they were up working last night, or the all-nighter they had to pull, or the extra hours at work, or how much housework had to be done. In high school I actually kept a log of what time, to the minute, I went to bed and woke up so that I wouldn’t just be telling fish tales but substantiated stories about how little sleep I got. I keep the log as I reminder of my craziness. Plus it is one of those things that will make my kids roll their eyes, I hope. Our society is so focused on doing more in less time, and doing it louder and brighter. As my life circumstance change, I know that I need to break out of that cycle of busy – brainless – busy – brainless. And the only way to slow down, is to slow down. Centering is part of that for me.

I center on my breath. I tried centering prayer back in college (where you meditate using a specific word, and then at any time in your day you can think that word and re-center) but it didn’t work very well for me. The part where you regularly practice meditating using the specific word is where I got hung up, since I could never settle on a single word or phrase. I’ve also tried walking meditations but I’ve yet to figure out how that is supposed to work.

My basic breath meditation evolved from the counting meditation where you repeatedly count 10 breaths. If your mind wanders, you start counting at one again. In college I was able to do the counting meditation without my mind wandering. And then things changed. At some point I got fed up with never getting past “4” and decided to just think “inhale” and “exhale”. I figured that I could concentrate long enough for one breath at at time and I wouldn’t feel like a dunce when my mind wandered. That evolved quickly into not necessarily thinking “inhale” and “exhale” and just feeling them instead. I feel the breath come in my nose, fill my lungs, and lift up my entire body; and then I feel my lungs empty and my body relax. Mentally, on the exhale I go down through the first chakra (base chakra, located at the base of the spine) into the ground and into the spiritual body that connects us all, which brings me back up and into my center. At first it seemed weird to have to connect to the universe first in order to connect with myself, but now it actually makes sense. Since I’ve been practicing this for a while, it almost automatic when I think of it.

That is what my goal relates to. Not so much the meditating and centering at night, but throughout the day. Just meditating at night is great, but I felt almost like I had two separate lives. Now I want to have mini-meditations consisting of one or two breaths throughout the day. At work I have a Task in my Outlook that used to be titled “Move” to remind me to get up and stretch every 30 minutes (I just keep hitting the button for 30-minute snooze). Now I am using that to remind myself to take a short mental break and take a breath. Two weeks of focusing on nightly meditation, Mountain pose and Sun Salutation in the the morning, and periodic centering breaks during the day are already making a difference. Nothing else about life has changed, but I already feel much more at peace.