With Tai Chi Meditation, not only are you reaping the mental benefits of de-stressing your inner core. You are also getting physical exercise through the movement of your body. Like Yoga, Tai Chi Meditation practices controlled movements. This control comes from the careful use of the muscles in your legs, torso, arms, almost every part of your body. This leads to physical sanctity as well as inner peace.
The practice of Tai Chi Meditation has also become known as Movement Meditation. In this practice, you do not sit still and ruminate; instead, you move your chi through your body to reach out and eliminate the stress that you feel. This is practiced through constant movement of the body. The movement is slow, but constant. You are constantly shifting your weight from one side to the other of your body. While doing this you are slowly and in a large circular motion moving the extensions of your body. Your thoughts are focused entirely on the movements of your body. The movements are in perfect control and alignment with one another.When you have gathered a lot of stress and are having a hard time letting it go, one of the best known ways to handle it is through meditation. Some people may think that sitting and meditating on their problems is a way to add stress, not decrease it. But contemplation and reflection on the things that are causing stress does help to eliminate it. If you’re a person that can not sit still and deliberate on what causes your stress, Tai Chi Meditation will get you where you need to go.
Tai Chi Meditation has been in practice for hundreds of years. Its historical roots are still up for debate today. There are beliefs surrounding its origination, but no proven facts. What is known, however, is that it is an ancient Chinese practice and one that works. Its purpose is to channel your concentration into the movements of your body and align those thoughts with the focus of your mind. In this way you are releasing the stressors from your body. You are sending your chi or life force to all parts of your body through physical movement which leaves no room for stress. It is eliminated through practice of this method.
Tai Chi meditation is a practice that will continue to de-stress those who regularly participate. It is an ancient practice that has been proven. It encourages movement of the body in alignment with movement of the chi. Stress will no longer be a word that is combined with fear and negativity to those who regularly practice tai chi meditation.
During the hectic times that make up the end of the year, a meditation garden offers a refuge from the hustle and bustle of modern life. Such gardens can be incorporated into traditional landscapes or designed to be completely separate. All that’s needed is a plan.
Meditation gardens provide a place for relaxation, rejuvenation and contemplation. They generally are subtly beautiful, private and designed with the individual in mind. The design and installation can even be an exercise in meditation.
There are only a few elements considered important in meditation gardens. There should be visual elements of green plants, a path (even a short one will work to provide a sense of a getaway), comfortable seating, a water feature, and inspirational art, natural features or flowers.
Some experts believe a meditation garden should have a roof or canopy to increase the sense of privacy. An arbor or trellis planted with vines, a spreading tree or arching clumps of bamboo will work. Choose plants that match the local site conditions and plant them well for quick establishment.
Other interesting items to include are plants that move in the breeze such as bamboo, hanging baskets and vines. Scent can add to the meditative experience. Include a species with fragrant blooms or leaves that are pleasing to you. Herbs are good choices; favorite scents include rosemary and lemon thyme.
Spend time in the garden, whether designed for contemplation or not, this time of year. Listen to the neighborhood children playing, the call of birds, the rustle of the wind and hum of bees. Let the delightful sights and sounds nourish your spirit and soul.
Just as the soft rains fill the streams,
pour into the rivers, and join together in the oceans,
so may the power of every moment of your goodness
flow forth to awaken and heal all beings–
those here now, those gone before, those yet to come.
By the power of every moment of your goodness,
may your heart’s wishes be soon fulfilled
as completely shining as the bright full moon,
as magically as by a wish-fulfilling gem.
By the power of every moment of your goodness,
may all dangers be averted and all disease be gone.
May no obstacle come across your way.
May you enjoy fulfillment and long life.
For all in whose heart dwells respect,
who follow the wisdom and compassion, of the Way,
may your life prosper in the four blessings
of old age, beauty, happiness and strength.
Gratitude meditation is one of the most powerful and rewarding exercises we can practice. To develop an attitude of gratitude creates contentment, true happiness and bliss. Gratitude makes us feel good and meditation helps us to a state of deep relaxation and contemplation.
Gratitude meditation can be incorporated together or you can spend a few minutes before you meditate doing some deep breathing relaxation techniques while you think of all the things you are grateful for in your life.
Breathing in through your mouth expands your chest, however when you breath in through your nose your abdomen extends causing the diaphragm to pull air to the bottom of your lungs which carries a healthy dose of oxygen into your bloodstream which will help you to become relaxed. Anthony Robbins teaches inhaling on a ratio of 1 holding for 4 and exhaling for 2. The ratio is the guide. So if you slowly inhale for example to the count of 4 you will hold your breath for the count of 16 and then exhale very slowly through your mouth to the count of 8. Repeat this exercise 10 times if you can. Simply find a number that you are comfortable with and build the ratio gradually.
When you are ready, lie down or sit in a chair suitable for meditation and close your eyes. Allow your muscles to relax, Let go of your thoughts and begin your breathing exercise. When you feel relaxed and comfortable think of everything you are grateful for in your life. I usually give thanks for my life and my healthy body, my family and friends. I give thanks for special moments like a hug from my little granddaughter. The trees, flowers, birds singing and the wonders of nature create gratitude in me. There is so much to be grateful for. And the more we are grateful for the more we receive.
Whether you choose to practice gratitude meditation or gratitude relaxation and breathing I’m sure you will enjoy either, and if you practice on a regular basis you will certainly achieve bliss and happiness.
Heart meditation helps you with your ability to love and also your ability to let things go, both of which are very important in everyday life when dealing with other people, whether its loved ones or just acquaintances. Your ability to love effects your relationships on many levels, the ability to let go is also very important as resentment and anger can build up to dangerous levels if left unchecked.
Heart meditation helps on both of these matters by activating two important chakras, the heart chakra and the navel chakra. The heart chakra is in the heart centre which is located between the breast and slightly to the left. The navel chakra is located about 2 to 3 inches below your navel.
To practice the heart meditation firstly take your usual meditating position (heart meditation is not dependent on position and can be practiced in any), my favorite is to sit on a meditation cushion cross legged, with my knees touching the floor and my back straight.
Heart meditation is aligned with your breathing so you might want to take a minute to relax and take a few deep breaths. When you are comfortable, breathe in and imagine the breath going into your heart center.
The second stage is, when you breathe out, imagine your breath is flowing down to your navel chakra; this stimulates a feeling of letting go.
The third stage of heart meditation is when you breathe in you imagine you breathe in from your navel chakra to your heart center.
Stage two is then repeated with an inner feeling of letting go.
Stage three is repeated again, as you imagine that you breathe in from your navel to your heart center.
The process is repeated between stage 2 and stage 3 until your meditation is over.
When you have practiced and mastered the heart meditation technique, you may like to imagine when breathing to your heart center that a white light and a feeling of love is engulfing the heart, some yogi have said that the feeling of love is so intense that it has brought such joy and a inner peace that is unrivaled.
To do the walking meditation, you need a private place with enough space for at least five to ten paces in a straight line. You are going to be walking back and forth very slowly, and to the eyes of most Westerners, you'll look curious and disconnected from everyday life. This is not the sort of exercise you want to perform on the front lawn where you'll attract unnecessary attention. Choose a private place.
The physical directions are simple. Select an unobstructed area and start at one end. Stand for a minute in an attentive position. Your arms can be held in any way that is comfortable, in front, in back, or at your sides. Then while breathing in, lift the heel of one foot. While breathing out, rest that foot on its toes. Again while breathing in, lift that foot, carry it forward and while breathing out, bring the foot down and touch the floor. Repeat this for the other foot. Walk very slowly to the opposite end, stand for one minute, then turn around very slowly, and stand there for another minute before you walk back. Then repeat the process. Keep you head up and you neck relaxed. Keep your eyes open to maintain balance, but don't look at anything in particular. Walk naturally. Maintain the slowest pace that is comfortable, and pay not attention to your surroundings. Watch out for tensions building up in the body, and release them as soon as you spot them. Don't make any particular attempt to be graceful. Don't try to look pretty. This is not an athletic exercise, or a dance. It is an exercise in awareness. Your objective is to attain total alertness, heightened sensitivity and a full, unblocked experience of the motion of walking. Put all of your attention on the sensations coming from the feet and legs. Try to register as much information as possible about each foot as it moves. Dive into the pure sensation of walking, and notice every subtle nuance of the movement. Feel each individual muscle as it moves. Experience every tiny change in tactile sensation as the feet press against the floor and then lift again.
Notice the way these apparently smooth motions are composed of complex series of tiny jerks. Try to miss nothing. In order to heighten your sensitivity, you can break the movement down into distinct components. Each foot goes through a lift, a swing; and then a down tread. Each of these components has a beginning, middle, and end. In order to tune yourself in to this series of motions, you can start by making explicit mental notes of each stage. Make a mental note of "lifting, swinging, coming down, touching floor, pressing" and so on. This is a training procedure to familiarize you with the sequence of motions and to make sure that you don't miss any. As you become more aware of the myriad subtle events going on, you won't have time for words. You will find yourself immersed in a fluid, unbroken awareness of motion. The feet will become your whole universe. If your mind wanders, note the distraction in the usual way, then return your attention to walking. Don't look at your feet while you are doing all of this, and don't walk back and forth watching a mental picture of your feet and legs. Don't think, just feel. You don't need the concept of feet and you don't need pictures. Just register the sensations as they flow. In the beginning, you will probably have some difficulties with balance. You are using the leg muscles in a new way, and a learning period is natural. If frustration arises, just note that and let it go.
STOP FOR A FEW MOMENTS. Sit quietly, with a straight back and gently close your eyes. Feeling the rhythm of the breath as it enters and leaves the body, allow yourself to let go of past and future, and come into the present moment; being with exactly what is - now.
Bring your attention to the feeling of the body, accepting it just the way it is - with kindness. Allow yourself to accept all the sensations and feelings of the body completely.
Breathe in deeply, with a sense of trust and well-being: breathe out, letting go of tension, allowing any tightness to dissolve.
Then, focus on the normal breathing; just the feeling of breathing in, breathing out.
Imagine yourself surrounded by light - perhaps a golden-coloured light if you like gold. Being with the sensation of the body breathing in, breathing out, draw the light into the body as you breathe - maybe through the nostrils, the heart or the head. Imagine light saturating the body, through every pore.
Think to yourself: 'May this being be well,' and turn the calming effect of the meditation towards this being: 'May this being be calm.' Suffuse your whole body with this calm and kindly attention.
Then, let your awareness explore the body: moving around the head and face, gradually down the neck, the back and the chest, spreading right down the finger-tips; then down the legs, to each toe; drawing on the good energy of the breath, expanding and embracing the heart.
Focusing more on the out-breath, let go of the memories, the grudges, the grievances; let it all go. Begin again with each breath.
Picture yourself in your mind's eye as you are now. Make peace with this view of yourself, through forgiveness, compassion, gentleness. 'May this being be well.' Suffuse this picture with gentle, warm light from the heart, then let it go.
Next, picture your parents, let them into your mind. Make peace with their image: 'May you be well,' bathing them with soft light, with gratitude.
Observe thoughts arising. Memories of yourself as a child, perhaps something painful or something you have never made peace with. Let it be in the mind, in the light.
Then bring up an image of your daily situation, at home or wherever, with the people it involves. People you like or dislike, feel conflict with, love, fear or worry for. 'May these beings be well.' Put aside aversion, fear, worry, guilt; at this moment, allow yourself to be kind.
Think of someone you know who is having a difficult time; send these feelings of kindness towards them. Breathe in light, breathe out wishing them well.
Gradually open up more and more, from the people you see every day to nobody special; and even those for whom you have hardly a memory. Recognise them as human beings with ambitions, hopes, problems, anxieties, joy - just like you! Give them some life in your perceptions.
And, even more remote, acknowledge all the people you can conceive of in this world. This may be a faint feeling, but open up the heart to allow them into consciousness, to be felt. See what the mind does, how it reacts indignantly about some people - such as political figures. Let go of that indignation for this moment. Allow a sense of peace to envelop all beings: the liked, the disliked, familiar and unfamiliar.
And then imagine the planet Earth as seen from space. Extend this sense of peace to the planet we live on, embracing it with your heart, surrounding it with light.
Turning your attention to that sense of peace and light allow it to expand outwards, without limit, letting the sense of 'me' and 'the world' dissolve in the stillness of the present. Then turn your attention back in towards itself; upon the feeling of knowing 'the screen of the mind', the place where images arise. Let it be quite empty or full, choiceless, being illuminated by the soft light from the heart, light from the breath; warm, gentle; beginning, letting go, patient kindness.
Gently come back to the rhythm of the breath, and when you are ready, slowly open your eyes.
Tuning into nature has all the usual benefits of meditation and helps you connect with your surroundings. For even greater benefit, you can intentionally take in and run the quantum energy in your surroundings, releasing blocks to your health, emotional and spiritual well being. My articles on "grounding" and "running your energies" cover specific meditations for moving quantum energy. This "tree meditation" is a simpler exercise for obtaining some of those same benefits.
If you have the chance, you can do this exercise in a park, woods or at the side of a hiking trail. Otherwise, it works fine in a comfortable chair at home, using your imagination to visualize the serene outdoor surroundings.
Imagine a small creek, at the edge of a woods. You're on a tree stump, sitting comfortably, listening to the creek and birds. The sun is on your face, warming and relaxing you.
As you listen, you feel more a part of the natural scene, as you become almost a part of the stump. You can feel the energy of the tree that was once there. Your body feels connected, as if you've replaced the tree. Any tension and negative emotions sinks from your body, down through the trunk and into a very deep root extending towards the center of the Earth.
Your feet and legs feel connected to the ground, and energy runs up through your feet, like the shallower roots that fed the tree.
Golden sunlight, and the energy of the air, soak and pour in through your head, the way a tree absorbs sun through its leaves. Your arms and body are warmed by this light, like the branches of the tree.
Feel the energy from the earth and the sky filling and moving through your body, rejuvenating and releasing blocks along the way. Any excess energy continues down through the stump and down the deep root where it's released into the ground.
Relax, and let the energy of the sky and earth continue to run.
When you feel ready, take a few deep breaths and stretch, making your separation from the tree. As you get up, you will take some of this new energy with you, feeling more invigorated.
Say the word, "love" quietly to yourself right now, a couple of times, listen to the resonance of it, and wonder about what it means. The word love is one of the sweetest sounds in the language. Listen to how soft it is, soft as a glove.
Depending on how you're feeling at the moment, you may be a bit defensive when you think about love, or you may embrace the opportunity to enjoy yourself. Accept whatever mood you're in as part of the experience, and experiment with these questions:
When have you known love in your life?
When you think of what love is, whom have you loved?
In your current life, who is it you love the most intensely?
Remember some specific times when you have felt love. It could with another person, a pet, a wild animal, or some aspect of nature such as the ocean or sky, a tree.
Being with that dog, that sunrise, that grandparent, that child.
Listening to that particular piece of music, watching that wave.
Being awakened by the touch of your mate. Seeing a baby. Meeting a friend who has been away for a long time. Singing your heart out. Making love, holding, being held by your lover.
It could be a sense of well being as you gaze at a sunset. Or standing in a forest, feeling the presence of the trees, loving them. Receiving the warmth and radiance of the sun on your face as a loving touch.
Seeing horses running free and loving their noble spirit. Loving the sound of the stream flowing over the rocks. Reveling in water when you are thirsty and drink a glass. Or the way you cherish a breath of air when you step outside on a glorious day.
Have you experienced loving unconditionally? Being loved unconditionally? When have you felt, "I love everyone"? When have you felt yourself being loved, by a person, by God, by nature?
Let your heart bathe in this experience now.
Different faces might come, different sensations in your body, many different emotions. Everyone and everything you have ever loved, and everyone who has ever loved you, flowing through your awareness.
As you recall these times, how does your body change? How does your breathing change? What clues you in to this feeling we call love?
Now dwell, for several minutes, with all these impressions. Savor the way your breathing feels as you invite love into your body again.
Love wants to permeate you everywhere. Let it. As you remember the state of love, let the feeling flood into all the dark areas of your being, everything you are ashamed of. Let it flood into your best, most presentable, virtuous places. Soak it up, through and through, into your heart and belly, into every secret place.
Sitting there, or lying there, love your skin. Love your bones, and love the Earth attracting you in to the center. Love the air around you, the space around you, the light in the air. Let your love expand of its own accord in all directions, out from your heart to the front, rear, sides, down, up.
Every day, spend some time breathing with the experience of love. Think of anyone or anything you love, and simply be with the sensations and emotions, feel it all. Build the love back into your body and soul.
Every moment of love you've ever experienced still exists in your being, resonating now like a hum in your cells. This is more than an image, more than a memory; it is a living current that grows stronger with awareness. When you feel the movement of love flowing through you this way, you are tuning in to your personal body of love.
THE TENDERNESS OF NATURAL FORCES
Love is a tangible phenomenon, not just a romantic ideal. It is a sensory experience that can be cultivated, and that we can learn to dwell in.
Every moment we are being infused with extreme tenderness by the natural forces. Meditation is the process of delicately turning our attention to the ways that nature is always and infinitely holding and nurturing us. The techniques of meditation throughout the ages consist of many different ways of engaging with some aspect of how life renews itself - the flow of breath, or the rhythm of the heart, or the way that sound and silence play with each other. Through meditation and body awareness we move into a world we crave to enter, in which our dozen senses are awake to what we have. Through these modes of perception we directly experience the suffusion of love with each breath and each heartbeat.
Through such embodied meditation we come into rapport with ourselves, with our environment, and with the rhythms of nature. We become intimate with our biological rhythms, with the music of life, with the laws of gravity, space, time, magnetism, and light. To meditate is to become engaged with the deep movement of life, giving in to the instinct to love. When we are in rapport this way, we feel we are in the right place, living the life we are meant to. We feel grateful to be alive. When we meditate on our relationships, we renew the rapport that sustains and strengthens those bonds.
Embracing this inner connection powerfully enhances your health, deepens and clarifies your relationships, and is a wellspring of creativity. You are fully alive. You are at home in yourself, at home in the universe, at home in love, no matter where you go.
In this meditation technique, you will focus on your breath to develop an unconscious connection so the positive feelings of relaxation, peace and well-being will be established within you and you'll be capable of retrieving these feeling whenever you wish. Do not rush this process or hold unrealistic expectations of fast results. It takes time to train your mind to exercise basic control of your thoughts before you can direct the mind toward specific intentions.
The first stage of meditation is actually a technique in concentration. Once relaxed, focus on your breath for a few minutes. After you find yourself completely relaxed and at ease, focus on the sounds around you. Try not to form thoughts about the sounds but rather just listen and let your mind flow around and through the sounds without clarification or judgment. Do this exercise for 15 to 20 minutes at a time, releasing your attention to the sounds and focusing on your breath as you begin to be more aware of your body.
Repeat this exercise until you can easily follow known sounds, expected sounds and unexpected sounds with the same calm, focused attention. You might start with a favorite, calming or soothing piece of music. Next, once you have mastered the known sound concentration technique, you might focus on a classical piece of music you are not too familiar with. When you feel comfortable with being able to follow this piece of music without trailing off into uncontrolled thought, you are ready to move to the final sound exercise.
The final sound focus will be on unusual sounds, such Whale Songs, or Songs of the Wolves or digital sounds. When you are able to follow sounds without your mind wandering regardless of the source, you are ready for Level 2. Level 2 may take you several weeks of practice before you are able to stay focused for 15 to 20 minutes without your mind wandering. Give yourself the time. Remember, learning to control your thoughts through this concentration exercise is like building up a new muscle.
The second level in this technique for improving your meditation skills focuses on your imagination and visualization abilities. After going through the relaxation process and placing yourself in a comfortable position, focus on your breath for a few minutes until you are completely relaxed and centered. You are now going to create a scene in your mind of your favorite place. This favorite place may exist in reality or only in your mind. Take the time to carefully build a detailed image of this place where you can feel the air, hear the sounds, and be aware of the smells surrounding you as you place yourself in the center of this favorite place. Spend time in this place over and over in meditation until you can quickly and clearly call upon this imagery whenever you want. Along with the image will come all the feelings of well-being, joy, peace and happiness that associate to your favorite place.
The third level of meditation skill development focuses on a structured thought such as a favorite saying or aphorism. There are many to choose from. Use one that generates exploratory thought processes for you. Unlike previous exercises, you are now going to let your thoughts flow. Follow these thoughts through imagery, feelings and awareness until you know that you have absorbed the meaning of this aphorism thoroughly. What will surprise you is the depth and breadth of understanding an even simple saying can produce.
Using these techniques will open you to a world of thought management, directional focus and a deeper understanding of self and acceptance of others. By focusing on the breath as you develop your meditation and concentration skills, you will begin to unconsciously associate these peaceful and relaxed feelings with the control of your breath. Then when you are faced with a stressful situation, you can call up these feelings by simply slowing your breath and consciously relaxing your muscles. Using this technique, relaxation and feelings of well-being will always be available when you need it.
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