Mindful Mondays Series
Gain an understanding of what meditation is, its proven benefits and the many ways to meditate. This short lecture provides information that can help you find a meditation practice that is best for you.
Meditation 101 Transcript
Hi, I’m Kim McDermott and I have been with the Mii amo Spa for 16 years. I am a senior member of the mindfulness staff here and offer a variety of services.
I offer lectures, classes and sessions either one-on-one or with a group. I have helped co-create many of our special mindfulness offerings here such as the Prayer Arrows, our Canyon Bathing Meditation and Medicine Wheel Meditation, as well as the New and Full Moon Ceremonies that we offer each month and have personally created all of the guided meditations on the Mii amo website for the Mii Time Meditation Series.
I love to share information and do so in many different ways. I feel that what I do here is my life’s work. It’s my passion so thank you for letting me share with you today about an overview of what meditation is and what some of the benefits are.
To me, meditation is truly about quieting this busy mind of ours and connecting to the mind within us – which I call our true mind – our essence, our soul. It’s about that connection within ourselves. Once you start to quiet the mind and start to connect within, it’s like a wide lens on a camera that begins to open and expand your inner vision and connection.
It expands your awareness within yourself and expands the awareness within your environment. It helps you to see what’s already there, that maybe you cannot when your mind is too busy. Meditation helps allow that expansion to happen, to remember the peace and calm within yourself that’s already there, and helps us stay present in our daily lives.
I would like to share a few of the many benefits meditation can have for you. It has been scientifically proven to help reduce stress and anxiety. Stress, along with our emotions, are a natural part of life. It’s part of our human experience here, so there is nothing wrong with stress or emotions. It’s how we handle our stress and emotions that affects our minds and bodies.
Most of us internalize our stress and our emotions whether we are aware of it or not. Meditation allows that awareness and then can help us to move the stress to release from the body and mind. Meditation helps you get you into that state of connection and balance within yourself.
Meditation can help improve our emotional health, it can help you feel and get back to that happiness, peace and calm that’s already there. It also enhances self-awareness, and can lengthen your attention span and clear your mind. Meditations can help with our with our sleep and are also used for help with pain management and it can actually help lower your blood pressure. These are just a few of the many benefits of meditation.
There are many different ways, different styles, and different modalities of meditation. There is no one way. There is no right way. We are all unique beings and it’s about finding the types of meditation or that style of meditation to help you get into that space of connection within yourself.
So allow yourself to try the hats on to see how it fits, how it feels, and what resonates with you. When you find the style and way that works for you, keep going to see what is there for you to experience. Continue to make time for meditation, time for yourself, time for that connection within, to allow the benefits that meditation brings naturally to you.
What might work for me might not work for you, so if a certain style does not work for you, that’s okay, move on to the next. Don’t try and force on yourself. Find the one that feels right for you.
Now I would like to talk about just a few different types of meditation. There are breath meditations, movement meditations, sound meditation, along with chanting and mantras and guided Meditations
Breath is used in most meditation. Focusing and using your breath is very powerful. The belly breath can actually help you get into a state of calmness and clarity very quickly.
When we come into the world we know how to breathe and then we forget when we start to go onto our minds. If you watch a baby breathe, as a baby breathes, his belly rises and as he exhales he lets the belly fall. The belly is where most of our internal organs are. It is the center of our being, the center of our body. This is our power center, our stability.
So focusing and re-training our bodies with the belly breath can help us become more clear and more confident. It helps maintain the circulation of energy and blood flow through our internal organs. Our heads should stay cool and our bellies warm, but most of the time our heads are hot and our bellies are cold, so that natural breath allows you to warm the internal organs to warm the belly so you can maintain that natural harmony within you. Physically, emotionally and mentally, it all works together.
Movement meditations are gentle movements. There is the practice of Tai Chi and Qi Gong. These are far east Asian modalities that use energy and breath. They’ve been around for thousands of years and can help create balance and strength.
The way I describe it is, we are more energy beings than physical beings, meaning we are made up of energy and we emit a life force energy that is about 3 feet around us. So Tai Chi and Qi Gong gather, and harness this life force energy, from the earth, from the universe, and then use this energy as intended. It uses the one of the laws of the universe, which is you first must receive, replenish and harness energy for yourself and then you can give and use your energy and power.
Most of the time we are pushing our energy out or pushing against our lives, and Tai Chi and and Qi Gong help us remember to first replenish and receive our energy so we can go out and give and move in our lives in the ways that we do, with ease and grace by being connected to our natural flow.
There’s also walking meditations that use the symbol of the circle. The circle is very powerful. It is a continuous movement and creates an amplification and can create manifestation. There are prayer circles, meditation circles, Labyrinths and Native American Medicine Wheels. The Labyrinth is a very simple sacred geometry symbol.
The way to use a Labyrinth is as you go in to the circle, first let go of something that no longer serves you in your life, or something you are complete with, and as you walk through the Labyrinth it gives you a chance to unwind to unravel to really let go of something. And then as you reach the center of the circle, giving yourself a moment to connect with the earth, and within yourself, and now that you have let go, and given yourself more room, now it is time to create something, to ask for what you want, wish or desire, with no limits or boundaries. Ask for anything and open and allow yourself to receive as you walk back through the circle and step into your life.
The Medicine Wheel is a Native American is a symbol of life and specifically the circle of life. The circle represents the perfection as well as the infinite since the circle has no beginning or end. Never ending and always new beginnings.
It represents the four directions – East, South, West and North. The four Cycles of Life – the newborn baby, the child, adulthood, and the elder. The four colors of people on the earth – the Red, Yellow, Black, and White. And the four seasons – Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter.
Other walking meditations can be walking through a forest, connecting with the nature and trees, or through a beautiful canyon. Here at Mii amo we offer Canyon Bathing, which the word bathing is about connecting and receiving the energy within nature.
Canyon Bathing is simply being present in nature with all of our senses fully alive. This practice can have a remarkably healing effect, and it can also awaken in us our profound connection with all living beings. It is a gentle, meditative approach to being with nature that can heal our relationship with ourselves and our relationship with the more-than human world.
It’s about connecting with the energy, the timelessness and the wisdom of this sacred canyon and all that is here within it. Walking in nature connects you with the earth, with the trees, the sounds of the birds and the wind.
There are sound meditations. Sound is very powerful. Sound creates an energy. It creates a vibration. It can help us connect with ourselves. That’s why we are so drawn to music. A few ways of sound meditation are crystal singing bowls, metal Tibetan bowls, gongs, bells and symbols. There’s also mantras and chanting, which are about creating a sound over and over again, and what that does is it raises the vibration within you. The sound creates an expansion, an opening within you through the vibration.
While in any meditative state, you will receive and experience that is yours, in those moments, whether it’s just a feeling or sense, or sometimes people see colors or get images of places or loved ones that have crossed over, and animals. Whatever you see, feel or sense, the experience is yours.
Sometimes you do not see or feel anything at all. I call that the void. That also means that you are there. Sometimes it may feel like you haven’t connected, but on some level you truly have. So allow yourself to go there, whichever way it shows up for you. Each time you connect will be a different experience.
And what I love is guided meditations. They allow you to focus, while a guide walks you through the steps into a relaxed meditative state, by focusing on the guiding voice. I feel it can get you into a deep state of connection very quickly.
Here at Mii amo, we offer what I spoke of today. But if you can’t be here with us, there are many resources to access to help find your way to begin or enhance your practice.
The internet is a great resource of information with YouTube videos and podcasts on many styles and ways of meditation. There are meditation apps to download to your phone such as Calm. What I really love is being in a room with like-minded people meditating together. It creates a powerful energy which allows a higher vibration within ourselves, the group, and the room.
Meditation is a personal practice. There is no right or wrong way. So try the hats on and see which way is best for you.
Thank you so much for letting me share my information with you and have a beautiful day.