As Pagans, we tend to feel a deep seated connection with nature. There’s a realisation that something underlies the busyness of our day to day life. For many people, a walk in the open air, a ramble through fields and woodlands is the perfect reset, dropping into the sense of harmony and well-being that lives within us.
How do we attain that feeling when we can’t get out? It’s not always easy to commune with nature when you have mobility problems, nor walk out in the wonderful loneliness when the outer world feels a hostile place to be.
What can we do to reach that inner calm, to take away the stresses that hamper our connection with what lies within us?
When I was in rehab following my stroke, I was introduced to mindfulness, as a way of stilling my rambling brain, and finding peace in simply being.
Professor Mark Williams, former director of the Oxford Mindfulness Centre, says ‘it’s easy to stop noticing the world around us. It’s also easy to lose touch with the way our bodies are feeling and to end up living ‘in our heads’ – caught up in our thoughts without stopping to notice how those thoughts are driving our emotions and behaviour.’
Reminding yourself to take notice of your thoughts, feelings, body sensations and the world around you is the first step to mindfulness. As well as doing this in daily life, you can undertake a mindfulness meditation. This involves sitting silently and paying attention to thoughts, sounds, the sensations of breathing or parts of the body, bringing your attention back whenever the mind starts to wander.
To read more about this, follow this link to the NHS website. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/mindfulness/
The following link is to a short mindful breathing exercise, from Every Mind Matters, which gives you a brief glimpse of mindfulness.
and here is a slightly longer one, about ten minutes, to settle back and relax into.
Is a mindfulness meditation the same as meditation? What is the difference? Mindfulness meditation is a form of clear mind meditation. Attention is paid to the natural rhythm of the breath while sitting, or perhaps slow walking. Mindfulness is the awareness of ‘some-thing’ while meditation could be described as the awareness of ‘no-thing’
Meditation takes us away from the conditions in which we find ourselves and transforms us into something more calm and peaceful, able to see and judge things in an easier, gentler way. There are many forms of meditation.
Many years ago, I was fortunate to come across the Brahma Kumaris. Who are they? Their web site says they are committed to helping individuals transform their perspective of the world from material to spiritual. It is from them I learned the principles of Raja Yoga Meditation. They arranged sessions for my family in a friendly setting which we loved. There was no pressure, no cost.
‘Raja Yoga meditation is an open-eyed technique that can be used by anyone, anywhere – whilst you commute or at your desk, as well as at home.’
Nowadays they offer events on line, such as an introduction to Raja Yoga Meditation, afternoon, and guided meditations, useful for those of us who cannot easily get out and about. You can find out more on https://brahmakumaris.uk/events
Another way I find helpful to reconnect, and leave behind stresses at least for a while, is to make time to listen to music, really listen, not just have it playing in the background while you keep on being busy. You will find many examples of soothing music to listen to; google ‘meditation music’. The link below is to what is described as fantasy music/Celtic ambient music, about an hour’s worth. I love it. Settle down somewhere comfortable, put your phone on mute, and in your mind’s eye take a walk through that forest you’ve always wanted to meander through. Lift your eyes to the sky, see the light trickling through the trees, hear the bird song around you, remember who you are and where you’ve come from. Feel your heart lift, and simply be.
Written by Portland Jones, PF Disabilities Liaison for the West Midlands
This blog is based on my own experiences, understanding and outlook.
The links that I have given I have found via Google. I can make no assurances for the content.