Healing Hamilton

Assisting you on your path to physical, emotional, mental and spiritual well being.

Showing posts with label mediation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mediation. Show all posts

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Taking your monkey mind for a walk

"Monkey mind" is a Buddhist term meaning an unsettled or restless mind.   When we are busy doing things, our monkey mind usually isn't noticeable.  But when we try to relax that monkey comes bouncing out, and our thoughts follow it's crazy trajectory.  Instead of resting we're thinking about our jobs, our family responsibilities, financial commitments and any other thing the monkey finds interesting.   That darn monkey will even wake you up in the middle of the night if it thinks you haven't worried enough during the day.

So we look for ways to quiet the monkey.  Meditation, we're told, is the answer.  Still the monkey, find the quiet within.  Yes, meditation is the answer.  But don't think for one minute that monkey is going to cooperate!  You can light a candle, turn off your phone and sit on a meditation pillow but quieting the body and quieting the mind are two very different things.  And while meditation does require a stilling of the mind, it is not necessary to sit like a statue.

Moving meditation is a great option.  Tai chi and qi gong are two excellent examples of moving meditation.  The benefits are myriad, but learning these forms can be complicated and lengthy (it's worth it though!)   Here's an easy moving meditation you can do anywhere, anytime.  I learned this technique from Dr. Parmjit Singh  who is associated with McMaster University here in Hamilton, Ontario.

Go for a walk.  As you walk, you're going to touch each finger tip with your thumb (left thumb touches finger tips on left hand, right thumb touches finger tips on right hand).  Starting with the baby finger, touch each finger tip once until you get to the index finger, then reverse by touching the index finger again and work your way back to the baby finger.  Eight touches in all. 

As you do this you are going to control your breathing.  (Remember to breath with your diaphragm, the air going into your belly - don't raise your shoulders when you inhale.) You inhale for 4 touches and exhale for 4 touches.  Each inhale and exhale will be separated into 4 short breaths, timed to match your finger tip touching:

Touch thumbs to baby fingers - short inhale
Touch thumbs to ring fingers - short inhale
Touch thumbs to middle fingers - short inhale
Touch thumbs to index fingers - short inhale
Touch thumbs to index fingers - short exhale
Touch thumbs to middle fingers - short exhale
Touch thumbs to ring fingers - short exhale
Touch thumbs to baby fingers - short exhale

This technique gives you the benefits of mild exercise and meditation at the same time.   So quiet that monkey by taking it out for a walk!

If you do this walking meditation barefoot on the grass or at the beach you'll also be getting all the benefits of earthing!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Sound Healing

S is for Sound

Last year my A-Z entry for the letter "S" was Sound Healing - you can read it here. 

You might be wondering why I would choose the same subject again this year.  Well, I'm taking a different approach.   Rather than expect you to read about the benefits of sound healing,  I'll let you experience sound healing for yourself.  Right here.  Right now.

David Hickey is an incredibly talented sound healer who travels across North America with his Crystal Journey tour.  David's stated mission is "To create expansive, improvised and beautiful music, to awaken consciousness, to promote peace and to restore balance of the self and the planet." 

Click on the play button and give it a try.  Keep an open mind and listen for at least three minutes - it takes him that long to really get things going.  And close your eyes so you're not distracted by watching him play.

I hope you enjoyed it!

Click here to find out more about David and his healing Crystal Journey

Friday, April 13, 2012

Labyrinths - A Path to Healing

L is for Labyrinth

A labyrinth is an ancient symbol that relates to wholeness and healing.  It combines the imagery of the circle and the spiral into a meandering but purposeful path.   Labyrinths represent a journey to our own centre and back again out into the world.  They have long been used as meditation and prayer tools. 

A labyrinth is not a maze.  Mazes are puzzles with twists, turns and dead ends where many decisions are required to find your way to the centre.  Navigating a maze is a left-brain task that requires logic and sequential thinking.  A labyrinth on the other hand is a right-brain activity that invokes intuition, creativity and imagery.  It's a more passive, receptive experience where there's only one decision to make - to enter or not.  There's only one path in a labyrinth - the way in is the way out.  Once you decide to walk a labyrinth you're on the path to renewing the mind-body-spirit connection.

Research conducted by Harvard Medical School's Mind/Body Institute has found that focused walking meditation such as walking a labyrinth is highly effective at reducing anxiety.  Done on a regular basis walking a labyrinth can result in long-term health benefits including reduction of insomnia, reduction of chronic pain, lowering blood pressure and improved concentration.

If you're interested in walking a labyrinth in Canada or the U.S. click here to access the labyrinth locator.

Click here to see some beautiful labryinths and read a short history of labyrinths and mazes.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Watcha doin'?

"Watcha doin'" has got to be the most common question we ask others.  And when we're asked ourselves, we'll take time out of our busy schedule to answer.  "Oh" we say "I finally got the garage cleaned out.  And I  took all those books over to my neighbours yard sale.  I've just finished washing the car and now I'm driving the kids to soccer practice."  A typical Saturday?  Too bad!

In my opinion, our rush-about society puts far too much emphasis on doing.  We need more practice at just "being".  I know there's a lot of pressure not to be idle, not to waste time, to squeeze in just one more thing between finishing the laundry and putting the kids to bed.  So how do we make time to just "be"?

Sneak it in!  Hide it in the doing!  A great way to accomplish this is through Tai Chi. 

Tai Chi takes a lot of doing at first.  You attend classes to learn the postures and the names of the movements.  Depending on the form of Tai Chi you choose, you'll have between 30 - 100 movements to learn.  Memorizing the sequence can take some time, but once you've got it, you can start to focus on the application of the movements (remember Tai Chi is a martial art!).   Then, with continued practice Tai Chi becomes moving meditation.   As you learn to relax your mind and rely on muscle memory, the movements begin to gently flow one into the other.  The doing seems to melt away, leaving only the being. (It sounds wonderful because it is!)

So from the outside, people can see you're busy doing...attending classes, performing the sequence, applying the postures.  But on the inside your meditating, relaxing, just being....it's the perfect cover.