How Meditation Works
Put simply, meditation is designed to still the mind, to give us a break from its constant inner noise and activity.
The truth is, most of us live our lives with an almost incessant monologue going on in our heads. Evaluating, planning, criticising, comparing, stressing — it’s as if there’s a continual narrative of our entire lives going on the whole time. Sometimes we wish we could just shut it off, control it instead of it controlling us.
Interestingly, in those moments when the mind IS still, say when we are engaged in a nature-based activity, walking on the beach for example, or listening to some peaceful music, somehow, in that moment, we feel a sense of connection to something that feels good. To a deeper part of ourselves that is richer, calmer, non judgmental, more contented, happier. In meditation, we call this the ‘inner Self’. Some people call it our ‘spirit’, our ‘soul connection’, our ‘higher consciousness’. The name’s not so important. But the state is.
Meditation is designed to build a stronger, more continuous connection to that state, so that we gradually learn to access it at any time, even in times of stress, anger, emotion. The stronger we forge that connection, the more accessible that state becomes to us. We feel more in control. We become more able to manage stress, we find we may sleep better, our health improves, we feel a little more creative, a little more inspired, and generally we just feel happier. These changes tend to come on gradually as we build our meditation practice. It’s often other people who comment first. ‘What’s up with you? You seem a lot less stressed these days. You’re a lot nicer to be around.’ ‘Come to think of it I am’, you say. Life’s ups and downs don’t seem to have the same power to destabilise you, throw you off centre.
It’s not that you become a zombie, unfeeling and inert. Quite the opposite, you feel more alert, more engaged, more effective, more energetic. Because you are not burning as much emotional energy in dealing with your mind. You naturally develop deeper insights into things. The people you touch in everyday life feel affected too - in a positive way. Harmony is contagious. All these things are by-products of living in a more conscious, connected state brought about by the regular practice of stilling the mind.
FAQ (frequently asked questions)
Who can meditate?
The short answer is anyone, young or old. Provided you can think, you can meditate. Meditation involves training the mind to allow you to move beyond the mind. Sounds contradictory, but your first experience of this will make you realise that the state we hope to achieve feels very natural, very comfortable and very familiar in a strange kind of way. Many people report it feels like ‘coming home’.
Do I need to be able to sit cross legged to meditate?
No, fortunately you don’t need to be able to sit cross legged in the full lotus position or anything too strenuous to meditate. There are plenty of chairs to allow you to sit comfortably upright for as long as you need. Of course, if you can sit comfortably cross legged on the floor you are welcome to do that. The main thing is to be able to sit still and reasonably upright. Posture naturally improves with practice.
Is meditation a religion?
No. While many people practice meditation to deepen the connection with their spiritual Self, and while many religions have practices that include or resemble meditation, you don’t need to have any particular beliefs to successfully practice meditation.
Meditation is for people of all faiths, or none in particular. Those of faith who practice regularly find their faith deepen. But the practices we teach require no religion or belief, other than perhaps the idea that within each of us is a centre of perfection, peace, creativity and happiness. Some identify that with their centre of divinity or connection with their higher being or purpose. That is perfectly legitimate. Others just find it a nice place to ‘be’. Whatever the case, in order to experience the benefits of meditation, whether it be simply to relax - or to deepen our spiritual experience - we just need to go there and find it. Whatever the case, meditation will probably make you a better person, certainly nicer to have around!
How much does a course cost?
The cost of the course will depend on the nature of what is needed, whether the sessions are single or couples or corporate in nature. The six-week mentored programs are recommended for those who want to receive quick results with personalised supervision in the first stages of the practice. This will ensure the correct application of the core technique and is a stronger predictor of long term success. Concessions are offered for those with limited means with a genuine commitment to practise.
Are there any prerequisites?
Just a desire to learn new skills, an openness and the courage to accept that the ‘new you’ might be a bit happier and calmer than before.
What equipment do I need to bring?
The course contains some basic theory, so a notebook and pen are a good idea, to jot down the important points. A shawl or jacket in case you get cool. And if you prefer to sit on the floor, a cushion or (yoga) mat is recommended.