Friday, 18 January 2019

What It’s Like to Visit an Existential Therapist It’s not meant to be comforting, but somehow it is : By Faith Hill

https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2019/01/existential-therapy-you-can-ask-big-questions/579292/?utm_source=facebook&utm_campaign=the-atlantic-fb-test-733-4-&utm_content=edit-promo&utm_medium=social&fbclid=IwAR1qucS8XFvCkahpt63PfvK3wo6HCSAr62Ajs9DRJPfMlLHbeLN1V4raJy0

Incorporating animal-assisted therapy in mental health treatments for adolescents: A systematic review of canine assisted psychotherapy Melanie G. Jones , Simon M. Rice, Susan M. Cotton Published: January 17, 2019

https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0210761&fbclid=IwAR2VNUeM
D7uluMSmnkoOQMmej8sj743b0pwJwsZqA70CX8_j2MlNDhFieQ8


The Polyvagal Theory: The New Science of Safety and Trauma


Stress-related hormone cortisol lowers significantly after just 45 minutes of art creation : By Drexel University


https://www.psypost.org/2016/06/skill-level-making-art-reduces-stress-hormone-cortisol-43362?fbclid=IwAR3ZdsODGWvXKXNuonnOC19vk1Xs4NnfwV91M7240zOMU9c0ofFjMWhpy1I


Sunday, 13 January 2019

Creating a Personal Sacred Space : By Mairead Ashcroft 13/1/2019

What is a Sacred Space and Why Might We Choose to Create One?

For Thousands of years, humans have attempted to embody inner peace and/or to connect and communicate with gods and goddesses and other ethereal beings in order to find calmness and soothing in what ails them. Some have strived to find meaning to what sometimes appears to be a meaningless existence. Some have been content to dwell in the wonderment of the universe and all that it has to offer. Many have worshiped deities of one kind or another, 

using song, prayer, dance, meditation, personal sacrifice and many other forms of symbolic and ritualistic practice. These practices continue today and probably will for a very long time to come, if not until the end of human existence. Many of these practices have taken place with a physical focus or an alter to aid worship or meditative practice. I frequently build and refresh an alter or place of intentional focus to assist me with my goals and needs while meditating and am not associated with any particular philosophy or religion.
I believe Meditation to be the focus of our breath, our body, physical, emotional, spiritual and earthly sensations, and our immediate presence in this universe. Meditation can be practiced anywhere and at any time with no special props required and no particular mantras or poses essential to get it right. I experience meditation to be a state of mind with a purpose and intention which, at times, can be hard work and takes practice. Thoughts will come and go constantly and we all may struggle at times to let them go. We  may also struggle with the outside noises and distractions that seem to invade our space when we try to meditate. Once we learn to accept the cacophony of natural and man made sound as just part of our environment, and let the sounds drift away, like our unhelpful thoughts, we can  once again come back to our breath. We may repeat this process many times during a meditation session. (See other posts on my blog about meditation.)


One way to soften the distractions when meditating is to create a routine. Choose a time that suites you best and fall into the practice of meditating at that time every day in the same place in a controlled environment. Within this controlled environment you may wish to build an alter. I have offered on the right a few that I have created for different occasions. Building an alter solidifies intention and by placing objects that have meaning on my alter, you may find that the intensity of your practice deepens and your focus clarifies. In addition to using an alter, play soothing background instrumental music or music with words foreign to you so you am not swayed by the lyrics. Turn the phone off and tell people living you my home that you are unavailable for the next hour or so because I am meditating. Of course, they will continue to live life as usual and their sounds will be part of the cacophony that I mentioned earlier. I advise not to impose silence on the household as this may create a negative energy within the living space, and isn't this exactly what we are trying to rid ourselves of? Let it go and allow your breath be your focus. If needs be, put head-phones on to hear the music or ear plugs in and listen to your heart beat as you breathe.
Alter Offering Suggestions

  •  Candles
  • flowers, plants leaves and branches bark 
  • crystals, gems and stones
  • Singing bowls
  • deity icons
  • shells 
  • feathers, bugs (short term), cocoons, bones
  • letters, books, poetry
  • personal items
  • memorabilia
  • photographs
  • artworks
  • living things like goldfish, pot plants, fresh fruit and vegetables
  • musical instruments
  • interesting or sentimental cloth
  • anything that has meaning for you
Creating your alter can be a meditative practice in itself. Pay attention to your breathing. What do you notice when choosing your offerings, holding them in your hands and then placing them in theirspace? What are you sensing within your body? What is your connection to this offering and what energy does it possess once it is placed on your alter? When it is time to change an offering, and how do you know? Thank the offering for what it has presented to you and either put it back into nature, if that is where it came from, or put it safely away. It may call you again, and have more to offer you at another time.
Creating an alter is not essential to meditation, but it does enhance the experience somewhat. Having a designated space to carry out any task, puts you in the correct frame of mind for the task at hand. A kitchen is purpose built to perform cooking tasks, a laundry for washing tasks, so too a meditation space is built for the task of meditation. I hope this helps you on your way to deeper practice and enhanced experiences.
Live your Bliss
Mairead 





Wednesday, 9 January 2019

Music - Meditation Buddha Nature مولانا Mystical Melody


How to Make Meditation a Daily Habit Six steps to add meditation and awareness to your daily routine. By Jack Kornfield


https://www.mindful.org/developing-a-daily-practice/?mc_cid=7866856abb&mc_eid=66010031ce
There are optimal positions for gaining full potential during meditation as in this example of the statue of Shiva in the Lotus position or Padmasana (Sanskrit)
As the article suggests, it is important that we find a place and position that will enable us to practice meditation without being rigid and I will add, without experiencing pain. As some on who suffers with fibromyalgia I have found a few helpful aids that are things that I have around the house to help me with this. 
  • Cushions 
  • chairs 
  • pillows 
  • heat bags  
  • my all time favorite, well positioned rolled up towels
  • a raised solid surface or some one to help, to aid me off the floor before I begin if I choose to do any floor work and find my self unable to get up unassisted
  • I have a favorite piece of instrumental music that I like to play when meditating at home to help block out noise as I live in an apartment in a main St. I have a wide selection of instrumental meditation music on this blog that you may choose to listen to. You may have your own favorite already but I warn you against music with lyrics. I find that if I listen to music with lyrics, I tend to loose my connection to the meditation and listen to the song and have even caught my self singing a verse or two.
Here are some suggestions to help with your practice of meditation

A Lying rather than sitting position, the floor supporting your spine and open shoulders enhancing airflow into the lungs

Sitting in a chair with you back and feet supported. 
The mat under the chair legs is not necessary.

 
Cushions under the buttocks that allow the legs to be crossed at the front, relieve muscle pulling in the upper thighs this can be achieved with yoga and meditation cushions , but I find a stack of 3 folded towels and a wall in my room works for me.
 
Do what you can with what you have before you buy stuff that you don't need.
This practice is ancient and has survived eons without the latest and most expensive mat or cushion until now. Keep it simple, after all, meditation is about attaining clarity and peace of mind, not stuff.
Focus on your breath. As you direct each breath to where you need it to be, you can release tensions and stress in the muscles all over your body. Let go of thoughts as they flood your mind  and clear space for peace to enter. There are many guided meditations on my blog if you find it difficult to just sit in silence. Please take advantage of their Healing Benefits.

Live your Bliss
Mairead


Be Present: 9 Ways to Practise Mindfulness Each Day : By Surviving 20 Something

https://survivingtwentysomething.co/blog/9-ways-to-practise-mindfulness-each-day