Since 2013, Meditation Retreat Peru has been bringing groups of people to the sacred sites of Peru and Lake Titicaca to meditate and bring in a deeper awareness to themselves and nature. The reason for this is simple, the energy of the land helps to connect with deeper parts of your being. You don’t believe it? Try meditating in your room for 5 minutes and then compare your experience meditating on the top of a mountain for another 5 minutes. You will see the experience to be greatly different. In this article, we will cover the basic principles of meditation, how to use nature as our guide, and our breath as our saviour for a deeper connection with our own being.
If you are here it is probably because you want to learn how to meditate, or are curious to know more about this meditation technique. First let’s cover the basics, what is meditation? How to meditate?
Many people tell us that they cannot meditate because their minds are too busy. Let me relief some stress for you here and tell you that it is impossible to stop the mind. The mind will always do what it does best; think, analyze, imagine, etc. What we can do in meditation though is to go beyond the mind, to put the mind on mute and let another part of our being run the show. The part of our being that is still, present and alert.
It is with this part of our universe that we wish to get in touch with. Often what happens is that our minds are so busy in our every day life that we collected a lot “trauma” that when we finally sit down to meditate, we are organizing our thoughts and clarifying things in our life. This process is normal and we might expect ourselves going over replays of situations in our life. A breakup, a situation at your work, a death in your life. Whatever it may be, this process of going over those experience is normal. I see it as the grieving or integration process. It is the time where we can actually sit down and feel our emotions, process our experience and let them go.
The way we operate in the world is that one situation happens, and we don’t take time to digest it. We simply live with it. This is not the correct way to heal things and move on. The best way would be to feel our emotions, understand what is going on inside of us and somehow express them, release them from our system. Either by journaling, talking, or sharing with your therapist or family member.
There are many ways to heal. But if we don’t take time to feel then those memories will catch up with us when we start meditating. That is why, it is “normal” to have a busy mind in general and in during our meditation practice. We go through a process of purification and then we can finally sit still, feel and connect to a deeper part of our being. The part that is always there.
You have probably heard in a yoga or meditation class the importance of the breath. The breath is the key element in our life. Until we take our last breath, it is the only thing that we can completely rely on, that is always there. The beautiful part of our breath is that it is always honest with us. If we pay attention to our breath, it is always telling us our state of being, how we are feeling in the moment. Is our breath short and shallow? Deep and slow? Are you breathing through your belly, or your chest only? Take a moment to notice your breath now.
Control of the breath
Controlling your breath is a direct way to control your mind. Change the quality of your breath, and you change the quality of your mind. It is direct, and it is obvious.
You are in an undisturbed environment. The phone is put away, on silent mode. Find yourself in a comfortable seated position, and your back is straight. For the next 10 min, you will focus your attention on your breath and nothing else. If your mind wanders, you simply bring it back with no thoughts behind it. There is no point in judging yourself here. The exercise is to focus on your breath and if you get distracted by a passing thought, you simply come back to the breath. Again and again.
For the first 5 min, you focus on your breath and you notice the nature of your breath. Are you breathing slow, fast, deep, shallow, etc. Just observing here.
The next 5 minutes you are controlling your breath. Breathing through the nose, you breathe a little deeper and slower, bringing your breathe into your belly, your diaphragm and chest. Its a 3 parts breathing. Expanding the belly on the inhale, diaphragm lift and finally the chest. On the exhale your chest falls, following the diaphragm and the belly. Continue like this for 5 minutes.
At the end of this exercise write down your experience. How did you feel before and after. How was your mind before and after?
If you are inspired to start your meditation practice regularly but find it difficult, I highly recommend going for a walk in nature. There you can find a sense of connection and peace when surrounded by the natural elements.
You can begin by practicing a walking meditation, which is easy to do and very effective to slow down the mind.
Find a path you enjoy, and look down at your feet. Begin your walking meditation by lifting the left foot very slowly and only when the left foot is down on the floor you begin to lift the right foot.
You imagine that under the foot that is being lifted there is a lotus flower that is being born, and as your foot touches the ground, you are kissing the earth, and vice versa.
Do this exercise for as long as you need and feel the wonderful effects of this meditation practice. Enjoy being in nature and let the energy of this environment heal you.
In conclusion, meditation is a practice that over time bears a lot of fruits to enjoy. Such as reducing anxiety, finding a sense of peace, relaxation, opens the heart and connects us to a source that is greater than us. We can refer to our breath at any time to bring a sense of peace and calm. Whether we are commuting or at work, we know that our breath is always there and that we can consciously connect to it and bring more presence in our Life. It is also through our breath that we can access deeper states of meditation, simply by acknowledging ourselves, taking a deep inhale, exhale and arriving in our ourselves, in our being.
May this article inspire you to practice meditation and benefit from the life changing effects it has on the mind, body and spirit.