We have been doing lots of meditation lately. Anyone who knows us, knows that meditation plays a big party on our lives.
We run regular meditation classes in our meditation and yoga studio on the top floor above the bookshop.
For those who are looking to start meditating or interested in getting deeper in their meditation, read on.
Below, you will find a delightful article by a good friend of ours, Jonny O'Donnell.
This article can also be found on the website
This website is filled with great content about meditation and philosophy.
How to Let Go in Meditation
Begin Your Meditation Well
Take a seat, being as comfortable as you can be, sitting upright with a straight spine.
Begin by welcoming all that is there in your experience and all that is arising.
Be like a host welcoming guests into your home. Everyone that arrives is welcomed in warmly, even if they make you feel angry or uncomfortable, or plainly you just don’t like them! All is welcome, all is as it should be. Start by simply sitting, no agendas, no goals… ahhh, it is nice to just sit and do nothing for once, enjoy it.
Make any movements that you feel will make you more comfortable, always allow yourself to do this, it’s important to allow yourself to feel at ease as much as you can.
Begin to observe what is there, have an open awareness, let your awareness begin to encompass all that is arising in your experience.
There is no one thing to focus on, for now it is time to just observe gently all that is. Notice the space you can feel all around you – in front, behind, above, below, inside, outside; notice any blurring between the boundaries of inside yourself and outside yourself that may be there. Start your meditations with this sense of all-encompassing openness. Enjoy the feeling of spaciousness, feel uplifted by it. Allow the attention to be lifted up to the head and the space all around it.
When we meditate sometimes breathing is hard and tense, sometimes breathing is soft and easy. Sometimes relaxing is difficult, sometimes relaxing is easy. We can learn to be flexible, to take things at a pace that works for us. Finding what works for us is key, not burdening ourselves with the expectations of others or ourselves and carrying too many ideas and preconceptions about how things should be. Keep things simple.
You may want to sit for a while simply settling in, allowing the stresses of the day to begin falling away from you in their own time. In this way, relaxation is given the opportunity to begin to happen automatically. Move onto consciously relaxing when the time feels right for you, trust your own intuition and listen to your own being. Orientate yourself from the inside.
Begin to consciously relax the body, bringing the attention into all areas, one at a time, from the tip of the toes to the top of the head. Through offering your attention to the areas of the body, they will begin to relax naturally – allow this process to happen and gently observe. Allow the relaxation to begin to happen, observe any trying that arises and simply soften yourself and begin to allow more.
Observing the Breath Cycle
Begin to observe the breath. Greet the breathing exactly as it is. You may want to take some short quick breaths, or some long deep inhales – with no reason or rhyme, let the body respond however it feels comfortable. Begin to soften, lengthen and deepen the breath. If it feels comfortable, breathe in and out of the nose. Soften the abdomen and feel the air filling this area and the lungs. Once the body is filled with air, observe the space between the in and out breath – enjoy the stillness at this point of no in or out breath. Allow the air to exhale when it arrives naturally, enjoy the feeling of tension leaving the body along with the air escaping from the lungs. Pick up the next cycle of breathing when it feels right and simply observe it with gentleness.
No part of this process should be done intensely or in a rushed way. Notice your way of being, keep softening, sitting further back from what is occurring, becoming less involved.
If you find yourself becoming distracted by thoughts, activity in your surroundings or sensations in the body, use this as an opportunity to see how gently you can bring attention back into the breath. You will learn to become more and more accepting of yourself and of all things as they are through this practise. Thoughts come and go, this is the human condition. Accept yourself exactly as you are, thoughts and all! Over time you will find your mind becoming quieter and thoughts will become less frequent as the attention stays with the breath. Be patient with this process and simply enjoy becoming more relaxed and present in the moment.
Simply keep repeating the process of noticing distraction and returning to the breath. Enjoy any points of stillness and peace that you arrive into. Equally, meet any tension or difficult feelings, thoughts and sensations with softness and acceptance. Notice if you are battling within– pushing anything away or trying to get towards somewhere, this can be very subtle! Simply notice this too and soften, being with the breath exactly as it is.
As you can see, it’s all very simple! Really we are just unlearning what we learnt in life about action; in meditation we are learning to simply BE, without acting. Through being, we begin to see all things with clarity and we discover the wonderful insights into ourselves that are available on the inside. It’s all about consistency and integrating a meditation practise into your daily life, so enjoy making meditation an essential part of your life and you will soon see the amazing benefits!
Our meditation and yoga studio.