The Do Re Me of Meditation

You need to do it for it to work, you need to know what to do for it to work, you need an idea of what it is to know where and how to start doing it….

So many reasons why people struggle with the idea of meditation…you actually have to do something, something that requires structure, discipline and a proactive approach to an activity that for many is intangible. Practice is full of contradiction and encourages us to take responsibility for our actions, it’s as much about life as it is the moment, the former enriched through the latter.

So every day, start at the very beginning, it’s a very good place to start.

When you read you begin with A-B-C

When you sing you begin with do-re-mi

When you meditate you begin with me – me – me

me – me – me, me – me – me

The first three thoughts just have to be

me – me – me

Then sit – connect – and breathe

Lets see if I can make this simple so it’s easy to repeat.

Me, without me I cannot start, I am at the heart of this important part,

Sitting is something I can easily do, on the bed a chair or in the front room,

Connect with self, moon and sun, eight directions all become one,

Breath is life and life is breath, meditation implies no less,

Now people, me – sit – connect and so on

are only the ingredients we use to build our song,

Once you have these actions in your head,

you can sing a million different tunes by developing them,

the tools with which to best evolve are many and much devolved,

but I think you’ll find the simplest way is always easiest to obey,

life is busy with much to do, keeping it simple gives more space to you.

With your health intact you will in fact

find a life that sings, feeling no need to act,

songs of all kinds factual and fiction free from regret, delusion or  confusion,

life is for singing so don’t waste your breath,

Meditate as and when but remember… simple is always best.

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Mountain Qigong and Meditation (Da Shan Qigong) Sunday 3rd November 2013

Da Shan Meditation is a powerful, accessible meditation set that uses posture, breath and intent to calm the mind and strengthen the body to develop self awareness, discipline and inner calm.

Rest, relax and rejuvenate. This Meditation and gentle Qi Gong day will enable you to connect with your body, relax your mind and strengthen the flow of energy through your body.

Sunday’s seminar will look in more detail at the sitting and standing elements of the meditation. Exploring the physical structure and foundation of the body whilst further developing visualisation exercises to gain the most from the practice.

Running from 10am-1pm, in the beautiful Lakes, means we get to meditate at a key part of the day and allows you to go and explore a little as well.

Look forward to seeing you there. 

Success

Determining what is successful or progressive is not easy even when there are tangible means of assessment, you can only look to yourself. The words of others may offer comfort and direction but only you can know for sure. For a warrior toughness should not be measured by physical prowess alone but by their mind intent and spirit. To trust, persevere and overcome in meditation of spiritual and martial nature requires diligence and discipline. I feel blessed to know and train with such a person, Michael Horley GB Judoka.

Press play, don’t press pause, believe, progress, march on. 

The logic of foundation.

With knowledge of the fundamentals and a logical application we can build a solid accessible foundation. From this place we can develop key skills, tools and awareness to harness and develop our energy, discipline, intent and health.

Our foundation feeds into our understanding of exercise and the basic fundamental benefits that we can experience from meditation. Enabling practitioners to access a starting point, an anchor for initial study and for some a much needed justification for practice.

A solid foundation helps formulate a direction for progression, building step by step, block by block . Ensuring the ground work is laid for a healthy progression, whilst giving check points to help stabilise and reinforce development.

Simple exercises and datum points are always useful, not only in the initial stages of learning to meditate but also many years down the line. Both comforting and reassuring a practitioner in times of need.

Foundation building blocks and foundation exercises should by no means be considered basic. These skills are the most advanced you will learn, your context, understanding and interpretation will evolve, shaping, informing and facilitating practice for years to come.

Mountain Meditation (Da Shan Qigong)

Saturday 14th September

Sitting and standing Qi Gong and Meditation exercises to help build inner strength and encourage the healthy flow of energy throughout your body.

A gentle days exercise combining philosophical, academic and physical principles of traditional Chinese health practices developed over many years to regulate breath, enhance calmness and establish self connection.

Rest, relax and rejuvenate. This moving meditation seminar will enable you to connect with your body, relax your mind and take time to rejuvenate.

For those visiting from afar Kendal is a lovely town on the edge of the Lake District National Park with accommodation aplenty. For more details email gavin@empoweringmovement.co or call 07508210176.

Meditation, self acceptance, respect for others and a happier world.

Acceptance of self leads to acceptance in general, a softening of your personal barriers, judgements and prejudices. If we are open, we can connect with and accept ourselves for who we are, what we feel and how best to live our lives.

From a place of acceptance we access gateways to a happier place, where we appreciate ourselves and are accepting of others. Cutting through the nature nurture debates, the class distinctions, social conditioning, gender stereotyping, self loathing, obsessing, adoring, informed and uninformed judging of others, the need to put yourself; feelings, opinions and prejudices before all else.

With meditation we can develop discipline to aid our health and energy to establish a calm centre. Clarity can be gained not only in a spiritual sense but in a logical rational sense, an ability to listen and absorb without judgement. It is not to say we don’t  experience confusion but that extreme emotions do not dominate our person. Remaining open to but not being unbalanced by the ‘Many Minds’, asking questions of ourselves, challenging our options, decisions and life choices instead attacking or avoiding as a form of defence. We can only embrace ourselves by overcoming our fears, judgements and prejudices, learning to trust ourselves and accept what is.

Calmness provides a grounding that removes the need to judge, assume and critique.  Acceptance removes fear of self and others, lowering barriers and defence mechanisms. We are easily and often inspired by the words of others, they light a spark, a feeling deep inside but ‘their’ words maintain our fantasy ensuring action is theirs and not ours. It’s how most of us want all things, as dreams, academic discussions, material possessions, opinions or lifestyles of others for us to judge, resent or worship.

If we are open to accepting the person we are, we become a step closer to accepting others and as such a lot closer to achieving a happier world. 

Practice: It’s not easy, if it was we’d all be doing it.

Our lives are busy and the constant gaze of society means it’s not even on the horizon of our thought process when we get up in the morning. For some an urge to do it makes a brief apparition before they snuggle in for another five minutes of warmth and rest, there are a select few obsessive compulsives who jump out of bed filled with a an overwhelming desire to practice. For most it’s buried so far behind the myriad of other things they need to do once they’ve had a coffee that it seems irrelevant.

For most of us we need structure and guidance to practice.

Despite much rhetoric, practice in meditation is neither easy or natural, but once it gets hold of us we want it in our lives. Like most forms of activity when we’re doing it we love it and appreciate how much we need it. It’s the doing it that’s hard.

I trained with a lot of people who, if their teacher was in residence, would fight to be the first out of bed to show how diligently they practiced. Their insecurity, form and application told the real story of their day to day, week to week training and development. The internal arts are so full of contradictions it is difficult for a student who has a goal of “improvement” to know what to do. The classics of Chinese Martial and Meditative Arts pave the way to more questions than answers.

You know you’ve cracked it when your art it is part of who you are, part of your essence, a feeling that moves with you, positively supportive. Different for everyone and evolving with time. Wanting but not needing, looking forward to but not feeling pressured, embracing and letting go of inner pressure. I’m guessing it’s nice, but it’s not easy. 

Walk the Walk, Talk the Talk!

I once signed a sponsorship contract with a leading energy drink manufacturer. The representative kept saying “we want you to walk the walk and talk the talk”. His incessant use of a somewhat dated and cheesy line made him look all the more like the stimulant fuelled, career motivated, slightly confused individual he was, but all these years later his words still give me pause for thought.

In Tai Chi circles there is always talk of Yin and Yang. Awareness, sensitivity and change are the bedrock of the Classics. In business people recognise the need to evolve, develop and change to stay in touch with the market place. Yet when it comes to ourselves we invariably pay little heed to our behaviour and how it affects those around us.  We may be willing to talk the talk but more often than not we are reluctant to walk the walk.

The problem with walking the walk is that it is more tangible than the talking bit, it requires self-connection, introspection and regular reviews. Change has to come from within, the adage relating to a horse and water is always relevant to people. I can clearly remember things people have said to me in the past that have made me think about my behaviour on a deeper level:

You only ever practice what your good at – my sister when I was ten ish.

You’re always looking for the quick win – A friend/acquaintance when I was 21 ish

Your behaviour is not addressing the real issue – my wife when I was 28 ish

Strangely enough my current life circumstances seem informed by the above. I practice Judo, despite being in the GB Squad there is still an huge room for improvement. There are no short cuts to be had, marriage, kids and Judo all reflect clearly that you reap what you sow. As a family we have made life style decisions that are in line with our aspirations, the health and happiness of our children, enjoying our day to day lives which in turn creates a happy future.

I meditate, I listen and make decisions from the heart and gut. Listening and acting on what you hear are different things of course but if you listen you can then decide.

Life is constantly evolving, for some a challenge, distraction, stress or opportunity. Listening and acting are as easy or difficult as we wish to make them. The key thing to remember is that it is your life, if you learn to listen, trust and have confidence in your beliefs the world might become a happier place full of opportunity and wonder.