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Everyone’s Mind Matters

Anxiety and Modern Man

Written by Guest Author:- Matthew Rigby

Mind Matters, Anxiety

Anxiety is a simple emotion we all experience. To some, it is best described as a feeling of worry, yet to others it is fear. An anxiety disorder is a crippling disability that doesn’t discriminate and while you aren’t always left with physical scars, the mental ones can be clear for all to see.

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Male suicide is the largest killer of men aged 20-49 in the UK and anxiety is often cited as a cause. Whilst being both a mental health sufferer and within that age bracket, I think it’s important to acknowledge and empathize with others in the same position. Mental health now comes with serious discussion and more household names are coming forward to talk through their own troubles, further shining a light on the plight of the common man.

Rapper Professor Green has spoken openly about his troubles with mental health in the past years, even penning a regular column on battles he’s faced with his own head. Meanwhile, Celtic footballer Leigh Griffiths took time away from the game to focus on getting himself well.

For the first time in some years, young male mental health sufferers are being represented and men now have the opportunity to come forward and discuss their issues.

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Breaking the cycle

Everyone’s anxiety is different; it’s simple – different lives, different worries. Regardless of your experience there are techniques everyone can employ to help break the cycle. The Benefits of Meditation can be endless for mental health sufferers and answer some questions in your own psyche.

Whilst some sufferers may be hesitant to try meditation, anxious of silencing their inner monologue, positive reinforcement is the key to breaking free from endless fear. The power of positive thought may sound like a book you’d scoff at someone reading on the train, however your self worth in many ways determines your anxieties and it ultimately comes from a feeling of inadequacy. This isn’t something we should be ashamed to say – just because you think you’re rubbish doesn’t mean you are!

I often think of myself in a circle when having an anxious episode – a panic attack or general shutdown. I work out a way to break the circle of negative thoughts – a common Cognitive Behavioural Therapy technique. You can even draw it on a piece of paper.

Draw a line and write your action, this physical action will provide a mental reaction, one that hopefully eases your stress. Following this with a period of meditation to soothe your active mind, will help you come to a solution for your worries I promise.

The most important thing for an anxious person to remember is to be yourself. Remember that version of you that you like and be it; we may never be anxiety free but it sure does seem to disappear when you’re having fun.

Meditation can help

The Benefits of Meditation have been well documented in the last ten years and with MRI scanners now showing us the actual visible results meditation brings it’s all time we started this wonderful new science.

Meditation has a direct impact within our brains resulting in increased activity within the Anterior Cingulate Cortex, the Ventromedial Prefrontal Cortex and the Hippocampus region which is directly responsible for the grey matter produced in our brains. The possibilities this may have within the scientific fields of Alzheimer’s and memory retention are only just being realised

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The reduction in Stress, Anxiety and Depression are reported in 95 percent of all participants from as little as two weeks of mindfulness meditation training. Imagine the benefits of keeping this wonderful and simple exercise up everyday.

Breathing or Samadhi Meditation is by far the easiest of mindfulness training to grasp, or perhaps Metta Bhavana Meditation, also known as Loving Kindness Meditation will work wonders, however the untrained mind will find it a lot harder than it sounds. The good news is, just like going to the gym regularly you start to build those muscles up, and so too with meditation you powers of concentration become greater and meditation becomes easier.

kind regards

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meditation

Metta Bhavana Meditation

Metta Bhavana meditation

Metta Bhavana Meditation or Loving Kindness Meditation is one of the most fulfilling and satisfying meditations we can do.

There are a few methods and ways to practice Metta Bhavana Meditation, the method I describe below I find works wonderfully for me. It is one of visualisation.

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I was a Buddhist monk in Northern Thailand and after many years and thousand of hours of meditation practice training with some of the great meditation masters, my hundreds of mosquito bites on my bald head were not in vain, I have found this is the most suitable way to practice Metta Bhavana Meditation for my western mind

The Three Methods to create Loving Kindness in your Heart

The method we will be using today is one of visualisation, however is just one of the three ways to practice which will achieve loving kindness in the heart. Reflecting and auditory are the other two methods used to create the feeling of loving kindness.

Reflect on the positive qualities of yourself or a loved one will ensure loving kindness to flourish with in the heart.

Using a mantra is the auditory approach and an example could simple be the words “loving kindness”

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The First thing we need to do is find the love from within ourselves. Now I understand that may sound a little scary to some but Visualisation is a great way to achieve love inside our hearts. And we all have something we love, something that will bring that feeling back when you start to think deeply enough about it. For me this is my adopted stray dog Marley and the crazy fun things he gets up to.

If your still finding difficulty thinking of something that your really love this much, then try hitting this link 7 wonders of life, it will help you find something wonderful in your life to feel that loving kindness and to help with the practice. Now that we have our object of focus, its time to relax and start meditating.

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Let’s start Meditating

First of all let’s find a comfortable place somewhere you won’t be disturbed. Now sitting in a comfortable position with a straight spine, gently relax your shoulder and neck muscles and slowly close your eyes. Take a few long deep breaths and feel yourself relaxing.

Let’s start by calmly watching your breathing, don’t disturb your breathing, just let it be natural.

Breathing in, be aware your breathing,

Breathing out, be aware your breathing out. Count one.

Try to do this for a count of five. Alternatively take long deep breaths to calm and relax your whole mind and body.

Now we are relax

Bring your object of love to the forefront of your mind and begin to feel the love you have for it/them, really start to explore the feeling, that feeling of love.

Don’t worry if you feel a resistance or a little silly at first, be kind to yourself and be patient. Try to find where the feeling is coming from, do you notice how the feeling grows the more you explore it. Again don’t panic if you feel resistance to this, it is all ok, it just means a little more patience and kindness towards yourself is needed.

Now feel that love start to consume you, feel it’s warmth, is your smile hurting you cheeks yet.

If you are having trouble visualising, please still use loving kindness with yourself, this is not going to be easy for some. Tell yourself it’s ok, we can have another go later. Always be patient and kind towards yourself and even that will be practicing loving kindness.

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Project that love

Once we have the feeling of love flowing within ourselves, it’s time to send out our love to others. We now use a mantra with our loving kindness, to truly send out our positive vibration to the chosen person.

First we start with ourselves. Repeat this between 5 and 10 times to yourself, or out loud that’s entirely up to you.

May I be happy 

May I be free from metal suffering and distress

May I be free of physical pain and suffering

May I be peaceful and at ease

Now we are going to give that love from our heart, that loving kindness to someone else other than ourselves.

The Four Types of Persons to develop loving-kindness towards

• A respected, beloved person – such as a spiritual teacher

• A dearly beloved – which could be a close family member or friend

• A neutral person – somebody you know, but have no special feelings towards, e.g a person who serves you in a shop

• A hostile person – someone you may be having difficulty with

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Starting with yourself, then systematically sending loving-kindness from person to person in the above order will have the effect of breaking down the barriers between the four types of people and yourself. This will effectively break down the divisions within your own mind, the source of much of the conflict we experience.

May (insert name) be happy

May (insert name) be free from suffering and distress 

May (insert name) be free of physical pain and suffering 

May (insert name) be peaceful and at ease 

If you find your mind wanders or you notice your loving kindness looses it ferocity, at this point always be kind and patient with yourself, slowly return to the original object of focus, take a few deep breaths and start again. once you have established the feeling again in your heart, continue with the mantra. 

I wish you all the love and happiness on your meditation journey

Kind regards

Dhamma Tapasa

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meditation

Samadhi Meditation

Samadhi or Oneness meditation

Samadhi meditation is known simple as being as ‘oneness with the object of meditation‘ in this case the breath, and can be one of the simplest and easiest of all meditations to grasp, however the untrained mind will find it a lot harder than it sounds. The good news is, just like going to the gym regularly you start to build those muscles up, and so too with meditation you powers of concentration become greater and meditation becomes easier.

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How to practice

Sitting in a comfortable position, either cross legged on a meditation mat, using a meditation stool or a solid chair, keep a straight spine, not over pulling it one way or the other, gently relax your shoulders and bring your chest forward to allow your lungs to be fully open. Feel your muscles relax and your worries drift away. Softly close your eyes and take a few long deep breaths when your ready bring your attention to your breath.

Breathing in be aware you’re breathing in, 

breathing out, be aware you are breathing out. 

Count one.

Repeat this for five or ten counts then start again. This is the basics of samadhi meditation.

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To become completely at one with the meditation object takes time, practice, and kindness towards your inner dialogue. The moment you experience this oneness, everything you have ever been told about mindfulness, meditation and being present in the moment are all realised, spontaneously as if you always knew the secret you just need a gently nudge.

Tips and tricks

Some points to remember,

Try to keep the breath as natural as possible, not to deep or shallow just allow it to be, without your interference. We sometimes feel like we are interfering with our breath, don’t worry this can happen when we first stay to meditate because it’s usually this is the first time we have spent time watching ourselves breath. Don’t worry you know how to breath you don’t need to interfere just relax and stay patient.

Our minds will wander from the object of meditation from time to time, and when it does, don’t scold or punish yourself but always be kind, and gently bring your awareness back to the breath and start counting again.

Distractions happen easily, wether a noise, an itch, feeling uncomfortable or an urgent thought that maybe you have left the oven on. Always be kind and gently to your inner dialogue and gently bring your awareness back to your breath.

The underlying most important tip i can give is Kindness, you will never improve you Meditation if you keep scolding yourself with your inner dialogue. Be kind, smile, maybe even a little chuckle that your mind wandered again and gently bring it back to the breath.

Try this meditation exercise for ten minutes at first and slowly increase the time over a course of a few days.

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Why are we doing this

The benefits of meditation have been well documented in the last ten years and with MRI scanners now showing us the actual visible results meditation brings it’s all time we started this wonderful new science. Meditation has a direct impact within our brains resulting in increased activity within the Anterior Cingulate Cortex, the Ventromedial Prefrontal Cortex and the Hippocampus region which is directly responsible for the grey matter produced in our brains. The possibilities this may have within the scientific fields of Alzheimer’s and memory retention are only just being realised.

I wish you all the success with your meditation and mindfulness journey, and would be delighted if you could join are small but growing family of kind and compassionate people just like yourself.

Kind regards

Dhamma Tapasa

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meditation

Meditation as a personal journey

Meditation is a very personal journey from the path we find meditation on to the journey of personal discovery meditation brings, for each of us has our life story of ups and downs of love and Anger, of loneliness and elation, all squished together over many years to create a tapestry of memories, events and experiences that shape our very existence into behavioural patterns we continually present to the world as Me, I and the Ego

My personal journey with meditation started a long time ago and really took many years before I understood fully what I was doing. For the first few years I suffered with my posture finding the pressure in my knees to much to sit for any period of time. I later found and understand the correct sitting posture helping me to sit for longer periods of time. But if meditation was only about sitting for great lengths of time then chickens would all be enlightened.

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To practice meditation is to be aware, aware of the present moment, to become an observer of the mind in every moment is true meditation, in the observance of mind can we truly uncover the mysteries of the entire universe, the interconnectedness and impermanence of all things and the unconditional love that comes from being present and aware.

To start to meditate is one of life’s greatest challenges and one that can seem incredible scary. My first ever experience of meditation was in a Buddhist meditation centre along with maybe 250 others, with a strict code of silence being observed . The first morning I followed everyone else into the meditation hall and found a cushion and tried to sit. The bell chimed and everyone closed there eyes. I had been given a few simple instructions, breath in be aware your breathing in, simple. I closed my eyes and breathed in, counted one and lost my thoughts, my mind traveled somewhere I cannot say, I do remember think wow this meditation lark is easy and opened my eyes to check the time. 30 seconds had passed, arghh half a minute, I’ve got half an hour of this, calm down, breathing in be aware count one, my mind wanders, collect my thoughts, wow how long was that, 1 minute, what! Calm and I repeated this for a whole thirty minutes.

Not a good start and I’m amazed I kept going. However this can be a common problem when starting to meditate, if you are experiencing anything like this then your not alone.what we need to do is find that pure magic that comes with meditation, we need to feel addicted to meditation, we need to find pleasure.

Like everything, patience and being kind to yourself go an incredibly long way in helping you overcome this initial stage. It’s like any exercise we do to strengthen our muscles the first few times are tough and are muscles ache and seem to scream Stop! Slowly over time we build those muscles and it becomes a little easier, we start to see our progress which in turn spurs us on to ever more success. The exact same is true for meditation only we are training our mind in the powers of concentration.

It has taken many years practicing in countless meditation centres across Europe and Asia and as a Buddhist monk during rains retreats to finally becoming solid in my meditation practice. I now love meditation so much, that given the time I can sit for hours in pure bliss, it has become the first thing I now want to do as I rise from sleep, I used to go for a cup of coffee to kick start my day, I now meditate.

I am not fully enlightened or claim to be, I am on the path to enlightenment and have dedicated my entire life to this endeavour. I have years and years of experience from meeting true enlightened masters to actual real meditation experience. I can help you!

The whole of this website is slowly growing to enable me to help all those who sincerely want to practice meditation. Instead of trying so desperately hard by yourself let this website and myself help and guide you along the path, use my many years of mistakes and lessons learnt as your short cut to your meditation success.

Slowly over time I will be filling the pages of this website with helpful tips and tricks I’ve personally been taught or learnt while meditating. As well as articles on my own meditation journey glimpsing into the contemplative subjects I endeavour to uncover the answers too, and personal reflections into my life and past traumas overcome.

It would be amazing if you could join myself and Marley on our journey 4enlightenment, but we understand if we’re not your flavoured tea! Maybe your not ready!

If you want to know more about Marley and me, Dhamma Tapasa CLICK HEAR

Please feel free to contact me regarding any problems your having with meditation or ideas to make this website more appealing please feel free to use the information found on our contact page CLICK HEAR 

if you have enjoyed this article then please share with your friends and family because after all

SHARING IS CARING

Kind regards

Dhamma Tapasa

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meditation

Body Scan Meditation

Body scan meditation

This meditation is usually done lying down but if you find you keep falling asleep it can equally be done siting crossed legged on the floor or in a straight backed chair.

Find yourself a comfortable place, somewhere where you won’t be disturbed, lay flat on your back with a cushion under your knees, this help keep your back flat against the floor. Your head needs to be comfortable so a small pillow or folded towel will do the trick, but if you are using a yoga mat try without a pillow.

Start by taking a few long deep breaths, gradually start to feel yourself unwind and relax, slowly, starting from the very top of the head notice any sensation that may arise. it could be itching, aching, tiredness, pain or stiffness, or any number of different sensations. Just notice, don’t interfere, don’t scratch or itch or fidget, just notice and be ok with it.

Be gently to yourself, be kind, and be ok with whatever you feel. Maybe you feel no sensation at all and that’s ok to, there is no rule as to what you will feel. Just notice then slowly move down to your forehead, your eyebrows, cheek bones, ears, lips, chin, neck and shoulders, keep moving down through your body checking for sensations. You don’t have to start the way I described either, be inventive and move around your body to each new sensation that arises.

Do this for 10 or 20 minutes everyday and you will soon see a remarkable difference in your stress levels.