I am not the first person who has ever thought it was a good idea to practice energy healing, mindfulness meditation or have a self care practice. For millennia, people have sought methods to quiet their minds and focus their concentration. Long before modern technology introduced a thousand and one new distractions into our lives, humans have pursued inner peace for spiritual, emotional, mental and physical well being. If you’re seeking a personalized method to quiet your mind and achieve the inner peace everyone has been raving about, these four ancient techniques have proven effective even by today’s standards.
- Practice the Ha – breathing meditation. Breathing meditation is a simple and effective method for calming your mind. Start by finding a comfortable and quiet place where you can sit and observe your breath. I like to do what is called “Ha Breathing” I borrow this practice from ancient Hawaiian Shamanism called Huna. Inhale through the nose for approximately 4 counts, hold the breath deeply for approximately 4 counts. Then exhale for 6-8 counts by making a “hhhhhhhh” sound like you are fogging up a window. Repeat this for 3-5 minutes at first. With practice, you’ll be able to meditate longer periods or place your mind on your breath in any surroundings.
- Develop single-pointed concentration. Train your mind to rest upon your object of meditation whether it’s a candle or a spoken affirmation or improvised chant. Note any distracting thoughts but decline to pursue them. I find this to be pretty easy to do if you start with the Ha Breathing first and get yourself into a rhythm. Adding a candle or visual object like a small statue, photo or mandala to focus on once you have established your breathing. If the mind strays just continue to breath and bring your attention back to your chosen object.
- Learn to visualize. Select images that promote happiness and serenity. Perhaps you may want to picture snow-capped mountains or sheep grazing in a meadow. Learn the colors and locations of the energy centers of chakras in your body and practice visiting those locations during your visualization.
- Focus on positive thoughts. If your meditation is part of a spiritual practice, you can follow the prayers taught in your tradition. Alternatively, you can soothe your mind by repeating any thought or quote that is meaningful for you. It can be one word like: peace or love or you can make up an affirmation that inspires you on that day.
Use the Soothing Qualities of Water
- Take a bath. Cultures all over the world have long appreciated the calming effects of water. A simple warm bath can soothe your nerves. Rest your head on a bath pillow, add some epsom salts for detoxifying and a few drops of some soothing scents like sandalwood or lavender to your soak. Turn the lights down low and play soft music. In my early years of meditation I would set a timer and take a bath because if I did not meditate in the tub I would get distracted and after only a few moments I would be washing dishes or folding laundry when I was supposed to be meditating. My bath ritual gave me a set time and space to relax and journey into my self healing work.
- Surround yourself with the sound of water. Eat your lunch by a park fountain or install a solar device in your own backyard. Even if you do not have space or resources for a fountain, you can find recordings of waterfalls online or get a CD with aquatic effects that you can play anywhere you go. Water is the sound of our emotions and the soothing sounds of water soothes our senses.
Get Back to Nature
- Go for a walk. In some eras, it was common for people to go on long retreats into the wilderness. Even a short break can do wonders to restore your peace of mind. Visit your local state park or take a quiet walk around your neighborhood. If you work indoors all week, use the weekend to explore scenic trails for biking and hiking. Find a way to move your body and to connect with nature.
- Cultivate a garden. Gardening is a great way to slow down and appreciate nature. Devote a section of your backyard to growing flowers and vegetables. If you live in an apartment setting, select plants that will flourish indoors or on a balcony, like some species of palm trees and herbs. I love my tower garden that grows my herbs vertically on the deck outside my kitchen for easy fresh access!
- Spend time with animals. Spending time with animals is so therapeutic it’s even been proven to help people recover from surgery faster. Take your dog for a walk. Many hours of my week goes towards visits to the neighborhood dog park with two of my 3 dogs. It is always amusing, entertaining and educational to study the dog politics and observe how the unwritten rules of the dog world! If you are not a dog person, I invite you to watch your cat at play or if you get adventurous, sign up for horseback riding lessons. Animals are a great source of unconditional love and help us develop empathy, compassion and non verbal communication.
Live in the Present Moment
- Put the past behind you. Dwelling on the past can make it difficult to feel composed. If you’re thinking about past misfortunes, decide if you’d rather devote your energy to more constructive activities. I recommend learning an energy healing technique called Ho’o Pono-Pono. This is an self healing energetic Forgiveness technique that allows you to clear out the charge of holding resentments against others in your body and resets the energy for both people.
- Adopt a positive view towards the future. The future always carries some uncertainty. Focus on creating causes for a better future and patiently accepting whatever outcomes arise. If you are connected to a cause you will be more inclined to keep growing and improving. The easiest way to do this is by getting clear about your personal mission and tapping into your passion and purpose.
- Enjoy the present moment. Give your full attention to what is happening now. Take advantage of the opportunities before you and delight in the good things that surround you. Steer your mind towards wholesome thoughts and actions. Engage fully with the people who share your life. Spending to much time in the future worrying about possible outcomes is a waste of creative life force energy that can be used in present time. Dwelling on worrisome thoughts and situations only amplifies them to you and robs you of experiences in the present moment.
Many ancient techniques work equally well today for achieving a quiet mind regardless of external circumstances. To learn more about Mindfulness Meditation visit my online self help bookstore to discover more information about the healing powers of meditation. I have a variety of ebooks and information bundles on many self help subjects. With these methods, you can create a welcoming environment for yourself and others and train your mind to enjoy greater peace.