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Unlocking the Power Within: A Journey through Meditation and the transformative effects of being present.



Have you ever paused in the busyness of daily life to take a deep breath, close your eyes, and just be in the moment? That simple act of mindfulness is the essence of meditation, a practice that offers profound benefits for both the mind and body. Let's delve into the transformative world of meditation, exploring why it's good for you and the incredible changes that happen in the brain when you meditate.

"Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That's why we call it 'The Present' " - Eleanor Roosevelt -



My Personal Meditation Journey


Let me share my journey through my personal experience with meditation. As a keen yogi for nearly 30 years now, it took me a long time to connect to meditation... or should I say, to 'understand' what meditating actually was. I dabbled here and there over the years, on retreats, in yoga classes and using things like the Calm App, but it wasn't until I was going through a particularly challenging time in 2018, that I really discovered meditation. Then a few years later I discovered The Drunken Monk and his online meditation courses when I had a regular practice and understood how to meditate.




What I found most interesting was, when I started to understand how to meditate, I realised that I had in fact been meditating at points or more regulary than I had thought. I just hadn't labeled it 'meditation' or had I realised what meditation actually was. It was In the ocean on my surfboard, moments out in nature and even on a plane during landing (as I don't mind flying, but not a fan on landing!) As someone who found solace in the ocean and being in nature, but struggled with the chaos of modern life, meditation helped me navigate these periods and helped me find peace and clarity amongst this fast paced, ever changing world we live in. It also taught me we have a choice (in how we respond to things)


During Covid The Drunken Monk approached me about working together online, which was a real honour. Peter wanted to bring 'movement' into thier online courses and thats where my journey deepened. During 2020 and 2021 we collaborated and offered many online events and courses, from 1 day events online to 2 week meditation and yoga courses. We also offered 'Conscious Mornings' a 4 day course inbetween Christmas and New Year and contined to do so for 3 years rdue to it's popularity. This particular meditation and conscious movement course was very rewarding to offer, because our audience was worldwide and not everyone celebrated this time of year, whether that was due to their ethnical background or becuase it was a challenging time for some.


"Do not feel lonely, the entire universe is inside you" - Rumi


Meditation helped me with with some personal traumas, transitional periods and particularly challenging times. Frazzled by the demands of work in my previous corporate roles and personal life, I sought a way to quiet my mind and find a sense of inner peace. I have been keen ever since to share the benefits and encourage more people to discover the benefits of meditation and what meditation actually was. Which is not about clearing the mind of thoughts (good luck on that!) or meditating in a quiet room, beautiful location away from all the chaos. It was actually being able to be still, quietening the mind and detaching from all the distractions around you, bringing your focus inwards and being able to do all of this during the chaos and to be less 'externally focused'.





Enter meditation. At first, sitting still and focusing on my breath felt challenging when my mind was buzzing with thoughts and the distractions around me. But as I persisted, something remarkable began to happen. The chatter in my mind slowly quietened down, and I discovered a newfound sense of clarity and calm. With each session, I felt more connected to myself and the world around me. Meditation became my refuge, a space where I could simply be, free from judgment and distractions. It enabled me to then approach things with clarity and understand emotions and be less reactive to situations (mostly out of my control anyway).


I was able to understand the physical and emotional effects of stress, then with the awareness, step back, breathe, re-centre and respond in a more calmer and empathetic way (towards myself and others).


It taught me a lot about myself.



The Science of Meditation


But what exactly is going on in the brain when we meditate? Neuroscientists have been studying the effects of meditation on the brain for years, uncovering fascinating insights into its impact on our mental and physical well-being. When we meditate, several key changes occur in the brain:


  • Increased Presence and Focus: Meditation enhances our ability to be present in the moment, cultivating a deep sense of focus and awareness.

  • Improved Emotional Regulation: Regular meditation practice has been shown to strengthen the regions of the brain responsible for emotional regulation, leading to greater resilience in the face of stress and challenges.

  • Enhanced Relationships: By fostering a sense of empathy and compassion, meditation can transform our relationships with others, fostering deeper connections and understanding.


At the end of this blog I have listed some 'recommended reads' for you.



Harnessing the Power of Meditation


The benefits of meditation extend far beyond the individual level. Research has shown that meditation can positively impact our nervous system regulation, leading to reduced stress levels and improved overall well-being. Imagine a world where each person takes the time to cultivate inner peace and mindfulness - the ripple effects would be profound.


For those looking to deepen their meditation practice, meditation retreats offer a unique opportunity to immerse oneself in a supportive and nourishing environment. Whether it's a weekend retreat in the serene landscapes of Devon or a meditation course designed for beginners, these retreats provide the space and guidance to explore the depths of your own consciousness. Then once you've been able to experience this, you can then apply through understanding the practices in everyday life.



The Path to Self-Discovery: Dyads and Meditation


One particularly powerful technique that is often used in meditation retreats is the practice of dyads. Through dyadic interactions, participants engage in structured dialogues that encourage self-enquiry and introspection. This practice, rooted in the principles of mindfulness and presence, can lead to profound insights and transformative experiences.


I first discovered dyads with The Drunken Monk on an online course and it is pretty powerful stuff!



Embracing the Journey


As I look back on my own meditation journey, I am filled with gratitude for the peace and clarity it has brought into my life. Through the ups and downs, the moments of stillness and the waves of emotions, meditation has been my anchor, guiding me back to the present moment time and time again.


So, if you've ever felt overwhelmed by the chaos of life, I invite you to take a moment, close your eyes, and reconnect with the power within. Let meditation be your compass, guiding you on a journey of self-discovery and transformation. Embrace the practice with an open heart and a curious mind, and watch as the magic unfolds.


In the quietude of your own inner landscape, amidst the ebb and flow of thoughts and emotions, you may just discover the profound beauty of your own being. Step into the world of meditation, where peace, clarity, and presence await you.


Everyone I know that has applied some time to explore meditation has wondered why they haven't done this before, or why the whole world isn't doing this! Often then wanting to share this experience and transformative practice with someone they know that would benefit from it.



Conclusion


In the symphony of life, meditation is the gentle melody that reminds us of the beauty within and around us. For many years it was seen as something that monks or hippies do. Now there is more awareness and understanding of this wonderful practice, thanks to wonderful teachers like The Drunken Monk and many more who offer both online and in person courses. This practice will open your heart and mind, if you are willing to try it and trust in its ability to transform our lives in ways both seen and unseen. As you embark on your meditation journey, I know you will find peace and serenity because it exists in each and everyone one of us, we just need to take a step back, breathe and be still for a moment. always resided within you.


Happy Meditating!





MEDITATION EVENTS


Ready to give it a try? We have something very special coming up in September here in Devon and this will also be the first time The Drunken Monk will have offered an in person meditation event in the UK!


Come join us on 6th September (4 nights) in North Devon on our 'Meditation, Yoga & Foraging' retreat "The Journey of Light' with The Drunken Monk and Wild & Free Adventures. This retreat is set in the beautiful countryside in North Devon at a very special venue The Old Rectory Chulmleigh, a charming 19th Century Country House surrounded by beautiful gardens and views over the valley all the way to Dartmoor. The Perfect venue for such a mindful retreat and personal journey into meditation and self discovery.


This retreat will include yoga, meditation, foraging, zen self enquiry, guided walks (by day and night), dyads, cold water and breath-work techniques and so much more. An all inclusive retreat with our private chef Bjorn Moen a talented and passionate forager and chef. We have brought all the best bits together for this retreat, from venue, hosts, practitioners and food to give you the perfect setting and surroundings for this experience.


We even have budget rooms (shared rooms/bathrooms) to luxury private ensuite rooms to suit all budgets and with our last few Early Bird Tickets you could be joining us for as little as £990 for 4 nights & 5 days. So we have rooms for all budgets but the same luxury and experience for all on this special event.




"The Art of Being Human is to live life in all its aspects, yet with awareness" - The Drunken Monk -



OTHER MINDFUL & MEDIATIVE PRACTICES


If you are looking for something online or an introduction to mindfulness practices then I offer a session called 'Yin, Restore & Yoga Nidra' monthly specials in Devon which are in person and online LIVE.


When starting out on your journey the mindful and mediative practice of Yin Yoga can be a great way to connect to the body and breathe and find stillness. Sometimes combining mindfulness with movement or stretching can be the perfect way to ground the mind, give it an 'anchor'.


I run these as a monthly special and private 1 to 1 sessions both online and in person in North Devon READ MORE HERE and get in touch to find out when the next is.





RECOMMENDED READS


Here's some good resources and books I recommend or have read that aren't necessarily about meditation as such, but mindfulness, 'getting out of your head' and the meaning of being present:


The Power Of Now - Echart Tolle // The Celestine Prophecy - James Redfield // Stress Less, Accomplish More - Emily Fletcher // The Source - Dr Tara Swat // A Monk's Guide to a Clean House & Mind - Shoukei Matsumoto // Meditations from the Tantras - Swami Satyananda Saraswati


There's plenty more, but i've tried to give you a different and interesting selection of books that maybe you haven't heard of, that I have come across at different points of my life, from the corporate world and approach, to The Celestine Prophecy which is about the main characters journey to find and understand a series of nine spiritual insights in an ancient manuscript in Peru. Looking at the concept of 'synchronicity and meaningful coincidences that align with our purpose and path through life. Embracing the idea that nothing happens by chance opens doors to a world of possibilities. Then there's the very popular and known book 'The Power Of Now', which if you haven't read is a must read!



Thanks for reading! x



Keywords: meditation, self enquiry, yoga and meditation, presence, focus, nervous system regulation, meditation retreat, Devon retreat, meditation course, beginners course to meditation, dyads. mindfulness practices, being present, self enquiry

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