July 28, 2006

Relax

Relaxation is very important as we all know, in attaining any level of health and calm for the body and soul together. Fragrance and other precious luxuries are wonderful but their most fulfilling enjoyment comes with the ability to access the peace and calm deep within each of us. One of the ways to attain stress relief is through the use of meditation. Meditation can be a very difficult discipline, or it can be very easy if done through guided visualization techniques.
Clearing and calming thoughts and emotions and thereby exerting control over the mind effects and relieves us deeply. Giving yourself this kind of rest and relief is almost as good as a night's sleep, in many cases. It also can be a very useful tool in times of particular stress, from trivial to serious, for example to endure a long airplane flight, a bout of illness, stress over relationship or business, or any of the different ills we are heir to. I have tried different kinds of meditation, such as Transcendental Meditation and Vipassana, and also have tried many guided visualizations when I am really too much in the "monkey mind" to practice other forms of meditation successfully. Through my general browsing I found Meditainment, which produces cds, and downloads directly from the internet, to be particularly effective.
The voice is a soothing British accent, the simple background music is much better than most (not too new-age-y) and the archetypical imagery they bring you through have been I find most satisfying, like stepping into an old master landscape painting. Their Nature title is particularly transporting, you are guided to imagine yourself as all the forms of water, or as a tree in the life cycle of a year, or as a dragonfly experiencing metamorphosis and hunting. Hospitals, schools and airlines have used these to provide relief and a break from the worries and thoughts of everyday, which will be there when we get back, refreshed and renewed. I get a small kickback if you order through my links, but you can try a twenty minute guided visualization for free without registration. It's worth the time, and I would be interested in any opinion on it anyone cares to give.
Meditation links:
General
Mindfulness/Vipassana
Five Mindfulness Trainings
Transcendental Meditation

6 comments:

Zz said...

Over the years, well meaning friends have given me any number of meditation tapes, because they know that I meditate.
I have yet to find one that I like.
I gave the website a try, I found it irritating.
Even listening through a pair of AT M40's.
I would much rather just walk down to my lily pond and hang out with the frogs for awhile.
Noodling around on the piano or guitar is also very relaxing and spiritually satisfying.
I know that the folks who make those tapes are also well meaning, but it just isnt my thing.
I used to attend an evening group meditation, which was ok, but still I enjoy solitude, over any other practice..
Z.......

Lucy said...

Sorry to hear you didn't like it too much, Z. I have also been irritated by most such recordings and guided visualizations.
Personally I have always liked doing such things on my own, too, but now feel there is much to be said for the concept of sangha, as support for the quest for and practice of something that is not really very supported or considered important by the world in general right now...Anything that brings me in contact with my inner core of stability and peace, even in the form o a recording, is useful, especially during times of stress when the "monkey mind" can go on or much too long...

Parfume Moderne said...

Perhaps you would like the Bill Moyers series, Faith and Reason.
Next week he will be speaking with Pema Chodron. Someone that I have much respect and admiration for.
here is the link for the show: on PBS
http://www.pbs.org/moyers

Sometimes what you call "Monkey Mind" is necessary, to get to the next place. Like skipping stones across a rushing river. They bounce haphazardly around, but eventually settle to a peaceful place.
We can try to kill our manic mind, or we can work with it, see what it has to teach us.

There is a book "Crooked Cucumber" a biography of Suzuki Roshi, Shunryu Suzuki, by David Chadwick
Suzuki Roshi, was a great Soto Zen Mater, this book about his life is a wonderful piece of truth and literature.
Peace, Z...........

Anonymous said...

Anything short of a coma that brings relaxation is GOOD!!!
Chris

Kala said...

I cant say enough about the medicinal properties of meditation - from a scientific and spiritual point of view - much studies and research has been done on tibetian monks brain waves during their meditation session and cat scans reveal some very significant and impressive patterns of brain activity - Wikipedia has a pretty thorough write up on this including its history and relevant issues relating to this. Thanks for sharing!

Lucy said...

I am very fortunate to have just found a wonderful sangha in walking distance from my house, with a regular Sunday evening meeting! Mindfulness meditation, based on the teachings in "The Miracle of Mindfulness" by the Vietnamese monk, Thich Nhat Hanh.
They did a tea ceremony last week, which they do once a month, after which there is a sharing of the members creative offerings. Truly lovely. The peace generated in the room from all twenty people was palpable...