Confessions of a therapist
PUBLISHED: 13:37 17 June 2010 | UPDATED: 17:21 20 February 2013
Discover the true path to happiness through meditation
Discovering the true path to happiness
Most of us are lucky enough to have a roof over our heads, food in the cupboard, water on tap, and a wardrobe full of clothes, but are we completely happy?
The answer for most of us will be no, not completely, for there will be a little part of us which still feels slightly dissatisfied and unfulfilled.
Even hearing about worldwide disasters, which leave hundreds grieving for their lost loved ones and many more without nourishment or shelter, only has us counting our blessings in the short term.
Throughout our lives we strive for more and more material wealth in the hope that the empty hole within us will be filled. However, the joy of being promoted, or buying a car or a new dress is only a temporary high which soon diminishes leaving us pushing for our next goal.
Eventually we realise that the things we have accumulated have not filled the inner void and we start searching for other ways to satisfy the empty hole, whether that is expecting partners, family or friends to make us happy or the achievement of hiking up Kilimanjaro for charity.
It is most apparent with the rich and famous. In the news recently we have heard about a string of sports personalities who appear to have it all; beautiful wives and children, luxury houses, top of the range cars and high flying careers, but so many turn to extra-marital affairs and sometimes drugs in order to fill that place within them which remains unfulfilled.
The answer to filling this gap is a simple one. It has been tried and tested for thousands of years, and yet so many of us do not know what it is and even when we do discover it we dont make time to do it.
The answer is meditation and mindfulness. Meditation is a technique that switches the brain and body off from everyday mind chatter and slothfulness. Mindfulness is the way in which we live each moment of our lives the way we consciously treat our fellow human beings.
If we could find just five minutes each day to sit quietly and meditate and spend each waking moment treating others how we would wish to be treated the world would surely be a wonderful, happy place.
Meditation conjures up images of Buddhist monks fasting for days on end whilst sitting in the lotus position on top of a Tibetan mountain. It seems a lifetime away from our own reality, but we too can learn this age-old technique which promotes inner calm, fulfilment, and if we are really dedicated, enlightenment.
The technique is easy. Find somewhere comfortable and quiet to sit. A stool is ideal, as your feet must be placed flat on the floor and the spine has to be held upright as if someone is pulling upwards on a thread attached to the top of your head. Relax your cupped hands, palms uppermost, in your lap. The rest of the body just hangs from the spine.
Now close your eyes and take three really deep breaths. Next, become aware of the air entering and leaving your nostrils as you breathe more gently. Keep focusing on the entrance of your nostrils as the air travels in and out.
To begin with your mind is likely to wander, but every time you become aware that you are thinking what to cook for dinner, about an unpaid bill or a sick relative, just bring your awareness back to the breath entering and leaving your nostrils.
You can continue this for as little as five minutes or for as long as time and concentration will allow. When you have decided the meditation is at an end take three more nice deep breaths and then carry on with your day.
There are many other forms of meditation including walking meditations where you focus on each step taken; guided meditations where the voice of a therapist in person or on a cd will lead your mind through beautiful places; or you can imagine the sun seeping into each part of your body, beginning with your toes and finishing with your head.
Being able to meditate without your mind wandering to day-to-day events takes practice, but perseverance is absolutely worthwhile.
Treating everyone as you would wish to be treated also takes practice until it becomes a way of life.
Anyone who has studied Reiki healing will know the Reiki ideals are to try each day not to be angry; not to worry; to be grateful for everything; be devoted to everything you do: and to be kind to people and all living things. Living this way helps to promote inner happiness and this happiness is reflected in the people you encounter.
Most of us have experienced waking up in a great mood for no apparent reason. We spend the day being considerate of others and wearing a Cheshire cat style grin on our faces. In return everything we do goes well and everyone we meet are nice to us. It is no coincidence.
By Helen Skene
Complements Mobile Health and Healing for Suffolk Women
Telephone 01473 743038