Tag Archives: Meditation

New Year, New Vibrations

In my work as a Healer and Holistic Therapist I meet many people who say they are “too open” and absorb too much from the people and environment around them. The problem of course is the negativity they are absorbing rather than the positive. The key here is to rise above and deflect the negative and be aware of and open to the positive.

Many healers, therapists and readers take on the lower energy vibration of their clients. Other people worry about the state of the world, their loved ones and their own problems, all of which lowers your vibration. The solution is to be at a high frequency but not so open that you lose energy to others. When you look at highly spiritual people like the Dalai Lama, Mother Teresa and Amma, you can see it is possible to remain in a high vibration state.

The biggest issue we have to face during our time on earth is overcoming the dense vibration of fear. The aim is to live without fear, replacing it with love. This can only be achieved by working through our own individual fears. So our challenge is to reach a high vibration and stay there, not letting other people, situations, worries and fears drag us down. We can all call in white then violet light with the intention of psychically cleansing the energy body and use psychic protection techniques such as surrounding ourselves in a gold, blue or violet bubble of light. From an energy perspective, rising above negativity literally involves getting over ourselves (ego/Solar Plexus chakra) and up into the heart centre where we experience love for others. After all, how can you inspire others to rise up out of their own darkness if you are sharing the darkness with them?

There are several ways to achieve a higher energy vibration which are also highly beneficial for our wellbeing and relationships with others. Here are some suggestions:-

  1. Look for the beauty in everything. Nature is truly awesome if you stop and take the time to look.
  2. Practice gratitude. Write a list of all the things you are grateful for or happy about, whether it is supportive friends, a loving family or simply an act of kindness you witnessed that day which reminded you that there is kindness in the world. When you start looking for positives you become a more positive person. On occasions when you have a negative thought about someone or yourself, it is said that you have 17 seconds to turn that negative thought into a positive one before it turns into a negative energy pattern, ie. you experience the negative impact in your energy body.
  3. Look for something new every day which will increase your sensory awareness. It is amazing how much more you notice when you actually start looking, especially if you are someone who is usually rushing around living a very busy life.
  4. Practice meditation to restore the energy body to do guided visualisations to a place of peace and serenity which you are observing nature with your inner sight, hearing and feeling.
  5. Avoid speaking ill of others and stop yourself when you hear you are putting yourself down. When you see others as less than ideal, you are being judgmental and lowering your vibration because you are focussing on what is “wrong”. Accepting others as they are, and yourself as you are, is a form of unconditional love which keeps you in your heart centre. When you are coming from a place of love, your vibration is high.
  6. Work through and release your own issues and energy blocks. This will help you distance yourself from similar problems in others, preventing you feeling low afterwards. Empathy is one thing but wallowing in mutual misery is another! You can help people far more if you can let them know what has worked for you and how you came through your own challenges.

Despite many appearances to the contrary, we are not meant to live in fear or in a state of manic busyness where we are too exhausted to cope. The greatest gift you can give yourself this New Year is the awareness of how negativity affects you and making time for spiritual practices you can use to improve your wellbeing and personal growth.

Helen Shortland is a Spiritual Consultant, Reiki Master Teacher, Holistic Therapist and Angel Therapist based at 15 Wheeler Gate in Nottingham city centre. Helen has been on the spiritual path for 15 years and has extensive knowledge of healing and the healing journey. For further information about her Reiki courses and therapies please visit her website http://helenshortland.com or ‘like’ her Facebook page Helen Shortland Holistics.

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Meditation: Is it really bad for you?

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An article has been published in several national newspapers this week stating that meditation can be a dangerous practice, leading to anxiety, panic and depression.  In the article the author, Dr Miguel Farias, clearly states that the problem lies with excessive meditation practice, the kind done for hours on end such as you would find on a meditation retreat. However once a statement gets into the mainstream media, it is all too easy for claims to be exaggerated and the entire subject of meditation to be viewed in a very negative light.

First let me say that the claims made would pose no problem for people who meditate fifteen or twenty minutes a day, maybe a couple of times a day, or for those who take a five or ten minute breather out of the day to re-centre and refocus.  We need to maintain perspective here and bear in mind that potential problems only arise when practices are taken to extremes.

The true goal of meditation is to go into the space between the thoughts with a view to expanding the sense of self and your concept of reality. It can take you beyond the mind and the ego and therefore beyond your sense of self. The ego is a construct of your beliefs and life experiences through which you define yourself. When you go beyond Mind into nothingness, the ego disappears and we lose our sense of self and who we are. Psychological breakdown can occur when you do not know what is happening and are not prepared to deal with it. The resulting ‘breakdown’ can send you in to what is termed ‘spiritual crisis’, some symptoms of which include anxiety, panic, fear and depression. Other symptoms include muscle spasms and jerking, ego inflation, confusion, vibration in the body and rushing/roaring sensations in the head.

Spiritual crisis is the extreme end of spiritual awakening. Many people are awakening spiritually at this time, exploring various healing modalities, crystals, meditation among others. Spiritual awakening itself is a journey of healing past trauma and wounding.  It is a process of learning, growth, healing and purification; learning to love yourself and forgive others who have caused pain and wounding.  A spiritual awakening can turn into crisis however when it happens too quickly, the person is no longer in control, and it is all happening too much too soon. The crisis can be triggered by excessive spiritual practices such as meditation and qigong as well as taking too many Reiki/energy attunements in too short a space of time. The speed of the awakening is unmanageable and the person is left experiencing terrifying symptoms of mental breakdown.

During intense meditation, the meditator opens up to the transcendental state beyond Mind.  Unresolved trauma and wounding that has been suppressed, repressed and denied over the years comes up to the surface seeking to be resolved and healed.  The inner wold takes over and the person often finds it hard to cope with everyday tasks.

Meditation can produce great highs and feelings of Oneness, inter-connectedness with all things, blissful inner peace and love but it can also be followed by great lows. When you have let more light into your energy body, more of the shadow self is exposed and thrown into that light for healing. Life can start to feel like a constant inter-play between the themes of light and dark. Ultimately however the goal of the psyche is always to heal, transform and move towards wholeness. Spiritual crisis is part of that process, albeit a painful one.

For those people who want to practice meditation as safely as possible, I believe Mindfulness to be the ‘safest’ form of meditation. It is body-focused, particularly on the physical senses of taste and touch. It is very grounding and is excellent for bringing you back into your body if you have a tendency to zone out and be carried away by your own thoughts and worries. For this reason it is very beneficial for anxiety and mild depression. If you want to try it, start off with something very simple: next time you have a cup of tea, eat a sandwich or brush your teeth, focus entirely on the sensations in your hands and mouth. Follow the sensations in your body as you drink the tea or eat the sandwich. If you can become totally absorbed in what you are doing, you are being mindful. With Mindfulness there is no attempt to go beyond the realm of mind into the space between thoughts; you are simply absorbed in what you are doing in the physical realm.

I hope I have provided some reassurance that meditation is perfectly safe when practiced sensibly and in moderation. There are great benefits to having a regular meditation practice (including lowered blood pressure and stress levels, managing anxiety and mild depression, and improving clarity, focus and creativity). It would be a shame to tarnish the reputation of such a beneficial spiritual practice unnecessarily.

Notes:

1. Help and resources are available for anyone who believes they are suffering the symptoms of spiritual crisis. Visit www.SpiritualCrisisNetwork.org.uk for further information.

2. Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Helen Shortland is a Reiki Master Teacher, Holistic Therapist and Meditation Teacher based at 15 Wheeler Gate in Nottingham city centre. For further information please visit her website http://helenshortland.com or ‘like’ her Facebook page Helen Shortland Holistics.

IMPROVE YOUR MENTAL HEALTH AND WELLBEING DURING MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS WEEK

The week 11th – 17th May 2015 is Mental Health Awareness Week.  The Mental Health Foundation will be staging events across the country to raise awareness of how anxiety and sleep deprivation can affect mental health.

Various complementary therapies are particularly beneficial for positive mental health and greater wellbeing.  Reiki healing, for example, calms the mind and emotions and restores balance, peace and harmony.  Healing is channelled through the practitioner into the body, chakras and energy field of the receiver using a light touch.  Many people report feeling lighter after a treatment as worry and grief are released from their energy field during treatment.  Indian Head Massage and Back Massage are very effective in terms of relieving tension and anxiety held in the neck, shoulders and upper back.  Reflexology can be beneficial in relieving the physical manifestations of stress, calming the adrenals and rebalancing the physical body.

Alternatively you may like to try some Mindfulness techniques to restore calm, control and perspective.  Mindfulness Meditation helps you to be in the present moment, not worrying about the future or the past or getting caught up in negative emotions.  Here are some suggestions which can easily be incorporated into your daily life.  Making them a regular habit is the key to success!

  •  Take a 2 or 3 minute breathing space when necessary at work or at home. Stop what you are for 2 or 3 minutes and focus solely on your breathing.
  • Become mindful of how you talk to yourself. Become aware of statements such as “I can’t do that”, “I’ll never be good enough”, “I can’t cope”, “I’m not attractive enough” or “I’m not clever enough”. Nothing destroys self-esteem quicker that negative self-talk. The way you talk to yourself reflects deep held inner beliefs which, when negative, need examining and releasing. Every time you catch yourself making a negative comment about yourself, stop the thought and choose a different one, such as “I can do this”, “I am as good as everyone else here” or “I always do my best”.
  •  Practice being fully present in the present moment. Note where your mind actually is when carrying out routine tasks such as preparing or eating a meal, drinking a cup of tea, brushing your teeth, walking the dog or out with a friend. Make the effort to focus completely on what you are doing instead of letting your mind wander off worrying about something else.
  •  Practice a simple Mindfulness breathing technique for a few minutes two or three times a day, such as just after waking up, on the bus journey to work, at lunch or before you go to bed. Place one hand on your chest and feel your breath moving into and out of your body. Notice the natural rhythm. Be aware of the coolness of the air as you breathe in and the warmth of the air leaving you as you exhale.

Notes:

  1. For more information about Mental Health Awareness Week please visit www.mentalhealth.org.uk.
  2. Reiki healing, Indian Head Massage, Reflexology and other complementary therapies are available with Helen Shortland,

Helen Shortland is a Reiki Master Teacher, Meditation Teacher and Holistic Therapist based at 15 Wheeler Gate in Nottingham city centre. For further information please visit her website http://helenshortland.com or ‘like’ her Facebook page Helen Shortland Holistics.

FIGHTING FATIGUE THE NATURAL WAY

Characterised by tiredness, lack of enthusiasm and difficulty concentrating, fatigue can have many causes but is a complaint with no single, simple treatment.  We all have days when it is difficult to get out of bed but chronic fatigue can be frustrating, leaving sufferers unable to cope.  There are however several herbal remedies which can help fight fatigue, as well as various complementary therapies to help bring the body and mind back into balance.

Identifying Causes of Fatigue

Identifying the cause of your fatigue can help you choose the correct remedy.  Common causes include:-

Stress – Physical, mental, money or work related worries can keep you awake at night.

Emotional upset – Marital issues, divorce or bereavement can leave you feeling emotionally drained.

Insomnia – This is a medical condition that can be debilitating if left untreated.

Illness or infection – An underactive thyroid or the effort of fighting off illness can leave you feeling drained.

Food intolerance – Often difficult to identify but fatigue can be a major symptom of some food intolerances.

Blood sugar – Imbalance in blood sugar levels can lead to a serious lack of energy.

Depression – This condition can alter sleep patterns or prevent sleep altogether.

Herbal Remedies

Some herbs, called tonic or adaptogenic, can increase vitality and promote wellbeing.  They balance the body’s hormonal, digestive, cardiovascular, nervous and immune systems.  Alfalfa, ginseng and cordyceps improve strength and stamina.  Liquorice, which balances the adrenal glands, can help fatigue caused by weakened immunity.  Other herbs you can try include:-

Oats:  Rich in minerals and B vitamins, a daily bowl of porridge or a tincture of oat seeds raises energy levels and promotes sleep.  Oats combat exhaustion caused by stress, alcohol or drugs and are effective for mental or physical fatigue.

Sage:  Stimulates the nervous and digestive systems and is also a good all-round restorative. Try sage tea or a simple infusion of fresh sage leaves, or try a massage with clary sage essential oil. Avoid sage if you are epileptic or pregnant.

Astragalus:  Excellent for treating chronic fatigue, it stimulates the immune system and endurance.

Schisandra:  Improves digestion of fatty food, regulates sugar levels and the functioning of the liver and kidneys.

Complementary Therapies

Therapies can help with both the physical and mental/emotional causes of fatigue.  A course of treatment is usually recommended.

Reiki healing is an excellent all-round therapy for stress. It restores balance in the physical body (helping to balance the adrenals and nervous system) as well as strengthening mental/emotional energy.  Reflexology, which stimulates the reflex points on the soles of the feet, aims to bring the whole body back into a state of balance.  An excellent remedy for mental/emotional stress and fatigue is Meditation: this wonderful practice boosts mental alertness and focus and eases depression.

Lifestyle Changes

Changing your lifestyle can often relieve fatigue, especially if your lifestyle is contributing towards it! Regular exercise actually increases energy levels, while a new mind-stretching interest can stimulate the mind, leaving less time for lethargy. Being out in nature or taking a walk in the countryside can also boost your energy and wellbeing.

Recipe – Oaty Fruit Muffins

Delicious, low fat, and ideal for maintaining blood sugar levels.

225g plain flour

60g rolled oats

5ml baking powder

5ml bicarbonate of soda

4 medium bananas, mashed

120g caster sugar

90ml skimmed milk

90ml vegetable oil

1 egg

  1. Preheat oven to 190C/Gas mark 5.
  2. Mix dry ingredients together (flour, raising agents, sugar and oats) in a large bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl, beat the egg and add milk and vegetable oil. Then add mashed bananas.
  4. Add wet ingredients. Blend mixture with a metal spoon.
  5. Spoon mixture into muffin cases, sprinkle with handful of oats and bake for 20 minutes until golden on top.

Notes:

1. Reiki, Reflexology and meditation workshops are available with Helen Shortland.

2. All herbal remedies are available from Little London Herbal Stores, 9 Kings Walk, Nottingham, NG1 2AE. Tel 0115 9472854 or visit www.all-ages-vitamins.co.uk.

Helen Shortland is a Reiki Master Teacher, Meditation Teacher and Holistic Therapist based at Little London Herbal Stores on Kings Walk in Nottingham city centre. Please ring her on 07748 591690 to book a treatment or visit her website http://helenshortland.com for further information.

New Healing Meditation CD now available!

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This has been recorded in the structured format of a class or workshop for you to use at home.  Includes body scan relaxation, creative visualization to promote positive psychological qualities, healing the body meditation, closing down and grounding.

Priced £10 plus £2 p&p. If you would like to purchase one, please send a cheque (made payable to Helen Shortland) to Little London Herbal Stores, 9 Kings Walk, Nottingham, NG1 2AE. Alternatively please ring me to pre-order and collect in the shop for just £10.

I would like to give special thanks to all those who have assisted me in the recording and production of this CD, namely Mitch Gamble and Andy Sutcliffe. A big thank you also to Claire Chesters of Celestial Healing for the copyrighted music. This project has been a huge learning experience but is hopefully the first of several meditation CDs from Helen Shortland Holistics. Two further CDs, Beginners Meditation and Relaxation and Connecting with your Spirit Guide, should be available later this year.

 

Helen Shortland is a Reiki Master Teacher, Meditation Teacher and Holistic Therapist based at Little London Herbal Stores on Kings Walk in Nottingham city centre. For further information about her courses, workshops and therapies, please visit her website at http://helenshortland.com.

 

Increase Self-Awareness and Find Inner Peace with Vipassana Stillpoint Meditation

Vipassana is the practice of stillness. The stillness is symbolically expressed as the watchful, unmoving awareness that observes the coming and going of the in-breath and out-breath. The mind observes the breathing and the moments in between the in-breaths and out-breaths. It is said that the truth reveals itself in those moments. Moreover, truth reveals itself constantly if we can drop the mental chatter that obscures it. It is also known as Stillpoint Meditation as you are observing the still point, or space, between the thoughts.

“Vipassana” means clear insight into the real characteristics of body and mind, or ‘to see things as they really are’. Vipassana meditation comes from the tradition of Theravada Buddhism. It is one of India’s most ancient techniques of meditation and was practised by Gotama Buddha more than 2,500 years ago. The technique aims for the total eradication of negative thoughts, or mental impurities, and the resulting joy of liberation from negativity. Its purpose is healing from human suffering.

Greater Self-Awareness

Vipassana is a way of self-transformation through self-observation. You start to become aware of the thoughts that you have, the majority of which are usually negative, either about yourself or others. Initially you will be aware of the general mind chatter that is going on at the surface level of the mind, such as “I must remember to do such and such”, “Did I lock the door?”, “I must remember to put the bin out”, “Is my phone switched off?”.

As you start to relax and go deeper into meditation, other thoughts will start to come up from your subconscious mind. These are the thoughts that are usually negative in their vibration and effects and include such things as “I’ll never be able to do this”, “I can never do this as well as him/her”, or “this is a total waste of time”. When you start to meditate on where these thoughts come from, you will find that they relate to other things you have tried to do in life where you perceived you failed or weren’t good enough. It is so important to be aware of our underlying thoughts and beliefs because they condition your behaviour and the way you think about yourself and the world around you.

Letting Go of Negative Thoughts

With Vipassana Meditation you can see and actually remove the causes of suffering, which you will come to see are within yourself. Now that you have identified the negative thoughts you carry around in your subconscious, it is important to let them go. The aim is not to repress or deny the existence of negative thoughts but rather to let them come up and just dismiss them. When meditating, I often visualise a stream flowing in front of me where I deposit any negative thoughts that arise and watch them be carried away in the stream out of my consciousness. By doing this, you are starting to consciously detach from them and, in time, they will have less influence over your conscious, day-to-day behaviour.

Finding Inner Peace

As your meditation deepens, you will notice that gradually fewer and fewer thoughts arise and you will spend more time in the silent space between the thoughts. At this stage you reach the place of perfect peace and tranquillity that lies behind your own subconscious mind. You have risen above and beyond your own sense of self/ego with your personal issues and behavioural conditioning and have entered the realm of pure mind, oneness and unity that is the ultimate goal of meditation.

Benefits

Regular practice of Vipassana meditation helps you to control your thoughts but, more importantly, choose your thoughts. Long term this will help you become a more positive, effective and creative individual. Remember that your thoughts create your experiences: positive thoughts with positive energy attract positive experiences and create opportunities for you to grow as an individual; negative thoughts carry a negative energy and will attract the kinds of experiences that justify your negative beliefs. This can leave you feeling ‘stuck’ in one or more areas of life or with a feeling that your life isn’t turning out as well as it should.

Regular practice can lead to greater peace, self-control and compassion for yourself and others. It eventually eliminates the cause of mental pain, purifies the mind and leads to a stable happiness that isn’t affected by your moods or outward circumstances.

Helen Shortland is a Reiki Master Teacher, Meditation Teacher and Holistic Therapist based at Little London Herbal Stores on Kings Walk in Nottingham city centre. Her website is http://helenshortland.com.

Helen is currently running a 4 week Vipassana (Stillpoint) Meditation course on Wednesday mornings (beg Wed 10th April) 10.30-11.45am which is open to all with a basic knowledge of meditation. Cost is £28 for full course or £8 for individual classes. If you wish to attend on a drop-in basis, places are still available. Each weekly class includes a relaxation exercise, a guided visualisation and Vipassana Meditation practice. Please email helenshortland@live.co.uk or contact her on 07748 591690 for further information and/or to book a place.