Tag Archives: mindfulness

Spiritual Eating

Spiritual eating is adopting a lighter, high vibration diet and eating more mindfully. It involves being more aware of what and how you eat. People choose to practice spiritual eating for a variety of reasons, namely to raise their personal energy vibration, improve physical health and mental wellbeing and to practice what Buddhists call non-harmfulness.

Raising your Energy Vibration

Food in its natural state – termed raw, living plant based food – has the highest vibration of all. It includes fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds and grains that have not been cooked above 48 degrees C. Vegan food (no animal or fish products) is high vibration, as is food that is without pesticides, additives, GM etc. At the opposite end of the spectrum, manufactured processed food including junk food and food high in additives or grown with pesticides has a very low vibration. Anything you consume that is actually dead (ie. meat or fish) has no vibration at all.

When you consume food that is fresh and natural, you are absorbing that high vibration into your body. High vibration foods are fruit and veg (even more so when fresh from the plant), salad foods, nuts, seeds and wholegrains. Fresh food has the highest vibration when eaten raw/cold. When food is cooked at high temperature through boiling, frying, grilling, barbecuing etc, much of the nutritional benefit and high energy vibration is lost as enzymes in the food are destroyed. Steaming and low temperature simmering are the best options for cooked food.

The main reason for wanting to raise your personal vibration is to improve your connection to Spirit and spiritual energies. If you are a Reiki or spiritual healer, a high energy vibration enables you to be a clearer channel for higher frequency healing energies. If you wish to develop your psychic and/or mediumship abilities, again the lighter and clearer a channel you are the better. A dense heavy body just weighs you down literally and metaphorically and you have to work extra hard to reach and communicate with your guides and angels. If you eat ‘lighter’, not only will you feel better physically and be more balanced emotionally, your head will be clearer so that you can more easily receive impressions and intuitions from spirit. Interestingly Doreen Virtue recommends eating pineapple to strengthen the pineal gland (relating to the crown and third eye chakras) to stimulate clairvoyance.

Many people like to incorporate a Rainbow Diet – a kind of full spectrum colour eating to energise the chakras. In other words, you need a balance of foods of all the different chakra colours to enable your energy body to be as balanced as possible. For example, red foods energise the root chakra; violet foods energise the third eye chakra.

You should also drink plenty of water, ideally 6-8 glasses a day. Water is a good conductor for psychic energy – which is why many of us receive insight and inspiration when lying in the bath!

Eating Mindfully

Being mindful of what you eat, when and how, is often included as part of a course in Mindfulness Meditation. Doing anything mindfully increases your self-awareness and makes you more present in all areas of your life, enabling you to be more grounded and effective in day-to-day life. When you eat mindfully, you are advised to chew your food very thoroughly in the mouth before swallowing. Chew each mouthful up to 40 times. This will help with the digestion process as food is then partially digested in the mouth before it hits the stomach. The body therefore needs to use less energy to digest the meal in the gut. Chewing food mindfully also makes you notice when you are actually full and need no more. It also heightens the sensory experience of taste and texture.

Most of the time people eat distractedly – watching television, talking to family/friends, thinking about problems or things they need to do, or just eating in a hurry because they need to do something else. Food is just shovelled down as quickly as possible with no thought to digesting it properly or savouring the taste. It is easy to eat more than you really need when you’re distracted. Eating mindfully both increases your self-awareness and improves your digestion.

Practising Non-Harmfulness

This Buddhist tenet is one that some people on a spiritual path choose to adhere to. Non-harmful eating includes products from animals that may have been killed or harmed in the process of providing that food. This would definitely rule out meat and fish and for some it would include dairy too.

Benefits of Spiritual Eating

This way of eating can be like a physical or spiritual detox. Eating higher vibration, raw, natural foods in particular can have a cleansing effect on the body. Digestion improves, allergies and intolerances are reduced, the immune system is boosted, energy levels improve and aches and pains including headaches are reduced. Physical health improves when you reduce or eliminate the unhealthy processed foods that cause inflammation and poor digestive health. Some people experience greater emotional balance and wellbeing – they are more tolerant, have greater ‘acceptance’ and less anger. A lot of negative emotions are caught up in what we eat and within our actual eating patterns which can gradually be released as we adopt a more healthy way of eating. Some people may find they have more intense dreams which can be a sign of a releasing of emotions on a subconscious level. Spiritual eating can also boost the depth and quality of your meditation practice.

Spiritual eating makes you more aware of what you are consuming. You start to see food as the fuel you give your body and sometimes you realise that the body isn’t running as well as it should. If you feel lethargic, low in energy, foggy headed or have digestive issues, eating more raw natural foods can make a huge improvement.

I have been on my own healthy plant based diet for 3 months now. In addition to losing a stone and a half in weight (which was much needed!), I have found a huge improvement in my digestive healthy and immune system. I feel ‘lighter’, more energised and more clear-headed. I also know I am being guided and motivated by Spirit and there seems to be a real improvement in the power of my Reiki treatments.

Notes:-

If you are cutting out meat altogether you will need to take a Vitamin B12 supplement as this vitamin is only found in meat. (I have however recently discovered that apricots help the body create its own bioactive B12.) Vitamin B12 is available from health stores and I recommend Little London Herbal Stores on Trinity Walk, Nottingham.

Starting with the April Newsletter I will be looking at the Rainbow Diet, starting with the Root Chakra in April. I will be introducing a series of Chakra Shakes – a smoothie recipe to energise each chakra – as well as including suggested foods you can eat to energise each one. April starts with a delicious Cherry Berry Smoothie to energise the root chakra.

Helen Shortland is a Reiki Master Healer/Teacher, Meditation Teacher and Holistic Therapist based at 15 Wheeler Gate in Nottingham city centre. She is also currently studying Raw Food Nutrition to find out more about the healing power of natural food. Helen offers several healing treatments such as Reiki, Angelic Reiki, Faery Reiki, Angel Therapy and Fairy Blessing Guided Journey, as well as Usui Reiki and Faery Reiki training courses. She 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, therapies and workshops, please visit her website http://helenshortland.com or visit and ‘like’ her Facebook page Helen Shortland Holistics & Enchantment.

 

Meditation: Is it really bad for you?

meditation1

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.