The moment of returning to the room at the end of a meditation, staying present to the interior world while opening to the exterior world, is a key part of meditation practice. It is a moment to savour, connecting again to the world around us, with a renewed awareness of our internal state. It is the point where our meditation practice and our daily lives meet.

Meditation is not limited to the time we set aside to sit in silence. Gradually extending that moment of return allows us to integrate meditation into everything we do. As we sit in front of our computer, work in our gardens, walk into town, we can remind ourselves to connect with the breath moving in and out of our bodies. As well as calming our systems, it increases our capacity to deal with whatever life throws at us.

Meditation & Therapy

The more we connect with our interior world, the more sensitive we become to what is happening in our bodies. We can then engage more deeply with the work of therapists, who invite us to connect with and listen to our bodies. Meditation and therapeutic practices go hand in hand.

Meditation Apps

The lockdown has been an opportunity for many to discover or deepen their meditation practice and there is a wealth of apps available. The foundation for the Vietnamese Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hanh, offers an app, as well as recommending a number of others, to help us work more mindfully.

As we return to the “new normal”, let us take with us habits, which support us to live more meaningful, and sustainable lives.

This is a blogpost that I was invited to write by Rosie Withey, an equine facilitated learning practitioner and wellbeing coach.

Caroline Sharley and Siân Griffith at Your Somerset Retreat

At last it’s summer;

Holiday time and a chance to get away from our daily routines and busy lives. Yet, we can often find a holiday is an extremely stressful experience; negotiating security at the airport, packing all the suitcases and calming tense family dynamics en route. Then adjusting to an unfamiliar environment, sunburn and mosquito bites! We think we’re going to get away from it all - but actually can come back feeling like we need a proper rest!

So, how can we really rest and recharge? 

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Do you want to change?
The start of a new year is the perfect time to bring in changes that we want to see in our lives. The excitement around the new year can help to lift us, and carry us along on the collective wave of enthusiasm. At least some of the way. A quick glance at the Internet, and I read that only 8% of us manage to carry through New Year’s resolutions. Around 60% of those resolutions fall by the wayside by the end of January.
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After the Ecstasy

Back at my desk after running a weekend silent retreat, I am reminded of the title of a book by Jack Kornfield, one of my favourite meditation teachers: After the Ecstasy, the Laundry. The weekend was a blend of yoga, meditation, space, countryside, great people and lovely food.  Nourishment for body and soul. But when the alarm goes off on Monday morning, what’s different?

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I used to feel vaguely irritated when I picked this card from Doreen Virtue’s pack of Goddess Oracle cards. Maeve is a Celtic Goddess connected with the womb and female cycles. The message with the card is “Honour the cycles of your body, energy levels and emotions”. How do you feel reading that? Are you in touch with your own rhythms and, more importantly, do you want to listen to them? I certainly didn’t.

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Puss died as he had lived, with dignity and on his own terms. Coming downstairs to greet the vet, he neatly skirted round her, heading for the kitchen and a last taste of food, before re-presenting himself. Ready to leave, but not willing to miss out on his last supper. Cupping his head in my hand as the vet gently administered to him he licked my palm, and breathed a sigh as his heartbeat gradually slowed and then stopped. ...continue reading

Do you ever wonder if meditation might be harmful? It is rare these days to read about negative effects of meditation, but my attention was caught this week by an article based on research from the University of Mannheim. As I prepare to run a meditation-yoga-silence retreat this weekend, I read that “People’s egos get bigger after yoga and meditation”. The findings suggest that people who developed a meditation practice had a greater sense of well-being and self-enhancement, so their egos were inflated rather than quietened.

I did not include “a greater sense of self-importance” on my advertising materials. Should I have done? ...continue reading