Back in 2011 I went backpacking alone. It was a time of reflection. It was a time to learn more about myself. It was a time to be at peace. I learnt a lot during this time, most of which has stayed with me for all of these years. One thing that I learnt was to be more spiritual and to meditate. So when I was made aware of World Meditation Day, I was secretly a little bit excited!
In this blog post I am going to explain a little bit about why spiritualism is important, what World Meditation Day is and the history behind it. I will also provide some meditation tips that you can practice at home. This post was developed in partnership with the hosts of World Meditation Day.
Many of the elements associated with spiritualism, for me, are linked to travel. The smell of incense, the chime of a gong, yoga in the park, the peacefulness I have experienced in Buddhist countries.
Whilst I have tried to create a similar atmosphere at home in the UK, I don't find this easy at all.
Burning my incense helps. Listening to calming music helps. Being ‘in the moment' helps.
But in reality, I live in a fast-paced world. Everything is go, go, go all of the time. I feed the baby whilst replying to e-mails. I catch up on my favourite TV show whilst drying my hair. I run to my daughter's ballet class each week because I'm always in a rush. Life at home is busy, it's not at all like it was when I was travelling.
This is why I sometimes need a little help!
There are many benefits of being more spiritual. Psychology Today breaks this down into five distinct categories:
Being spiritual helps you to be a kinder person. It helps you to be more generous with your time and your resources. It encourages you to have a positive outlook on life.
Being spiritual can help you to see the world through other people's eyes and to be empathetic. It helps you to take a step back and reflect ion things and to look at the bigger picture.
There is evidence that spiritual people have positive relationships, high self-esteem and are more optimistic than people are not spiritual.
Being spiritual can help you to achieve your life goals. It certainly helped when I was doing my PhD! Spirituality can be considered to be a path toward self-actualisation/
People who are tuned in with their sprititual selves are likely to spend more time thinking, reflecting and appreciating things in life, whether great or small.
World Meditation Day is essentially a celebration for meditation.
On May 21st 2019 Will Williams, the founder of World Meditation Day and author of “The Effortless Mind”, will host two guided meditation sessions; one in London and another in Vancouver.
Beginning at the top of the Gherkin in London at 8:30am, Will will conduct the first group meditation session. It will be streamed to a live audience via the Beeja Meditation website and Facebook.
Once finished, Will will fly to Vancouver for the second live-streamed session at the Museum of Anthropology at 20:30pm to continue his World Meditation Day celebration.
It is anticipated that there will be approximately two million people joining the guided meditation practice. Whilst I enjoy meditation, I find it so difficult to focus on my own. So I'm sure that there are many people in a similar boat who will appreciate this guided session.
The History of World Meditation Day derives from the History of Meditation itself.
Meditation has always been a central part of many religions and was first recorded in writing in about 1500 BCE in India. It plays a strong role in religions throughout the world, especially Buddhism and other Eastern faiths.
It is also practiced by people who are not religious or spiritual as a way of easing stress and clearing a person's mind.
I'm sure that we will all learn a lot from the World ~Meditation Day guided meditation practice on 21st May, however, going forward it is useful to have some tips for successful meditation. Psychology Today is, again, a really useful source to help in this regard.
If you're a beginner (and we all are at one stage or another), start with short sessions. The aim is to be focussed and relaxed and it's better to achieve this for a short amount of time than to struggle for a long time. This just reminds me of the meditation scene in Eat Pray Love…
Meditation can be a great form of therapy. It can ease stress and stress-based illnesses.
Understand that the goal is relaxation and focus. You want to clear your mind. Don't beat yourself up about it. We all struggle sometimes, just remind yourself of the purpose.
There are no hard and fast rules. If you find a way that works best for you, then do it!
You might find it easier some days than you do on other days. Remember that it's not an all or nothing process.
World Meditation Day is happening 21st Mat 2019. So for some support with your meditation, for an introduction to meditation or just for some company in your meditation, tune in to join Will and the rest of the world with their practice!