Meditation in all its forms has become a big topic in recent years, and nowadays the hippy stereotype is largely gone. Increasingly meditation is being seen as a tool to help us cope with our busy and often stressful modern lives.
From my own experience as someone who has meditated for many years and run a regular meditation group, I know the impact it has had on my life.
My parents and grandparents practised Transcendental Meditation (TM) almost their entire lives, so I grew up in a family where meditation was commonplace. During my time at University I ran a twice-weekly meditation group aimed at students. Many had never tried meditation before, others had some funny concepts about what it involved, but the response was consistently positive.
So why meditate?
Meditation practiced regularly can help us with all sorts of things, from reducing stress and anxiety, helping our concentration, healing our relationships and generally improving our quality of life. I won’t go much into the science behind meditation in this post, but if you are interested this journal is a good place to start.
But finding the time to meditate, especially if you work full time or have a young child, can be tricky. Here is a look at a few different types of meditation, their benefits and how they might work for you.
1 – Meditation apps.
There are many meditation apps out there designed to help you fit meditation into any part of a busy schedule.
Headspace. Headspace is perhaps the best known meditation app. It is marketed as a “gym for the mind”, and offers a free 10 day trial of 10 minute guided meditations. After that users must subscribe to get access to the full content. It’s simple, effective and if you enjoy a guided meditation, one of the best ways to go.
Walking Meditations. Walking meditations is another nice one if you struggle finding the time to meditate. This app helps you meditate as you walk by focusing your attention on your body and surroundings. Perfect for a lunch break or short evening stroll. £1.49. Available on iPhone, iPad and Android.
Room to Breathe Meditation. Room to breathe meditation offers guided breathing exercises to help calm an over active mind by focusing on the breath. Great for anyone who has had problems meditating before or finds listening to someone else’s voice unhelpful. £0.79. Available on iPad, iPhone and Android.
Relax Melodies. A simple but great app to help you sleep. Users can mix different melodies to help them fall asleep in the evening, or set timers for napping. A nice one for mothers with restless children. Free. Available for iPhone, iPad and Android.
2 – Local meditation groups.
Local meditation groups are great way to meditate if you’re someone who just wouldn’t get round to doing it on your own. Generally there is a range in techniques offered, some being guided, some not. Here are just a few in the Falmouth, Helston and St. Austell area.
Falmouth & Penryn:
Falmouth TM and Meditation group. A weekly group open to anyone looking for a regular meeting or to learn TM. Wednesday evenings, 7.30 @ The Falmouth Natural Health Practice, 30-31 church street. Donation. Find them on Facebook or contact Kellie on 07762241879.
Ganden Ling Kadampa Buddhism, Penryn. A weekly class offering practical instructions and helpful advice on how to meditate, gain strength of mind and lead a more peaceful and positive life. Everyone welcome. Tuesdays 7.30pm – 9pm, Miss Peapods Kitchen Café, Penryn. £6 or £4 concessions. See here for more details.
Lizard Chan group. This Chinese Zen meditation group is affiliated to the Western Chan Fellowship and offers twice monthly meetings, the first and third Monday of the month. The meetings include sitting and walking meditation. Retreat days and other events are also organised, led by invited Dharma Teachers from Chan and other buddhist traditions. See http://cornwallbuddhists.org/chan.shtml or call Sophie Muir on 01326 221651 for more information.
Ganden Ling Kadampa Buddhism, St. Austell. The same organisation that runs the group in Penryn. Weekly meetings on Tuesdays at 7 – 8.30, Friends Meeting House, High Cross Street, PL25 4AN. Classes cost £6 or £4 concessionary rate. See here for more details.