Meditation has been practiced over thousands of years in many different countries of the world. There are many kinds of meditation. While it is a part of many religions, many with no faith tradition meditate too. The style I usually practice and teach is called Insight Meditation. Insight Meditation is non-denominational so anyone can meditate in this way.
Insight Meditation was taught in the Indian subcontinent over 2500 years ago. Mindfulness practice is a central part of this and is regarded as a foundation for insight. Metta practice, also known as “Lovingkindness Meditation”, is an important part of Insight meditation too. It wasn’t until the 70’s that Insight Meditation started to appear in the West. Mindfulness practice is now widely taught. Many medical studies published in respected journals over several decades have consistently shown that a regular mindfulness practice has been associated with a number of positive effects. These have included a reduction in the symptoms of anxiety, chronic pain, depression, irritability and stress, and an increase in feelings of wellbeing, happiness, peacefulness and ease. As a result mindfulness meditation is recognised by the medical and psychological professions as being a valuable tool for improving mental and physical health. Mindfulness meditation is the root of MBSR (Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction) and MBCT (Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy).
Mindfulness meditation develops our awareness of what is happening in the present moment. Much of the time we are not really ‘present’ at all- we may get to a place as if on autopilot, not remembering how we got there, and sometimes can spend large chunks of time worrying about events in the past or in the future. These thoughts and feelings can compromise our quality of life. Mindfulness meditation teaches us how to steady and calm the mind by paying attention to this present moment.
Metta practice or “Lovingkindness meditation” is a wonderful way of developing warmth, friendliness and compassion towards ourselves and others.
With the practice of meditation our minds steady and a sense of ease, tranquillity and joy arise. This can lead to insight and wisdom.
Learning how to feel a greater sense of wellbeing and happiness seems like a good skill to me and certainly worth cultivating!
Contact me for information about classes and courses, and also see the section on workshops fur current events.