Meditation, Mindfulness & Cloud Watching Theory

By Emma Churchill

Meditation, Mindfulness & Cloud Watching Theory

By Emma Churchill

Meditation and mindfulness could both be considered wellness ‘buzzwords’ in our corporate, contemporary society. We know they’re good for us. We know they can help us to relieve stress… but what do we really know about these ancient and artful traditions, and what can they do for our day to day lives?

Meditation is the ancient art of introspection, stilling the body and the thinking mind to the point that we can start to see, and feel, what is underneath. After many years of meditation practice, we may reach the point of mindfulness – the integration of this transcendent stillness into our lives to the point where we become fully aware and present. It is easier to think about meditation as a practice and mindfulness as the state of consciousness that begins to gently and slowly unfurl as we dive deeper into the practice.

Mindfulness allows us to be fully present and experience the Now in all its joyful gifts. In the wise words of Master Ugway (Kung Fu Panda) “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift – that’s why they call it the present.”

Meditation is not only a lifelong spiritual practice but it can also have many beneficial mental, physical and emotional effects that can help to enhance our quality of life. Some of the benefits to a regular meditation practice include;

  • Stabilised blood pressure
  • Reduced inflammatory markers in the body and brain
  • Reduction of stress and therefore many symptoms of stress; anxiety, insomnia, depression
  • Stabilised cardiac rhythm and healthier heart
  • A sense of peace, purpose and connectedness

So that all sounds great. But if you’re a newbie to meditation you may have some of the following thoughts orbiting within your mind;

I cant meditate as my mind is too busy”

I find meditation really hard”

I just cant clear my mind!”

“I can’t be still long enough to meditate”

So here’s a theory that may help to straighten out a few of these teething problems…

Picture the mind as a transcendent and expansive blue sky. This is the truest nature of the mind and is always unchanging.

Your thoughts are represented by the clouds. Sometimes grey and thick, sometimes light and fluffy.  The sky will rarely be clear of clouds, and sometimes the sky will be stormy. However the sky behind the clouds remains blue, expansive and beautiful – never changing. You would never judge the mind on the shape or nature of the clouds as they are simply two separate things.

Think of yourself as a cloud gazer. Observing the clouds passing with no judgement or attachment. Sometimes standing in the storm, sometimes bathing in the sunshine. Never blaming the sky for the weather that day, accepting whatever shape the clouds take with love and compassion.

You don’t label, judge or try to change the clouds. You don’t try to clear the sky, as you simply cannot. You simply lie back and peacefully gaze upon the clouds as they drift on by. You are the observer.  This is meditation.

Some helpful tips!

  • ⠀Meditation is not an attempt to clear the mind, but rather observe it. The sooner you can understand and accept that, the less frustrating meditation practice will feel. Try not to control the thoughts coming in and out just observe them from afar, as you would with clouds, and let them pass by without judgement. It is the nature of the mind to produce thoughts, feelings, emotions and sensations so the sooner you can release the concept of ‘clearing the mind’ the easier things will become.
  • There is no such thing as a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ meditation as there is no desired outcome. Release attachment to the result and meditation simply becomes practice.
  • If you’re having a tricky time settling into a comfortable seated position, or you are unable to sit comfortably, find a different position that suits you. Release the idea that meditation practice can only be taken in lotus pose on the crest of a Himalayan Mountain. We can sit, stand, lie, walk, dance for our meditation practice. Whatever suits you is fine, everybody is different.⠀
  • Make space every day to sit in mindfulness and meditate. Discipline is key to beneficial practice. Donate the smallest amount of time you can possibly muster consistently and dedicate that every day. 5 minutes daily can eventually turn into 20 minutes, and onwards!
  • Noises, distractions, sensations, smells and tastes are all a part of life. Meditation and mindfulness are not escapes from life, but are very much teaching us to fully experience life, in the present moment. Find a place to meditate that is warm, relaxing and comfortable but not overly distracting. Turn off your electronic devices for the time you have allocated and allow yourself to surrender to stillness.

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