By Bianca Havukainen, Life Coach and Meditation Teacher at the Northern Beaches' Freshwater Wellness Centre
In this chronically-stressed world, there is a yearning to reconnect with the beauty of life, a yearning to live a more purposeful and meaningful life, and to feel a deeper sense of #connection – while shaking off the layers of stress, self-doubt and conditioning that keep us stuck in old ways.
Perhaps this resonates with you too? Each of us has an inner knowing, an intuitive capacity to align with our purpose and what best serves in any moment – both for us as individuals and as part of the collective. However, for many of us, this inner knowing can be clouded over and confused by fear, stress, self-doubt, limiting self-beliefs and conflicting messages.
In this post, I’ll share with you how #meditation helps to clear accumulated stress and cultivates mental freedom and higher states of #consciousness. There are many types of meditation, so I’ll be referring to the category of meditation known as ‘Being Meditation’.
Laundering the nervous system
Our beliefs, fears, reactions and habits are largely driven by our subconscious. We all have those certain reactions where we think, feel or act in ways that we know aren’t supporting us, but despite our best efforts to change, we still find ourselves stuck in the same old patterns (does this sound familiar?)
Our #subconscious mind is estimated to drive 95-97% of all our thoughts, feelings and behaviours. Our subconscious programming develops during our childhood and adolescence and is what runs the self-limiting beliefs, fears, reactions and habits that can keep us feeling trapped in old patterns.
Meditating with a Being Meditation technique effortlessly brings the mind and body into a deep state of rest (a different state of rest to the sleep state). This creates the perfect conditions for the nervous system to release stress. Not only are we activating the relaxation response and restoring balance in the moment, but we are actually allowing the gradual release of accumulated stress and unprocessed emotional energy that we tend to hold on to – our ‘stuff’ or ‘baggage’, so to speak.
In other words, meditation naturally ‘launders’ the nervous system, over time clearing away layers and layers of stress, fatigue, and conditioning.
Simultaneously, with ongoing practice, we gain clearer self-awareness. We develop what is known as the ‘witness perspective’, where we no longer so strongly identified with the #thoughts or #emotions running rampant through us, but rather identify more as the stable consciousness (our self) who is experiencing the thoughts and emotions. The witness perspective brings clarity and the capacity to pause and choose a response rather than reacting – perhaps we no longer agree with the same old way that we’ve always reacted and can see a better solution to try. We are increasingly more able to sense what will serve in the moment, and to consciously do something different and rewrite our patterns. As Jonni Pollard writes in his book The Golden Sequence, “Witnessing enables us to discern the difference between a response of wisdom and a reaction of fear”. This naturally flows on to our relationships and all areas of life. As they say, if you want to change what is going on around you, start with yourself - watch what happens when you engage differently in a situation and shift the paradigm.
Over time with regular practice we notice that some of our old self-limiting patterns and fears simply fall away. Situations that were once very triggering to us start to carry less charge, and we are increasingly more aware of our self-power and confidence, and feel more emotionally and mentally free. This is especially powerful when meditation is practiced in combination with self-growth work.
On a physical level, too much stress for too long is a major disruptor of the body’s normal functions, including sleep, learning, memory, attention, and the immune system. Through reducing stress, meditation can have a significant impact on health and wellbeing.
Despite all the technology platforms that ‘connect’ us, people are feeling more disconnected than
ever from themselves and the people around them. A very beautiful result of meditation is that it reconnects us with a deeper, truer sense of ourselves and life. It reconnects us with the beauty and sacredness of life. As I write this, I think back to the first time I started to experience this phenomenon… I was walking home from the bus stop and found myself spontaneously filled with a sense of awe and wonder at the beauty of the trees and hedges that lined the footpath. I had walked this street at least a hundred times before, but in that moment it was as if I was really noticing the essence of my environment for the first time. It can be likened to that sense of awe that one experiences when watching a magnificent sunset, but imagine this sense of open-heartedness starting to permeate through your day to day, even in the smallest moments like making a cup of tea, or walking home from work! With ongoing regular practice, meditation cultivates higher states of consciousness. As consciousness expands, and accumulated stress is laundered from the nervous system, love flows more freely, and all areas feel more elevated. We become increasingly more established in love and compassion, and feel a greater sense of belonging to the connectedness of all things.
In strengthening our self-awareness and #intuition, we also become more aware of what is and is not aligning with our deeper truth. We find that there may be certain things that we once ‘put up with’ that we simply can’t ignore anymore and finally gain the awareness and self-determination to do something about it. In other ways, we may see more clearly how we ourselves are contributing to certain issues, and in doing our own self-work are able to change the way we show up to certain situations, taking ownership and shifting the paradigm entirely.
The most common resistance to learning #meditation
The question I hear most commonly from people is that they’d love to meditate but they just don’t think they could, because their mind is too busy or they can’t sit still! However, not all meditation techniques require intense focus or concentration to be effective – in fact, the Being Meditation that I offer in the upcoming course is an effortless technique that absolutely anyone is able to successfully practice, as it doesn’t require you to concentrate, quiet the mind, or try to sit perfectly still. People are often pleasantly surprised at how easy it is.
In these times, possibly the most important thing we can do for the state of the world is to start from within. To establish ourselves in love, compassion, and elevated consciousness, and to release the stress, traumas and fear that block out our higher capacity. The ripple effects that this has on all aspects of our lives, families, communities, and the world around us is possibly the greatest gift we can give to ourselves and to the world :)
If you are feeling the call to learn to meditate yourself, please reach out to me with any questions you may have – I would love to support you in your journey!
Friday 2nd September 7:00-8:30 pm
Saturday 3rd September 2-3:30 pm
Sunday 4th September 2-3:30 pm
Bianca is a Holistic Life Coach and Meditation Teacher with 15 years’ experience in health and wellness. She is available for 1:1 coaching appointments on Saturday mornings, and runs regular meditation courses and a beautiful monthly Women’s Circle here at the centre.