I realise it is all very well and good to advise people to start meditating but how do you do it? What tools can you use? Do you need to be with someone to guide you? In this blog post I discuss several tools on the market that you can try using and the pro’s and con’s of each product.
1. Mindfulness (Book)
MINDFULNESS reveals a set of simple yet powerful practices that you can
incorporate into daily life to help break the cycle of anxiety, stress,
unhappiness, and exhaustion. It promotes the kind of happiness and
peace that gets into your bones. It seeps into everything you do and
helps you meet the worst that life throws at you with new courage.
Mindfulness is a form of meditation that makes you more ‘mindful’ of the thoughts that enter your mind. It allows you to train your mind into turning your anxieties and negative mental chatter into rational arguments and acceptance that allows you to live normally with further practice.
Review of Mindfulness
As this is a book it is for those who are quite happy to sit down and take some time to understand how the process of mindfulness works with some small examples explained throughout. Being a dyslexic person it wouldn’t be my first choice to read the book but due to the subject matter I persevered.
Along with the book comes a CD with some guided mindful meditations to help get you in the flow of becoming more mindful.
Overall it is a good book and really gives an insight into the power of ‘mindfulness’ with a constant resource of why and how it is important for your mental health and should grace everyone’s book shelf as a resource for understanding how the mind can achieve less negative thinking.
Positives : – Comes with a CD and the book can be studied when commuting to work.
Negative : – If you are not a person who enjoys reading or take what you read in then it may not be the best option to begin with but act as a resource for understanding mindfulness.
2. Leela (Xbox360)
Based around the chakra system Leela is a game that was developed in collaboration with the very famous Deepak Chopra by allowing the user to meditate through play.
It takes you on 7 games that address each chakra to attempt to bring the chakras back into balance.
What are the chakras? The main chakras are bodies of energy known as ‘wheels of energy’ that start at the base of the spine and finish at the top of the head and are believed to create our reality and everything we experience and feel. It is constantly changing depending upon what is going on in your life at the time and it is believed that each wheel has a different purpose ( You can read more about them here in this article if interested).
You may think the chakra system is all a bit strange, particularly if you have never heard of it before but scientists have proven, with the help of special cameras, that all living things have an energy field around them and each person’s aura is of different colours and is considered able to identify physical health problems and personality.
Review of Leela
The good thing about Leela is that it IS fun. Some of the small games are more fun than others but all help bring a sense of peace and you are definitely conscious of your breathing and movements of the body which after playing helps bring you into a state of peace. If you own an Xbox 360 I would recommend this game but it does take dedication to play it as you will need at least 30 minutes to set it up, get comfortable and practice the meditative game.
Positive : – Fun and accessible meditation games. Also enjoyed the self guided meditation with meditative music in the background.
Negative : – Takes at least 30 minutes of your time to setup, get comfortable and then practice the game
3. Self Belief | Guided Meditation (CD)
Track 1 – Self Confidence: discover your self on a fantasy island
Track 2 – Self Esteem: see your true self in a beautiful light
Track 3 – Self Belief: live with passion and purpose
This is a guided meditation CD that takes less of your time to set up and can be completed by doing just one track although each one flows through from the last. The first takes you to an island where you are stranded alone where it allows you to find yourself and your true purpose. The next allows you to see the positive aspects of yourself and lastly the track puts you into a cinema watching a film of a person who has gone through hardship but eventually makes it.
All in all the CD is excellent and takes around 30 minutes to listen to all three tracks but individually around 10 minutes. I would recommend the cd, particularly if you are just starting to meditate as it will help you find how beneficial meditating can be to your mental psyche.
Positives : Manageable 10 minute meditations that build your confidence and help visual amazing experiences in your minds eye.
Negative : Possibly a few more tracks are needed to further enhance the feeling of confidence.
4. Alan Curtis Guided Meditation (Mp3)
Alan Curtis is a psychic, EFT practitioner and musician and was the person who first introduced me to the power of meditation through his own guided meditations that really are excellent. They seem to have more of a spiritual side to his meditations being a spiritual healer and psychic but are well worth taking the 15 minutes of time for each track and each one starts with helping you focus your attention on your breathing and then the guided meditation begins.
They are available to purchase directly on his website and there is also a small 30 second clip to get an idea of what to expect.
Positives : Very good guided meditations that help send you into a deep relaxation.
Negatives : Possibly more spiritual meditations for those seeking guidance than those who are just wanting to find equilibrium in the mind but still very peaceful meditations.
5. Headspace App (Android & Ios)
Lastly and by no means least is Headspace App. I have recently just downloaded this app and found the initial meditation to be a very good experience. The ease of access of having the meditation right there on your phone wherever you are to help guide you makes it quick and easy to set up. Headspace allows you to focus your attention on certian areas of your mind by selecting things you want to target.
When you install this app you are given 10 free meditations to begin your journey and having experienced the first one I found it to be easy and accessible and brought balance back to my mind. My only problem I found was during long pauses I thought my phone might have died so opened my eye so might been better with some small ambience music in the background whilst the english gentleman spoke.
A nice feature is the ability to add your friends so you can help motivate each other to meditate. I will continue to use headspace and give a more in depth review in the near future.
Positives : So easy to access and intuitive interface makes experimenting with meditation easy for the beginner and the pro.
Negatives : Maybe needed to add some abience to the background of the meditation but maybe that will come further into the app and also once the 10 free meditations are up you have to pay to unlock more.
There are many tools out there to help you begin meditating but it all depends on the way you feel works best for you. You could even find a buddhist centre somewhere in your locality if you would like to work with meditation face to face with an instructor but if that’s not your thing, the five above mentioned tools could really help get you started. I recommend downloading Headspace today, its a great place to start.
What tools do you find helped you get into meditation? Please comment below.