5 Free Gifts Of Life – Meditation

5 Free Gifts Of Life – Meditation

Mindfulness, visualisation, breath, silence, chant and stillness are all elements that can be utilised to bring about a meditative state.  Meditation is about creating a space where you are non reactive to stimuli. Its about letting go of the need to act and paradoxically this allows us to be more present, have clarity of mind and to engage with a calm centredness.

Meditation does not need to involve a religious doctrine as it is a stand alone technique which creates a calm inner space. Into this space you can introduce any other elements which you may wish to focus on.


There are many ways to activate this deeply personal tool. This blog is really just a reminder that this is a hugely helpful and powerful activity which can bring balance to your mind and body in an often chaotic or busy modern life.

If you have never tried meditation, see below for a few links.

I have heard of people who are scared to try it as they think they will be helplessly indoctrinated into a religion or loose control of their minds. This is pretty far from reality as it is a very calming activity and you can always choose how you would like to approach it. You are always in control and after a while realise how out of control you were.

The extraordinary filmmaker David Lynch describes his experience of meditation in his book “Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness, and Creativity”

“It takes you to an ocean of pure consciousness, pure knowingness. But it’s familiar; it’s you. And right away a sense of happiness emerges—not a goofball happiness, but a thick beauty.”


Using simple techniques can often be most effective. Meditation can be used to bring you calmness, clarity, self awareness, conscious awareness and to connect you with the divine.

Some practices use a CLOSED EYE method which helps close off visual distractions and can assist in developing an open space to practice visualisation techniques.

Other practices involve the eyes remaining open. A soft gaze is adopted so that there is no direct focus into the outside world.  An awareness can be created which holds central the practitioner whilst expanding the awareness to include them in their surroundings. A simple technique in this incidence is to focus only on the breath going in and out of the body and bringing the awareness back to the breath each time the mind wanders. Breathing through the mouth is recommended in this practice. The OPEN EYE technique is said to keep the mediator connected with the world rather than disconnecting them, a state that can bring the calmness and awareness into the everyday life rather than just at the times of mediation.

Chanting is of course sound based and creates a type of meditative trance state in the mind. Traditional and religious chants and mantras were often developed using specific sets of sounds which are said to be pure resonances of prayers and creationist sound. Chanting is often used to prepare the mind for meditation.

Regular meditation can affect long term changes in brain wave patterns which in turn can help sustain the positive effects of meditation.

Here are a few links, and meditation techniques to try.


Urban Monk –  Get Started: Buddhist Meditation Techniques for Beginners

Comment – Clean, detailed site, with clear supportive information which leads to longer and more varied practices. Focus is on Mindfullness and Vipasana techniques.



David Lynch- Talks about meditation

Comment – Short and interesting but poor quality.



Deepak Chopra Meditation

Mantra OM 2

Comment – 1 hour sound recording of Om Mantra. Sit quietly and breathe to this one.



Mary Jaksch, Zen Master – Meditation and tips

Comment – Nice little web page that gives supportive advise for silent meditation to the beginner.


5 Free Gifts Of Life – Giving Thanks

Gratitude is an attitude of expressing thankfulness. If you are the kind of person who sees joy in all life then you are truely blessed. You will also know how easy and powerful it feels to say ‘Thank You’. Not everyone feels this natural ease, but you can create it by taking a moment to mentally let go of any judgements or old view points you might be holding about the situation. In doing so you free your mind to open up to new posibilites and ways of responding.

This is a powerful gift. You can do this vocally or quietly to yourself. It can be directed to another, to yourself, to a situation and even to your food. Giving thanks is a wonderful way of showing your true appreciation for life. When we give thanks we open and connect to things outside of ourselves, whether this be other people or to our concept of the divine. We can also create a deep connection with ourselves internally which can become a transformative tool of concious creation and joy.

I think it was Deepak Chopra who once said “When the going gets tough, the tough give thanks”.

5 Free Gifts of Life – A Smile

Smiling is a simple action that has deep and significant positive effects. When I look into someones eyes and smile, it breaks down all barriers that may otherwise come between us. In that instant the smile is returned and a joyous feeling fills my heart as we share a pure moment of friendship and understanding.

ben wedding 3 2012


Never underestimate the power of a smile. This is something you can share with friends or strangers. It is a communication that has no linguistic boundaries. It is multiplied when it is reflected back to you and is a simple generator of good feelings which can bring about happiness and improved health.

In Chinese Taoist healing an ‘Inner Smile’ is given to each organ allowing it to feel your concious directive of positive energy, thus enlivening the organ and promoting balance of it’s function.

Taoist Master Mantak Chia has taught the inner smile for the past 40 years. “In ancient China, the Taoists taught that a constant inner smile to oneself, insured health, happiness and longevity. Why? Smiling to yourself is like basking in love: you become your own best friend. Living with an inner smile is to live in harmony with yourself.”

Mantak Chia also explained that as sickness starts from negative emotions settling in the organs, the inner smile breaks this cycle. “By transforming destructive emotions into positive energy the inner smile removes the cause and symptoms of disharmony.”

You can read more about healing sounds and the inner smile by following the link below to Mantak Chia’s website and reading the article by Caroline Robertson, a Naturopath, Homoeopath and Ayurvedic consultant in Sydney, Australia.


Mantak Chia is a phenomenal Taoist Master who’s teachings I came across over 20 years ago. He is well worth investigating and incidentally has made it to the Watkins’ Spiritual 100 List for 2012. I was a bit curious about this list so have included the link below.


The scientific community have also shown that smiling triggers endorphins (happy hormones) and immune boosting T-cells to be released. When the face smiles it opens up the blood vessels in the head which lowers cerebral vascular temperature. It has been suggested this is one of the contributing factors to feeling good when you smile.

Smile therapy actually lowers the stress hormones cortisol, adrenalin and noradrenaline and produces hormones which stabilise blood pressure, relax muscles, improve respiration, reduce pain, accelerate healing and stabilise mood.

Personally I just get a kick out of smiling and seeing people smile back. It makes me feel connected to others, as if we are sharing a happy secret.

5 Free Gifts Of Life – Posture

Everyone wants to feel at their best. When we do we radiate vitality and can attract beneficial situations to ourselves like magic. Your body has incredible intelligence and learns what you teach it amazingly quickly. Just like a child it is important to show it healthy patterns of behaviour, which will then become healthy habits.

Many people spend hours of their lives sitting at desks, standing for long hours or using repetitious body movements. Thankfully social awareness is growing and the negative effects of these patterns are being recognised. Health and safety regulations encourage employers to help workers look after their bodies by taking breaks, doing rebalancing excercises and using ergonimically designed tools and furniture. However it is up to you to look after yourself properly and when you are tired your body naturally starts to droop. If you can rest, sleep or even just lie down flat for a bit, your body will generally recover pretty quickly.


Continual awareness of your posture is one of the most powerful tools that you have to change and maintain a healthy mind/body. When you hold yourself in upright alignment you direct your muscles and tissues to support your whole bodily system.

Organs are not compressed, blood flow can reach into all areas bringing nutrients and oxygen to the cells. As your body is continually refreshing all its cells, maintaining good postures will lead your body to grow in a strong healthy shape. If you do not uplift your bodys posture it will form using the collapsed shapes which eventually lead to hunches, stoops and poor alignments. These can lead to illness. Do yourself a favour open up and straighten up, it’s free and one of the most holistic things you can do for yourself.

A few sinmple things you can try…

Foot Placement

Feet are friends that often get forgotten. It may sound simple but when you think about it our feet are the first things that enter into every new space we take our bodies. Our feet lead us into our future!

As you walk around have a look down at your feet and become aware of your walking patterns.

Do either of your feet turn inwards or outwards? Do you land softly on your feet? Do you land heavily on your heals? The easiest way to change a pattern is to make a game out of practicing a new pattern.

How long can you walk with awareness? Notice each foot as it lands. Place each foot down with the toes facing forward. Think of your big toe as an arrow pointing you towards your destination.

Gentle and consistent attention to straight foot placement will slowly correct twists that may be being transfered up the leg when the foot is placed down at an angle.

Landing heavily on the heals sends shocks straight up the leg bones, jarring the joints and potentially causing knee and hip problems…Owch!

Imagine that you are a star athelete or a graceful dancer and practice landing with a little bit more control. Place the weight either evenly across your whole foot as you land or land on the front edge of your foot, across the strong ball of your foot just before the arch.

The arch of your foot is like a bridge that pivots between the front and back of your foot. It is one of the strongest shapes in nature and it needs to be as it is the shock absorber that takes your weight as you walk.

Standing and Sitting

Help your body stay strong and vital by keeping it as aligned as possible.
This means placing the weight over the load bearing parts of your body.

The best place to start is by checking that your spine is straight. Checking to see if the top of your torso is leaning forward and if so straighten your spine so that your chest is facing forwards instead of downwards.

Drop your shoulders down away from your ears and roll the shoulders back and down. This will make your chest feel as if it is wider and more open. This will open the lungs up and you should be able to breath more deeply and easily.

BINGO! More oxygen in the blood more vitality!

Check your neck and head are also straight. Working on computers in particular often leads to craning the neck forward. Imagine that your ears are in line with your shoulders and your head has a string attached to the top of it which is pulling it gently upwards. This may feel a bit awkward at first but will become more comfortable the more your body remembers it.

The last simple tip is making sure your pelvis is tilting forwards. I was always told I had a ‘Sway Back’. This means that the lower part of the spine curves backward slightly making your bottom stick out a bit. I found with patience and perseverence I could correct this by tipping the end of the tailbone forward. This aligns the spine and takes the pressure off the lower back. The weight of the upper body is now resting on the hips instead of a couple of the lower vertebrae.

If you want to find out more about body alignment you could try yoga. Iyengar Yoga in particular focuses on the structural alignment of the body. If yoga is not your thing then there are many other bodywork practices that you can investigate instead. Remember we are all different so find out what best suits you.