The “Zen Patch”: A Need to Meditate
 
ABOUT POSTING

Readers of The Art of Healing are people who have made the decision to spend more of their time and energy on improving themselves so they are in a better position to give back to others and the world. They are also interested in sifting through information to find the best and most reliable sources about health and healing so they can learn more and then pass this on to others.

The Art of Healing
readers are generally well-educated, they may be practitioners working in the natural healthcare industry themselves, female, and in the 30+ demographic. They are often motivated to speak out, they are inclined to take action, and are good networkers.

This section of the site enables you to share your ideas, experiences and stories with other members of The Art of Healing community. To find out what kind of stories we’re looking for, and how to submit content to the site, read How To Post An Article below.

HOW POSTING WORKS

All article submissions must fit within the context of
The Art of Healing
, which is to inform and educate readers about health and healing alternatives. Article postings can be personal anecdotes and experiences of oneself or others, descriptions of businesses or individuals who are making a difference, ideas or initiatives, or references to innovative websites, books, films, music, art, and culture in the area of natural healthcare and healing. If you are interested in sharing information you believe would be of value to others and would improve the lives of others, we would love to read your article and look forward to hearing from you.

1. Articles should be a maximum of 500 words. The Art of Healing reserves the right to edit submissions for content, length and style

2. Be specific. If you're referring readers to another blog or website, make sure you include the URLs for every site and/or posting you are referencing.

3. Be descriptive. Make sure to tell readers why the subject of your submission is unique, important and/or of special interest to
The Art of Healing community.

4. If you are submitting pictures, please make sure they are in JPEG or GIF format.

5. Before making any submission you must read and agree to
The Art of Healing
Terms & Conditions.
Click Here to submit your article.

Why and How to Meditate for Beginners
The “Zen Patch” represents a place in our mind to go to meditate. For each of us this will be different- perhaps you move to a garden, the ocean, the mountains or rainforest. But whatever image you create in your mind, make the image vivid, strong and powerful. Each time you close your eyes to meditate that special place will quickly appear. As the image unfolds your breath will start to slow and deepen and the veil of daily life will lift and you will begin to submerge yourself into a peace and stillness like never before experienced.

What of Distractions
Can you sit in your Zen Patch - your place of peace, your lavender field or your mountain retreat - free of intruders? Just as our lavender fields and mountains have bugs and pests, so we find them in our Zen Patch. The pest we find here though, is that intrusive voice that comes to hijack our meditation. Beginners to meditation find this critical intruder very overpowering, for it seems the more they sit to meditate, the more opportunity there is for the critical parent (critical self) to emerge. Spending time in the Zen Patch without the intrusion of the critical parent will always be a challenge even for those who meditate on a regular bases, but it is especially so for the beginner.

How do we overcome this intruder? Our first intention must be to breathe; learning the qualities of the breath and the practice of pranayama (breathing practice) is very important. The object of pranayama is to consciously link mind and breath, to be aware of the inhalation, the breath retention and the exhalation in breath awareness the mind quietens and mental clarity increases the “fogginess” of everyday thinking is slowly lifted. There are several practices of pranayama to choose from. However, unless you are working with an experienced teacher it is best to keep the breath relaxed, simple and unforced. Watch the breath flow in, hold briefly, watch the breath flow out. This ebb and flow of breathing becomes a meditation on its own.

From pranayama we are able to move to the next step, that of pratyahara (sense withdraws). As we move through pranayama the mind becomes so intent on the breath that pratyahara occurs automatically. Through the practice of pratyahara our attention becomes drawn strongly inward, and though the senses remain present, they become quiet and unresponsive. We tend not to notice the passage of time or the discomforts of the physical body.

Moving inward
As the breath becomes more and more mindful we are able to drown out the voice of the critical parent. In this peacefulness we listen to the voice of love, the voice of ever lasting oneness, the super consciousness. As we sit with the nurturing parent our path becomes clear. We can see the journey’s path home. The nurturing parent is the voice of unconditional love. So often at the end of the day  we hear a recording in our head wishing we could have or should have done more, done a better job, been stronger or been more in control. But how often do we say, “Well done, you did well today, you were all you needed to be on this day”? It is good soul food to self-praise, to smile inwardly and outwardly to ourselves.

Why Meditate?
hen asked “why meditate”? many benefits come to mind. The stillness and peace help heal the heart and give us a chance to read the passages of our soul’s journey. A busy lifestyle, the voice of the critical self, the ego, perfectionism and so on, all will blur and bury the passages, the pages, and in time the whole book, and our journey becomes a drudgery of day-to-day doing with no real meaning. Meditation allows us time to drop the things we no longer need. As we control and steady our mind we prevent the critical parent from becoming strong enough to have power over our thinking and in turn our actions. We become stronger and confident enough to open the doors of life and travel less familiar roads, to journey to higher peaks and climb even more difficult mountains.

Meditation can be the feel of a gentle breeze, the fragrance of the jasmine, the beauty of a rose; it can be whatever you want it to be. Let go, this will allow the passing of the old and the acceptance of the new. We see the death of past acts, past hurt, pain, unhappiness and behaviors. Lay them to rest. From this comes rebirth, the birth of new ideas, new ways to respect and love yourself and others. Meditation is the realm of the wholeness of life and death, and of the breath we breathe and the love we share with ourselves and others.

I tell my students that meditation is as important as brushing your teeth; it needs to be done at least daily and our Zen Patch (the place of peace for you) needs to be cared for with diligence. Go often to your Zen Patch and clear the weeds of negativity, water your flowers of peace, fill the ponds with love. Sprout from these ponds lotus flowers and let them lift you above the mud and mire of the daily grind. Regular meditation in your Zen Patch is your connection to all there is.

The most common excuse I hear from people is that they don’t have time. This is the voice of the critical parent at their best! We must make the time for the self and make the healing of body, mind and soul foremost in our lives.

How to Meditate
Create your Zen Patch clearly and vividly in your mind, so each time you close your eyes to meditate the image will be there even to close your eyes for a few moments in times of stress will evoke the image of your Zen Patch.

Create a space to meditate quiet and clutter-free with as few disturbances from the outside world as possible. Have a stable cushion to sit on when seated on the floor and light blanket for covering the spine. It is recommended that we sit on a natural fiber rug such as cotton or sheep skin.

Turn off the phone, let family members know your intention and ask them to respect this. Adopt an upright position with the spinal column straight. Find a position that is comfortable for you; you may like to begin by resting your back against a wall or even sit in a chair until you build strength in you back. Cross your legs and have your knees to the ground or supported by cushions so they are the same height and comfortable. Relax your hands on your knees.

At this point you may like to choose a mudra. A mudra is a hand gesture that helps open pathways to the brain. The most common mudra is thumb and first finger touching, with the other three fingers are straight out and palms facing up. The use of a manta can be used here to steady and focus the mind. A mantra is a repetitive statement, or positive affirmation repeated over and over. It is good to use a small simple statement, example “I am at peace and trust the universe”. Or you may choose a single word mantra like “Om”.

Let your shoulders fall back and down and relax. Your chest and heart space can open and be free. Allow the neck and cervical spine to lengthen and tuck the chin in slightly. The breath slows and becomes even as we move into breath awareness.

Meditation is a process that will take time, for it is difficult for many people to stop and just sit patiently.  Have no expectations and let whatever time passes be just right for you at that time on that day. This will be challenge enough to start with. There will be many challenges in the first few minutes, from the critical parent to the discomfort of the physical body. Whether you choose to meditate upon a deity, the beauty of nature or the universe is not important, as long as you know for yourself your belief and know the force that drives you and the force that calls you home.

My name is Jill Tolhurst. I am a yoga teacher. I run yoga classes, workshops and retreats. I work with people who have not taken the time to look after themselves and find themselves with depression, and other stress related illnesses. I am forever grateful to yoga, my teachers and students for showing me the most amazing journey that will continue for the rest of my life. My greatest joy is being able to pass the healing powers and love of yoga and meditation on to others so they can also grow.

Contributed by: Jill Tolhurst

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 





DISCLAIMER
All material on The Art of Healing website should be used as a guide only. Information provided should not be construed or used as a substitute for professional or medical advice. We would suggest that a healthcare professional should be consulted before adopting any opinions or suggestions contained on this website. In addition, whilst every care is taken to compile and check articles written for The Art of Healing for accuracy, the Publisher, Editor, Authors, their servants and agents will not be held responsible or liable for any published errors, omissions or inaccuracies, or for any consequences arising there from. In addition, the inclusion or exclusion of any treatment or product in editorial or advertising does not imply that the Publisher advocates or rejects its use. With respect to article submissions, these are invited but it should be understood that the Editor reserves the final right to edit all articles for length and content prior to publishing. The content, arrangement and layout of this site, including, but not limited to, the trademarks and text, are proprietary to The Art of Healing, and should not be copied, imitated, reproduced, displayed, distributed, or transmitted without the express permission of The Art of Healing. Any unauthorised use of the content, arrangement or layout of the site, or the trademarks found in the site may violate civil or criminal laws, including, but not limited to, Copyright © The Art of Healing. All Rights Reserved.

TERMS & CONDITIONS