Sunday, April 28, 2013

Centering Meditation: Learning to Be Our Own Guide

View While Meditating
Pioneer Park San Diego
By Tania Franco

This weekend I guided a Centering Meditation where the participants choose one thing to focus on: counting their breaths, a word, or a phrase just to name a few examples. I encouraged the group to identify a phrase that represents something they would like to achieve this week related to their activities and goals.

Meditation is not just a time to create relaxation or greater peace of mind, it is also an opportunity to get to know and understand ourselves better. Meditation also allows us to have an uninterrupted access to listening to our inner dialogue. Paying attention to our own worries, interests, realizations can empower us to be more supportive with ourselves and consciously become our own personal guide.

On this note, I asked the group to learn about themselves while paying close attention to the hopes and fears expressed in their self-talk, enjoying the ebb and flow of their chosen focus to their habitual thinking.

I tend to meditate sitting in a half-lotus pose with my eyes closed, yet my lower back felt uncomfortable so I chose to lay down. Once laying down, I felt a desire to have my eyes open. When I opened my eyes I had a clear view of a tree top, the blue sky and moving clouds. It was completely relaxing and centering. While focusing on the view, I counted my breaths while practicing diaphragmatic breathing.

I could feel my body become heavier and loose which are physical signs of relaxation. My mind would wander and return to my breath over and over again. It became a calming pattern. I did not fight the wandering I embraced it and allowed it to be. I kept coming back to my breath comfortably and softly.

Many people tend to approach meditation with rigidity believing that they "must" think or do this or the other in order to meditate, and so it becomes an inner struggle, a blaming and shaming exercise which creates tension and stress.

Meditation is not a set of rigid rules or a compilation of right and wrong. If this is your experience, I won't lie, you have work ahead of you, the first step is to breathe and try to let go of these beliefs little by little. Meditation is a moment of being, allowing, and accepting.

-Tania Franco

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Release Limiting Beliefs: A Mandala Meditation

Mandala Meditation at Pioneer Park Mission Hills San Diego
Image by Tania Franco

This morning I guided a group in a mandala meditation, a creative way to meditate through coloring a circular design that represents wholeness. There are many ways to create or meditate with a mandala, this is just one way.

In my weekly class I begin with an energy medicine exercise that supports the group in reducing anxiety and prepare them to meditate more effectively. Today the group shared how they felt before we began. Many felt tired and sleepy but after our energy exercise they reported feeling relaxed and energized at the same time.

The group practiced diaphragmatic breathing mindfully while coloring the mandala they chose for about 30 minutes. When the group had finished, we each shared our own experience while meditating.

Each person had a beautiful insight about themselves and they each shared a common thread which was to "release limiting beliefs".

One participant had come to the previous mandala meditation 6 weeks before and had noticed a shift in her inner dialogue. The first time trying the coloring meditation she had been worried and very careful not to draw outside of the line, in fact she had been careful since she was a young girl to draw as perfectly as possible. This took away from the pure enjoyment of coloring. This time she colored and allowed herself to color outside the line and noticed that it made the meditation much more enjoyable and peaceful.

Another client noticed that coloring relaxed her effortlessly yet hardly ever did it until she had grandchildren. It is important to work with practices that are effective for you personally. I gave her an assignment: buy a coloring book, colors and draw.

A third meditator realized they kept choosing the same color over and over again. They tried to use a different color and  finally gave themselves permission to use the same color if that was what felt right at that moment. It made the experience much more comfortable.

Taking time to be silent and learn to accompany oneself through the vast array of emotions and thoughts that arise from one moment to the next can be profoundly healing and insightful. Hearing others experience in these practices and sharing your own in order to learn together makes this a catalyst for personal growth and greater inner peace.

It is very important that we each find healthy practices that support mind-body-spirit wellness. There are many ways of creating greater happiness in one's life. All we need to do is make the time, and in the end it is totally worth it!

Come try a guided meditation and energy psychology technique in the park Saturday at 8:30am at Pioneer Park in Mission Hills San Diego. You can discover so much about yourself in a short amount of time.

-Tania Franco

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Mission Trails San Diego CA.
Image by Tania Franco
"If we all did things we are capable of doing,
we would literally astound ourselves."
Thomas Edison