Meditations for Difficult People: Exercises to Protect Against Draining Relationships

Difficult people or times in a relationship are an unfortunate part of life. The following three meditations protect from such encounters, so one feels empowered and aware instead of drained and scared.

Judith Orloff’s Heart Meditation

Dr. Judith Orloff, psychiatrist and energy healer, recommends focusing on one’s own heart to boost energy, especially when dealing with difficult people.

The following adaptation of Orloff’s Three Minute Heart Meditation focuses on the beat of one’s own heart.

  1. Sit or stand comfortably. Notice the breath, and focus on slowing it.
  2. When breathing slowly, place the dominant hand over the heart. Imagine the heart beating and pumping against the palm of the hand.

 

  1. As the heart beats, close the eyes for a second and visualize a warm, bright light radiating from one’s heart. Keep imagining the heart pumping and the warm light growing warmer and brighter.
  2. Continue until the light completely surrounds the body.
  3. Now imagine a much-beloved person, place, or memory. Bathe that image in the light around the body, and see if the light grows brighter as one thinks of the image.
  4. When ready, focus again on the hand over the heart. Breathe deeply three times, and open the eyes.

The heart meditation can be practiced anywhere or anytime one has a free hand. One may desire to try it during or before a conversation with a difficult person to see how the exercise changes one’s perspective on the situation.

Shield Meditation

Blocking the effects of a negative person or encounter can prevent one from feeling drained and hopeless. The following visualization invites one to visualize a protective shield between him/her and a difficult person or situation.

  1. Breathe deeply in, and on the exhale visualize a blast of white light coming out of the mouth.
  2. Watch as the light forms a tall shield between the self and the difficult person or situation.
  3. Breathe in and out, and notice how strong the shield is, how it is curved towards you, and how nothing from the difficult person or situation is able to harm you.
  4. Look at the person or situation through the shield. Has your perspective changed?

When the threat has passed, or when one feels in control of the situation again, breathe in the shield of light, knowing that one can exhale it again at any time when needed.

Thich Nhat Hanh’s Compassion Meditation

Vietnamese Buddhist monk and peace advocate Thich Nhat Hanh recommends seeing a situation through another’s eyes to increase compassion and understanding. The following adaptation of Hanh’s Compassion Meditation can be practiced in two parts, focusing on one’s own feelings surrounding a situation and focusing on the difficult person’s feelings.

Try this meditation to increase awareness about a difficult or frustrating relationship. The exercise works best with a person one knows well. Note that this meditation will invite deep reflection and self-awareness that may not necessarily be relaxing, though it certainly will bring healing in a relationship.

  1. Sit comfortably, with ten or more minutes to spare. Breathe in and out slowly and carefully.
  2. Bring to mind the person who is difficult. How does one feel about this person- angry, frustrated, or depressed? Sink into those feelings a little, and let them come.
  3. Hanh teaches that all anger has roots in past anger. Take a few minutes to notice any memories that may surface as one focuses on his/her anger. Spend some time sinking into those memories and letting them heal, if the experience is not too unpleasant.
  4. When have an understanding of one’s own feelings in the exchange, now focus on the person that is driving you crazy. What is his/her point of view? Try to get inside that person’s world to understand him/her better.
  5. What might the other person be feeling in this situation? Let those feelings come, too. Are they similar to the feelings you are having? What do you both have in common?
  6. If know that person well, imagine past experiences they have had that might lead them to be angry or unpleasant to you. Let those images flow and come.
  7. When have a clear idea of one’s own anger, as well as the other person’s anger, stop and place the right hand over the heart. Rest it there for a minute. Feel the heart beating.
  8. Now visualize a ball of warm light around the self. Extend the right hand towards the other who has caused pain and frustration. Watch as the ball of light extends around him/her. Bring the hand back to one’s own heart and see the light coming back to the self.
  9. Rest for several minutes in the light. When ready, open the eyes.

This meditation may bring up information that is useful for personal reflection. Keeping a journal or piece of paper nearby may also be helpful.

Draining people are a part of life, but with meditation, their negative effects can be minimized.…

Finding Happiness, A Little Known Benefit of Meditation

What makes you happy? If you're not as happy as you'd like to be, how do you decide what to do to become happier?

Though there are many things people acquire in search of happiness, you've probably found that new material possessions make you happier for a brief time, but that quickly fades. Psychologists call this hedonic adaptation, a fancy name signifying people adjust to new things. If something new brings a burst of happiness, it won't last long—the newness and the happiness it brought wear off.

There is a way, though, that you can systematically decide on a course of action to find greater happiness. The things most likely to increase your happiness won't be found on The Shopping Channel or display shelves of a store. Instead of looking around for sources of greater happiness, psychologists and spiritualists agree that you should be looking within.

Tapping the Source: Using the Master Key System for Abundance and Happiness (Sterling Publishing, 2010) updates Charles Haanel's Master Key System, published in 1912. Tapping the Source authors William Gladstone, Richard Greninger, and John Selby have modernized Haanel's rendition of the necessary ingredients for happiness.

The Ingredients of Happiness

According to Tapping the Source authors, the following ingredients are necessary for a person to feel happy:

  • Healthy Body: Would healing or lifestyle changes make you happier?
  • Healthy Emotions: Do you have a healthy outlook about yourself and your environment?
  • Feeling Powerful: Do you feel strong, capable of achieving and accomplishing?
  • Love and Friendship: Do you feel loved and appreciated, and do you have strong friendships?
  • Harmonious Environment: Does your environment nourish and soothe you or is it a source of grating irritation?
  • Sufficient Resources for Security and Comfort: Do you have sufficient resources to acquire shelter, food, security, and necessities of comfort?
  • Thriving, Pleasurable Life: Are you thriving with enthusiasm, energy, and meaning in your life?

How do you use this list? Though reading through it may give you ideas about things that will make you happier, the authors suggest a more certain and powerful way to select areas for increasing your happiness.

Learn Meditation for Greater Happiness

The path to finding greater happiness winds through meditation. The authors maintain that each person's source of wisdom and energy is internal. To gain access to the natural, internal wisdom about yourself and what you need, you must first quiet your mind through meditation.

While your mind is quiet in meditation mentally examine the ingredients of happiness. Your internal wisdom will point out the areas that will bring you greater happiness. This can only occur when your mind is quiet, otherwise your ego will respond to your queries for happiness solutions with the latest marketing pitches you've witnessed—a new car, the latest smartphone, sparkling jewelry, a promising new relationship, or a new career.

Though the benefits of meditation are well known, many people have difficulty quieting their minds sufficiently to reap meditation's benefits. Failing to quiet your mind while mentally examining the happiness ingredient list will sabotage this effort, too.

The authors provide an easily implemented suggestion that should enable you to quiet your mind so your meditation is pleasant and effective. Readers having difficulty with meditation due to an over-active mind can find this technique in Learn Meditation: Positive Affirmations and the Law of Attraction.

Your Secrets of Happiness

What it takes to make you happier is already within you. The secret to your happiness is to look within while meditating on the ingredients of happiness summarized in this article.…

Learn to Meditate: All You Need to Know about Meditation

Meditation is an ancient spiritual practice, central to many spiritual traditions such as Yoga, Buddhism and Christian mysticism. This article explains the basic steps to meditation.

Posture

Any posture that is both comfortable and keeps the spine upright is suitable for meditation. Sitting postures are ideal. The important thing is that the posture is stable and can be held comfortably during the whole meditation session. Suitable meditation postures are listed in one of the links at the end of this article. Once you’ve settled in your sitting posture, begin by consciously relaxing the whole body.

Breathing

The next step is to simply observe the breathing. Watch your breath as it moves through your nostrils or be aware of the rhythmic movements of your belly. Whenever the mind starts to wander and begins its habit of daydreaming, planning, recalling or imagining, simply bring it back to the breath as soon as you become aware of the distraction. Distractions will happen a lot and you may find you have recapitulated your whole day at work or relived a recent movie before you realize it.

Meditation Object

Most forms of meditation require a meditation object. This can either be your breath, a mantra, a mental or physical image or an idea. In meditation, one concentrates on the chosen meditation object without straining the mind. Whenever your attention wanders somewhere else, gently bring it back to the meditation object. Although these moments of distraction will be very numerous, you will develop a deeper awareness of what goes on in your mind and the senses will turn inward. Find out more about meditation objects in one of the links below.

Basic Rules for Meditation

Set aside a regular time for meditation, for example 20 minutes every evening. Choose a quiet, clean and orderly place. If you wish, you can meditate in front of a little altar, a picture or a plain wall. Don’t expect immediate results – the positive effects of meditation may take some time to make themselves felt and they may be too subtle to notice immediately. Having distracting thoughts is completely normal. After all, meditation is about becoming more aware of what’s going on in your mind and not necessarily about having no thoughts at all.

 

Mindful Action

Eventually, you will be aiming at extending your meditation to the whole day. This doesn’t require you to sit cross-legged for hours on end – it’s enough to continue with about 20 minutes of sitting meditation or whatever amount of time you choose to dedicate to sitting meditation. However, you should try to consciously extend the meditative state to other activities. This is done by being mindful of whatever you’re doing rather than daydreaming or allowing the endless chatter of the mind to accompany you all day long.

Meditation Brings Happiness

Meditation can become an invaluable companion in life. Rather than changing anything on the outside, meditation allows you to shift the way you perceive the world and yourself. If practiced regularly and properly, meditation can be a powerful instrument of personal transformation. It should ideally be practiced under the supervision of an experienced meditation teacher.…

Instruction for a Mindfulness Eating Meditation: Learn How to Meditate with a Simple Guided Technique for Beginners

There are different ways a person can practice mindfulness meditation. For this guided meditation, the focus is on food. After all, who doesn’t love food!?

The Power of Meditation

Paying attention and focusing on all five senses is a great way to improve a person’s concentration. To begin this meditation, wash your hands. See the washing of the hands as getting rid of any negativity of the day. While preparing the food, focus only on the food.

Notice the colors, the scents, and the textures of the food. Not only can mindfulness meditation increase awareness, it can also increase a person’s memory and help with concentration. This is why it’s important to stay focused on the food.

While preparing the food, think about who the food is being made for. With each step of washing, chopping, and stirring, envision the food fulfilling each individual at the table with love. Listen to the sound of the food as it’s being prepared, focusing on the freshness of the food. When presenting the food, do it with making the food on the plate look beautiful.

Vaastu Tip for Meditating With Food

 

 

Vaastu is the ancient Hindu practice having to do with placement.

While preparing food, it is suggested that it is best done while facing east. The reason behind this is? The east is associated with the sun. Think of this as a way to bring harmony to the food.

Mindfulness Eating

Before taking the first bite, look at the colors of the prepared food. Do they bring about any emotional response? Take a moment to relax your mind. When ready, take the fork and pick up the first bite. Notice how much food is on the fork. Is there excess food falling off the fork? Be sure to take small amounts of food and eat slowly, paying attention to each bite.

What does the texture of the food feel like? How does it smell? What kind of flavor does the food have? Is it sweet, sour, or spicy? Are you eating slowly enough to appreciate the flavor of each bite? All too often people eat way too quickly and don’t bother to fully appreciate the taste and flavor of the what they’re consuming. Eating should be about enjoyment.

From time to time, put the fork, close the eyes and think about all that is being experienced. Think about the work and love that went into creating the meal and the enjoyment that is being experienced by all whom are eating it.

Mindfulness meditation is all about slowing down and experiencing everything one does with each of the five senses. People are in such a hurry these days that they forget to slow down and experience some of the most simple and enjoyable things in life. Learning how to experience all aspects of things in life can lead to better focus and concentration in school, the workplace, and around the home.…

Meditation as a Personal Practice: Working with Mind and Thought

PDF) Meditation and the Wandering Mind: A Theoretical Framework of  Underlying Neurocognitive Mechanisms

There is no way to truly teach meditation. The most one can hope is to properly facilitate the process, model a proper environment and note techniques aimed at allowing learning to occur from the act of meditation itself.

Listed below are a few simple suggestions designed to help begin the discipline of a meditation practice. (The ideas in this article are indicative of the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta approach to meditation and yoga.)

Practice Meditation on a Regular Basis

 

By creating and sticking to a regular daily meditation time, the mind begins to expect the practice of meditation and will start calming before the sitting begins. This is important because the mind likes to jump around and any assistance in aiding the distraction is welcomed. Preparing the mind to slow and settle will provide a head start in the initial struggle for peace.

 

Create an Area for Meditation Purposes Only

It is recommended to set aside an entire room for meditation purposes only. If this is unlikely, create a portioned-off section, one that is used solely for meditation. This will keep the area free from other vibrational disturbances. Pure, calm energy is important, because the mind can attach to any external intrusions. The area should have a nice smell, incense or fresh air, and an image, visible to the practitioner, that invokes a sense of well-being. As taught by Swami Sivananda, as meditation is repeated, the powerful essence created by the meditation will stay in the area – making it a restful refuge for the practitioner to visit during times of duress.

Begin Meditation with a Ritual

Command the mind to be quiet for a specific amount of time before mediation begins. The intent is to lose stressful connections to the past, present and future. Then begin with a prayer, a movement, a chant, or a mantra, aligning the mind to something held sacred.

Use Conscious Breathing throughout the Meditation Practice

 

By regulating the breath and placing awareness on the inhale and exhale, it becomes easier to detach from initial mind chatter clambering for attention. It is advised to begin with about five minutes of deep abdominal breathing. This doses the brain with oxygen. Then relax the breath to an easy, yet conscious, inhale and exhale lasting the duration of the practice.

Mental Ease and Meditation

 

Allow thoughts to wander at first – it is natural for the mind to jump around. Forcing stillness will exacerbate the process. Ease the thoughts, focusing on an object, symbol, or mantra. And if the mind persists in scattered motions, simply watch it – attempting not to judge. Simply observe.

What is meditated “on”, if anything, is an individual choice. What works perfectly for one, may not be right for another. This may take trial and error. Be patient with the self.

Begin the meditation practice working within 20-minute increments and then extending to longer periods of time. Once meditation becomes a practice, information meant uniquely for the practitioner is made known during and after the process of meditation.

Although meditation is simple, it is not easy. Avoid getting discouraged when the mind refuses to obey the initial commands. This discipline takes practice. It is said that when one meditates for only one half of an hour, on a daily basis, peace and strength become powerfully present in life. Meditation opens the door of trusting one’s innate wisdom and peaceful focus – something that all can benefit from in this fast-paced and seemingly crazy and chaotic world.…

Soto Zen Meditation: Sitting facing a wall and meditating can lead to positive changes.

What is Soto Zen Meditation?

There is nothing special or different about Soto Zen meditation. It is not something weird or esoteric. It simply involves being still within, and allowing one’s real self to emerge from beneath the jumble of thoughts and emotions that usually fill an individual’s mind.

How Can One Practise it?

 

How can someone be still in this way? There are various techniques, but in Soto Zen Meditation the practitioner simply sits. The physical sitting position doesn’t really matter very much. Sitting on a zafu or meditation cushion using one of the lotus positions is traditional if the person is comfortable that way. But sitting on a chair or stool is fine, and often more suitable for western meditation practitioners who are not used to sitting in crosslegged psoitions for long periods. The eyes are kept open, and meditators usually face the wall. The technique is not to concentrate on anything, but instead to simply observe one’s thoughts or emotions, and come back to sitting still.

What About the Mind?

What about thoughts? When they arise, the practitioner tries to simply let them be. He or she doesn’t try to push them away, but does not try to hang on to them or actively ‘think’ either. It’s a little bit like sitting on a bridge watching the traffic going by. It is not necessary to try to stop the traffic, but one doesn’t have to get in there and try to speed it up or change it either. Thought is a natural process, and the meditator is not trying to do anything unnatural. Instead, the person is simply trying to be themselves as they truly are.

So What Comes Next?

In the beginning, meditation can seem very difficult. The practitioner may feel as though he or she has more thoughts and emotions than ever before. Time may appear to pass exceedingly slowly, and he may feel uncomfortable or downright miserable – worse than before he started! But all these feelings should be treated in the same way as thoughts, by not being held on to or pushed away, but simply accepted for what they are. When the meditator finds that he has started following his thoughts, ie thinking, it is best not to worry about it. Just by noticing what is going on, one has already begun meditating again. So the person shouldn’t get upset about it, but just come back to sitting still.

And What Can it Lead to?

This may all sound boring or pointless. But out of this simple practice, many things in one’s life can change. The details vary for different people, but simply keeping up a regular practice means that in time life becomes more peaceful, fulfilling, and natural. One feels calmer, more content, and less inclined to violent emotional swings for no good reason. In fact, it’s amazing what a few minutes of looking at a wall every day can do for one’s peace of mind!…

Tree Meditation Exercise: Reduce Stress and Connect with Nature Using Guided Imagery

When life gets busy, it’s easy to feel disconnected, even uprooted from one’s own life. The following nature meditation is designed to connect the individual with his or her self again by imagining the body as a tree, swaying in the breeze.

After practicing the tree meditation, one will feel grounded and connected again to nature and the self. This exercise is highly recommended after a stressful day or event, any time that one feels disconnected.

Preparation for the Tree Meditation

Drinking some water beforehand may relax the body and prevent distractions. Minimize interruptions by silencing the pager or cell phone. Explain to family members or roommates the need for privacy, and carve out some space to relax and be.

Directions for the Tree Meditation

One will need comfortable feet and ten to twenty minutes of uninterrupted time. Spend thirty seconds to a minute stretching the body and focusing on the breathing before beginning.

  1. Stand up straight, with arms hanging gently at the sides.
  2. Close the eyes and focus on breathing as deeply as possible.
  3. Breathe deeply, three times or as long as needed until the abdomen fills up like a balloon on the inhale.
  4. Breathe in, and begin to wriggle the fingers, like leaves on a tree. Breathe out.
  5. Breathe in, and lift the arms ever so gently above the head to any position that is comfortable. Imagine the arms as branches moving in the breeze. Let them move back and forward. Breathe out.
  6. Continue letting the branches and leaves sway in the breeze for several breaths.
  7. Now notice the legs and soles of the feet. Are they firmly planted on the ground? Adjust them until the body is grounded.
  8. Breathe in, and feel the breath come out the top of the head and sway the tree branches. Now exhale, and feel the breath move down the body and down through the feet into the floor.
  9. Notice that roots sink down into the earth with the breath. Breathe deeply several times and imagine a system of roots sprouting from the bottoms of the feet and grounding the body deep, deep into the ground.
  10. Enjoy connectedness to the world as a tree. Move the feet and take a few steps. Even walking, the connection is still there.
  11. Breathe deeply three more times. When ready, open the eyes.

Meditation Suggestions for Daily Life

The tree meditation may be useful to reconnect with one’s body as well as mind and spirit. It could be practiced during cold weather when one misses nature, or at any time one desires a relaxing escape from the present.

 

A shorter version of the tree meditation might also be practiced in the midst of a stressful situation or encounter. Take a deep breath and imagine the roots connecting the body to the earth. Even though stress may be high, that stress does not have the power to uproot and disconnect the individual from his/her own life.…