What is meditation?
Meditation is a state of present awareness that usually combines feelings of relaxation with an increased sense of mental alertness.
What are the benefits of meditation?
Meditation helps people be more relaxed and peaceful, it increases self awareness, improves emotional intelligence, reduces stress, improves sleep and helps people live with healthier, more balanced lifestyles. People often report feeling more connected to themselves, compassionate towards others and feeling more positively about life in general.
Is meditation safe for everyone?
Everyone is different and whilst most people report enjoying meditation some people can struggle with it. Some people find it frustrating as some formal meditation styles can be quite hard to follow. Other people report feelings of disorientation, physical discomfort and emotional upheaval. Simple meditations that focus on relaxation are generally considered to be good for all people. Even people with some mental health difficulties, but some of the more advanced healing meditations can make people feel very vulnerable and raw. This is often a good sign that stuck emotions are moving and healing is taking place. However for some people of a very nervous disposition or if someone has pronounced mental health difficulties, these experiences could be too intense and are therefore not recommended. In simple terms, meditation should make you feel good. If when meditating, you don’t feel something good or valuable is happening then stop. If you are unsure as to whether meditation is safe for you, then definitely consult your doctor or your mental health professional before meditating.
What makes FreeMind different?
The FreeMind daily meditations are simply relaxing and then uplifting. These are considered to be safe for most people. The more advanced meditations in the Healing Collection can help individuals go on very powerful journeys to bring significant changes to their life. These can be used to let go of negative thoughts, feelings, beliefs and behaviors that may be holding a person back. Most pre-recorded guided meditations don’t go to this depth. We have developed a way of working that combines advanced psychology and MetaMusic to create these transformational experiences. They are safe for everyday people but they can be very emotional and challenging at times. These are not to be used by people with severe emotional instability or pronounced mental health difficulties.
What should I expect to feel when meditating?
In general you should expect to feel relaxed and positive. If meditation is right for you, you will feel that it is doing you good. It can be challenging at times and some days it will flow more easily than at other times. Some of the more advanced FreeMind meditations are designed to increase a number of different feelings in you like, confidence, creativity, forgiveness, compassion etc. During those experiences it is common for you to feel intense feelings of happiness and connection. It is also possible that you will feel waves of melancholy, nostalgia or sympathy for yourself when considering past times of difficulty. Meditative states can be used to put you in touch with a whole range of different emotions.This can help set you up for the day and it can also help you believe in yourself more or help you connect to enough courage to help you stand up for yourself more, change careers possibly or to finally inspire you to start working on bringing your biggest dreams to life. FreeMind combines meditation with motivational psychology and music so that it can help you feel good enough and brave enough to take those important steps towards building the life that you would love.
How will I know if I am doing it right?
With meditation, there is no right or wrong way. It is common to have a doubtful, cynical part of us questioning what we are doing, whilst we are meditating. Your mind doesn’t need to be quiet, you don’t need to be comfortable, you don’t need to be having a relaxing or peaceful time. Sometimes when we get present, we can feel full of disruption, turmoil, churning energy, doubt and difficulty. All you need to do, it notice what you are noticing. Do your best to be curious and open minded about what is happening. Be curious and do your best not be pulled into judging your experience.
Does my body need to be still?
Being still definitely makes meditation easier but it is fine to rearrange your body, scratch an itch and move if you need to. Just simply come back to stillness when you can. It is also possible to choose to do active meditations. Some people get into meditation whilst they are dancing or going for a run. Some traditions encourage meditators to try and bring a meditative awareness to every daily task. This is really the essence of mindfulness. Becoming very present and engaged with every experience. When we can do this, it tends to improve everything. Some people believe the purpose of meditation is to bring presence to every moment.
How should I position my body?
The most important thing is comfort. Meditation doesn’t have to be made to be hard. Some traditional meditations involving sitting upright, cross legged for hours and part of the practice is ignoring the physical discomfort and overcoming the desire to move. This can be powerful but it can also be really difficult. It is better if you allow yourself to be comfortable. A straight spine can help you feel refreshed and connected in meditation but it is possible to experience that lying down. Lying down is fine but it can make it more likely that you will fall asleep.
What is the best time to meditate?
This is a very personal thing. Some people love to set themselves up for the day by getting up early and meditating. Other people feel that it is really good at the end of the working day to unwind and relax. It comes down to personal choice but be aware that late at night after a long day you may be more likely to fall asleep. Most people that enjoy meditation report that it is useful to meditate at the same time everyday. The structure makes it more likely you will build up a regular practice.
What if I keep falling asleep?
Meditation is about entering into a state of mind which is very similar to the beginning stage of sleep. So, it is not uncommon for people to fall asleep. Firstly, don’t be too hard on yourself. A few tweaks to your approach can make all of the difference. Maybe meditate first thing in the morning. Meditate sitting upright in a chair. Have the lights on. You can even practice meditating with your eyes open. Let your stare become focused on one thing. If you try all of this and you are still struggling to stay awake, it is possible that you are sleep deprived and you would possibly benefit more from napping than meditating. Sometimes people fall asleep as a way of ‘checking out’ because the meditation was bringing up difficult feelings and thoughts. If it feels avoidant, be gentle with yourself and maybe use the ‘Negotiation’ recording in the healing section to see if you can become more willing to experience anything and everything that comes up.
Why do some FreeMind meditations have warning signs?
The FreeMind meditations that have warnings also have explanations in the descriptions. So when you click on the meditations, before it starts playing you can read the full warning and decide if it feels right for you. Most of the time, the warning is about letting you know that it might be emotional. It can feel really cleansing and healing to let go of negative thoughts and feelings but it can be quite intense and sometimes that isn’t what people want or need. It isn’t always convenient or suitable because you may be about to go out. That doesn’t mean you won’t be able to function after these recordings. It just means that afterwards it’s good to have spare time to let the process work fully.
I am getting emotional. Is that ok?
Generally if you are getting emotional when meditating, it is a good sign that you are releasing out of date feelings that will have been holding you back. Sometimes you will get emotional because you are working on something painful in your past but at other times we can feel a wave of emotion move through us, that we have no idea about where it came from. It is best, where possible to welcome all feelings, to give everything permission and to trust that anything happening is for your benefit. The more relaxed you can be about feeling emotions, the better we understand who we truly are, what we really want and what we really need. This emotional awareness really helps us to start feeling better about ourselves and life in general. It isn’t always easy but it is truly worth it. To understand this principle more deeply, listen to the training recording called ‘Past’ in the Eyes Open Collection.