101 Ways to Meditate
“101 Ways to Meditate” continues the story of my self healing journey, and my post Colour, Crystals and Aura Readings, where I shared the story of my introduction to meditation.
30+ years later, I have explored many other forms of meditation which have empowered me on my self healing journey.
In 1986, I joined a weekly meditation and spiritual development circle, where our teacher instructed us to “close our eyes and still our minds” in a seated meditation that lasted for a full hour.
I found it incredibly difficult to follow her guidance. A few weeks later, I felt compelled to open my eyes and watch what was happening to the others in our group.
Amazingly, I witnessed everyone’s aura shining brightly, and I saw a number of angelic beings standing around the room!
Although I had joined the group to enhance my meditation and healing abilities, it seemed my clairvoyant skills were developing further…
Within months, I felt inspired to study natural medicines full time, but was there such a course?
Synchronicity prevailed, and I discovered an advert for Raworth College near Dorking in Surrey, England. The college provided a one year full time training in natural medicines, including aromatherapy, reflexology, massage, nutritional medicine, flower essences and counselling skills.
Feeling rather excited, I travelled south for an interview and was delighted to be accepted as a student.
The course was intense but incredibly fulfilling, and I was so thankful that I had already studied anatomy and physiology in my one year foray as a student of dentistry, at Glasgow University.
Before my year at Raworth commenced, I studied the healing power of colour from a number of great teachers including Theo Gimble who lived near Stroud in Gloucestershire – a long trek from my home in Scotland.
I attended three of Theo’s weekend workshops in all, and learned more about colour and its healing qualities, the aura and the energy centres known as chakras, the colour wheel…
Colour visualisation became my preferred route for reaching a calm, meditative state.
I have a lovely post on colour visualisation which you will find HERE
I graduated with my diploma in crystal healing at the end of 1987, while I was attending Raworth College. My energy levels knew no bounds back then!
Crystals are incredibly therapeutic, and they helped me to meditate more easily.
My favourite crystals for meditation are amethyst, rose quartz and clear crystal.
It is important to cleanse crystals on a regular basis:
- In the sea,
- A natural stream,
- Using holy water,
- Smudging with herbs such as sage…
Crystals also love a little recharge like us humans!
You can recharge them on a windowsill or outside in your garden – in sunlight or moonlight, and they will produce a truly sparkling healing energy.
Simply sitting or lying, with your cleansed and recharged crystal is all that is necessary to initiate a state of deep relaxation. You will soon feel compelled to close your eyes and travel off to other worlds…
Sitting and Walking Meditation
On my return to Edinburgh in the summer of 1988, I set up my natural medicines practice. I felt in career heaven!
Continuing to explore meditation techniques, I attended The Salisbury Centre, founded by a doctor called Winifred Rushforth, who had travelled to India early in her career as a surgeon.
The centre provided LOTS of great weekly and weekend classes, and I enrolled on dream analysis, sitting and walking meditation weekends…
I continued to have challenges with sitting meditation, finding it quite uncomfortable to sit for long periods of time, even with the aid of a wooden meditation stool.
However, I adored walking meditations.
The technique is simple – just walk with the intention of stilling your mind, in a quiet spot in Mother Nature.
Drumming, Chanting and Dancing
Native American and other ancient cultures use drumming, chanting and dancing in sacred ceremony. The drum is believed to bring us back in tune with the heartbeat of Mother Earth.
A native American shaman introduced me to the healing power of “The Fire Dance”, a ceremony where I danced in a large circle with many other participants, for several hours.
Time flew past and I was once again transported into a deeply meditative place.
I have always loved the sound of the drum, and in my youth the drum solos played by rock bands enchanted me.
The spirit of the drum called me, and I joined a number of others in a sacred drum making ceremony held at Healthworks, a healing centre that I eventually established in Stirling.
During the day long workshop, we gave thanks to the spirit of the deer, as we placed our chosen deerskins around a round wooden frame, then laced it on the reverse, to form a taut drum.
The deer held a lot of significance for me as I had hit a young deer with my car, when travelling home from a much needed massage treatment, during my father’s last few weeks of life.
I held the young deer as it quivered by the roadside, while a kind driver stopped and went to find a vet.
A gamekeeper from a nearby estate intervened and said, ” the kindest thing is to put it to sleep.”
I gave the gentle deer one last hug and walked towards my car. One sharp shot rang out, and I dissolved into tears for the deer and my dear gentle Dad.
The pain felt unbearable.
Native traditions consider the spirit of the deer to be that of gentleness, and the power to heal our wounds.
My Deerskin Drum
My drum was completed, and it embraces a soft and gentle energy like the deer.
Playing my drum always takes me on a sacred journey to other worlds, to embrace a wonderful sense of inner peace,
Tibetan Singing Bowls
Frank Perry was one of the first sound healers to facilitate a workshop at Healthworks. He uses Tibetan singing bowls, which are actually made in Bhutan, Nepal, India and Tibet, to produce a variety of heavenly sounds. The sound produced depends on the size and shape of the singing bowl, and the type of wand used to play it.
The sounds created by the bowls enchanted me from the beginning, and induced a very deep meditative state. Sound healing has since become one of my all time favourite tools for meditation.
Tibetan singing bowls at a recent fundraising workshop for Amma’s trip to Ireland
I was very blessed to attend another Tibetan singing bowls workshop recently, to help raise funds for Amma’s trip to Ireland this autumn.
It was BLISS, BLISS, BLISS!
Details on Amma available on http://www.ammaireland.org
Sound and Voice Therapist Harriet Buchan facilitated several sound healing workshops at Healthworks. They were incredibly powerful, and I felt compelled to book an individual healing session.
One session led to another, and I attended Harriet for one-to-one sound healing sessions for more than a year!
She helped me reclaim my voice after the end of my marriage.
In Bali, I have enjoyed a great number of visits to workshops by Bali Sound Healers, who like Harriet, use a variety of musical instruments including singing bowls, crystal bowls, didgeridoos, drums, bells… to promote meditation and healing.
Around 1996, I attended two Spaceclearing workshops with Karen Kingston, which inspired me to explore the ancient Chinese art of Feng Shui.
I bought two Balinese bells from Karen. You can read more about these bells in my post The Balinese Priest’s Bell
I left Scotland in 1999. However, I just had to attend one final weekend workshop on “The Way of the Warrior,” based on the book ” The Four-Fold Way” by Angeles Arrien. This book teaches the “four archetypal principles of the Native American medicine wheel.”
I enjoyed a standing meditation, honouring the seven sacred directions – the North and wisdom, the East and clarity, the South and purification, the West and reflection, Above and Father Sky, Below and Mother Earth, and Within and our own Inner Wisdom.
It felt incredibly powerful and centering, which was very necessary for the follow up Sufi whirling meditation, where I whirled like a dervish, increasing in speed and not feeling at all dizzy – a great metaphor for keeping centred as LIFE continued to spin around me…
Five Rhythms Dancing
Gabrielle Roth introduced a dancing meditation in the late 1970’s, called “The Five Rhythms.” In 2000, I travelled to County Meath, here in Ireland, to experience a week long dance meditation workshop.
Feeling somewhat anxious as to whether I would last the pace, I danced very tentatively and shyly at the beginning of the week. However, I soon relaxed and entered the rhythm with gusto, dancing each day to five free forms of dance known as Flowing, Staccato, Chaos, Lyrical and Stillness.
Dancing all five rhythms in sequence was called dancing “The Wave.”
Like other forms of meditation, the week provided me with a deeper sense of inner peace and healing.
Life in the Slow Lane
In 2003, my body succumbed to a mystery illness that was eventually diagnosed as fibromyalgia.
My World stopped for two long years, and much soul searching followed.
Meditation has been an integral part of my self healing journey, although I rarely attend workshops these days.
I continue to practice:
- Walking meditation,
- Colour Visualisation,
- Crystal Meditation,
- Singing and Chanting,
- A little dancing…
I also find:
- Decoupage and crafting,
- Reading a great book,
- Relaxing in a warm bath…
Also transport me to a place of Inner Peace and Happiness.
Brigid P. Gallagher is a retired natural medicines therapist, passionate organic gardener and author of “Watching the Daisies- Life lessons on the Importance of Slow,” a holistic memoir dedicated to the art of mindfulness and healing from debilitating illness.
She lives in Donegal, Ireland – an area of outstanding natural beauty.
Book Trailer: https://youtu.be/r5GCjaetgZk