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Meditation – A Way to a Quieter Mind

26 September 2018

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Bringing Joy to the Heart of Chiropractic Care

Very early on in my journey – I looked at meditation as a possible gateway to JOY and here is a little bit of what I found about Meditation:

Meditation – a way to a quieter mind

“Let the light of your heart engulf you”
Gurunayi Chidvlasamauda

Do your thoughts drive you crazy??
Do you ever feel lost in a relentless stream of negativity?
Do you ever just get stuck in your own head? Like, really stuck?
Do you ever dwell on a mistake you made at work, your overwhelming responsibilities at home, something unpleasant that someone said, an old fear or anxiety and you can’t seem to shake anything off??

I know I do all the above and some days my thoughts literally drive me to distraction!!!

Some days my thoughts are so negative that I “joke” that my mind is so bad that it is like a no – go zone that is best avoided alone, and especially, at nighttime.

About a year ago. It all came to a head (excuse the pun) when I bumped into someone who had supposedly done something to hurt me ages before. Within seconds of this happy coincidence it was crystal clear that the so-called perpetrator was oblivious, and I mean oblivious, to my upset and rather happily getting on with their lives as if nothing had happened. Instantly, I was struck “as if by lightening” with the pointlessness of my “feud” and overwhelming saddened by a sense of lost together time. In that very moment, I somehow knew that I had been torturing myself based on my old hurts and biases (not related in any way to that person) and that my old friend hadn’t meant to hurt me.

There and then, I decided it was time to find a new way, and ever since then, I have been looking for ways to break through the pointless incessant chatter in my head.

So far – my search has taken me around the world and all the way to the moon and back. As you may gather, I haven’t found all the answers yet, but I have found a few things that really help me to turn down and lift the drone of the incessant chat and inner critic in my head.

One such practice has been mediation, and although I have found it difficult to really embrace it every day, I can say that when I do manage to do it – I have better, much more focused, centered and positive days. The more I do it – the better the days seem to be.

With the hope of encouraging you to consider meditation to help manage your thoughts – if you don’t already do it – I have prepared a little introduction to the whole concept. Here is my introduction to Meditation. – enjoy!

What is Meditation?

There are many different definitions for meditation and I suspect that it is such an individual thing that there could literally be millions of different definitions.

Generally, and in simple terms, however, most people accept that meditation is a health practice that helps people to transform their minds in awareness and that it helps people to obtain a healthy sense of perspective by learning to observe their thoughts without judgement. In time, and with regular practice, meditation helps people to better understand their thoughts and feelings. Meditation encourages people to develop their concentration, clarity, positivity and calmness.

By engaging with meditation, you become aware of the patterns and habits of your mind, and the practice offers a means to cultivate new, more positive ways of being. With regular work and patience these nourishing, focused states of mind can deepen into profoundly peaceful and energized states of mind. Such experiences can have a transformative effect and can lead to a new understanding of life.

Benefits of Meditation

“The day you decide that you are much more interested being aware of your thoughts than you are in your thoughts – that is the day you will find your way”
Michael Singer

There are many benefits to doing regular meditation

• Generally, it encourages a healthy lifestyle
• It helps quieten the inner chatter in our minds
• Helps deal with and reduce stress as it cuts out the external world
• Reduces anxiety as it helps quieten/slow the mind
• It positively influences blood pressure, cardiovascular and immune health, sleep disturbances and even our responses to pain
• It improves concentration and can increase self-awareness/consciousness
• It increases acceptance of what is….
• It helps you to get to know yourself better
• Some say it even slows ageing – I can’t say I have noticed that yet….

Overall – since starting on this journey into the meditative world, I have been much calmer, more accepting of what is, less reactive and much more aware. The biggest shift, however, has been in how I tap into my more intuitive nature, and as such, I have been able to work more with my gut instinct when making more difficult decisions, I think it has been much easier to hear my inner wisdom and to then trust everything will be ok.

Getting Started

In the beginning, I really struggled to settle into meditation and I found myself doing everything and anything else (including the ironing which I hate) to avoid finding a moment for stillness. Last time I found myself ironing voluntarily was during my final year at university and this give you a bit of an idea of high I was resisting.

I persisted and at first, it felt strange and very indulgent to explore this stillness and much of resistance came from a misguided belief that I am way to busy to allow another thing into my life.
Somehow deep down I knew I had to persist because in mediation practice lay a crucial key to a doorway that I must open to continue my journey of self-enquiry. It is that simple.
I had a big break through moment when someone mentioned that it can take time to cultivate a practice and process of meditation. I realized there and then that I was doing my usual thing of putting pressure on it and expecting myself to be instantly good at meditation. Immediately, I knew that it had been totally unrealistic to expect it to take anything less than a little daily dedication and patience.
Another break through happened when I realized that trying to establish a routine and stick to it didn’t really help me. Giving myself the freedom to have a go as and when I had time was better for me. Allowing myself a day or two off seemed to work too – trying to stick to a routine and missing a day meant that I would then beat myself up for failing. Once I looked at it with greater flexibility it grew more organically and consequently more naturally

Remember – there is help out there!

In the beginning, I tried to settle down, but I nearly always found this to be impossible and after many failed attempts I nearly gave up. One of my dearest friends, on hearing about my hurdles, suggested that I try listening to meditation CD that guides you into a meditation and leads you through it. I did this, and I found it to be extremely useful. Since then, I have learnt there are literally dozens and dozens of video tutorials and step by step webinars online that come free of charge if you’re a fan of convenience, we recommend trying out Headspace—a free app that offers a new guided meditation tutorial each day.

Make it Comfy

Especially when first starting out, I would recommend that you find a quiet place where you can fully relax without distractions, many suggest a dimly lit room where you can close the door. I choose to sit in our sitting room in the bay window as this is always clear of clutter and I like the natural light coming in. It is important to find what works best for you, make it as easy as possible and minimize the barriers. You may need to experiment a little. It may change as the seasons change too.

Make sure to start in a comfortable position, seated in a chair with your feet on the ground and posture straight or laying down relaxed. I like to sit as I am more likely to fall asleep when lying down.
I have cushions, a candle and a rug at the ready every time and sometimes I use all three.

Keep it Light – little steps

It can be helpful to build it up. Consider starting with as little as three 10 – 15-minute sessions and stick at it! Doing it regularly is much better than doing a 1hour long cramming session once every couple of weeks.

Tricks of the trade

As I struggled on, and on (or so it seemed), someone suggested that I use a focus on breathing to help settle into it, and so I gave it a go, and it was super helpful. I still use it now.Find your spot (sitting or lying), get into position and close your eyes (at least partially) and turn your attention to your breathing. Choose to breath through your nostrils if possible. Don’t force it – allow the breath to flow naturally and focus on becoming aware of the sensation of the breath as it enters and leaves the nostrils. The sensation is the object of our breath.
At first, your mind may persist with busy thoughts, and it might even feel that the meditation is making space in your mind to be busier than ever; but, we are just becoming more aware of how busy our mind is. As always there will be a great temptation to follow the different thoughts as they arise, but as always, we should resist this and remain focused single-pointedly on the sensation of the breath. If we discover that our mind has wandered and is following our thoughts, we should immediately return it to the breath. We should repeat this as many times as necessary until the mind settles on the breath.
It may also help to count your breaths.
When your mind starts to wander – accept this as inevitable and try not to engage and release the thoughts lovingly (or at least with a positive attitude and come back to the breath). I used to see the thoughts in clouds floating by and I pinged them right back out. Once the thoughts had been thrown back out I would return to the breath and start counting again.

Go easy on it and yourself
Chances are – it will take time and effort to get into a meditation routine and as you will learn from doing it regularly it is ok that it takes time. Remember patience is a virtue.
If like me, you find yourself plagued with thoughts it is ok – with time and practice (and a little trial and error) your mind will quieten, and you will learn to witness them without jumping in on the inner dialogue.

What it is not:
You are not trying to turn your thoughts or your feelings off – only to notice them, allow them without judgement and release them without engaging in them and being them.

Persist!! It is so worth it!
If I can – anyone can – trust me….. trust the process and more importantly trust yourself!!
It is hard to find the words worthy to explain the overall impact on my life but I can tell you clearly that I know when I haven’t done it as the days always seem to run less smoothly.

Written by Clare Butterworth
ON behalf of HCC and Little Sun Learning – Summer 2018

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Richard Hartley
Richard Hartley
13:06 06 Mar 19
I'd had back, neck and hip problems for over a year. After 6-7 sessions almost all the pain had gone. I had forgotten what being pain free was like. Thanks Mark.read more
Andrew Paul
Andrew Paul
14:43 28 Feb 19
I have suffered with back, neck and shoulder pain for many years. Eventually the pain got too much so I called in to the clinic for an assessment. I was referred to Sarah who went on to highlight all the issues and recommended a course of treatment. The treatment I have received from Sarah and all the staff since my first visit has been fantastic. The results have been amazing and the freedom of movement I now enjoy is unbelievable. Thank you to Sarah and all the team.read more
Rachel Hardy
Rachel Hardy
13:17 24 Feb 19
After 6 years of back problems and pains I thought it would be impossible to relieve the pain, but within my first appointment I had already felt a difference. I'm 7 appointments in now and my back has improved so much. I'm already on the stage of carrying out exercises recommended by Mark. I couldn't be happier with the treatment! Mark is especially helpful and makes sure you understand fully what he is doing and why. I can't wait to see the improvements that I'm sure will continue to present!read more
Mohamed Dalghous
Mohamed Dalghous
23:11 10 Feb 19
On behalf of my mum: Having read some of the great google reviews, I decided to try this place out. I came for a free assessment and then decided to go ahead with treatment so I have been seeing Mark for a few weeks now after suffering for 23 years of back pain and sciatica after pregnancy with twins. Can not recommend Mark and the staff enough. If I could give more than 5 stars I would.read more
Mourya Varma
Mourya Varma
20:27 24 Jan 19
Having previously had chiropractic treatment a long time ago, I know how important it is to find a good chiropractor who you are going to trust with your body and schedule regular treatment with. The treatment costs are reasonable and considering this practice is one of the best in Leeds and the work they do, the expertise and knowledge they have I believe its worth every penny. I have been at the gym for over a year, I have moved house and really pushed my body to the limit and this has caused me tremendous pain in my hip flexor and lower back along with stress! I made my initial appointment and got to the practice. The reception team were very friendly and professional. Mark has been amazing so far and I continue regular ongoing treatment. I can not recommend this practice enough, I've told all my friends and family about it.read more
Laura Dosil
Laura Dosil
09:27 23 Nov 18
I always go there when I'm miserable and in pain and I leave not only with less pain, but also more relaxed. Letitia always explains everything I need to do at home to get better, and it's always the best advice.read more
Silvia Tarchi
Silvia Tarchi
07:34 07 Nov 18
I have been struggling for many years with back pain and hip pain. Tried may different approaches with zero results. My GP told me to try a Chiropractor and i remember a few years back it had helped me. So i found Headingley Chiropractic Clinic and have been going now for a couple of months, what a change!! I have almost no pain, i walk so much better and managed to get myself back to the gym. I have more energy and am so happy that my sciatic pain is almost gone! Mark has been absolutely wonderful for the very beginning and i find going there very relaxing and always walk out feeling great. The team at the reception is also very welcoming and they remember you by name. I would definitely recommend this practise! They are also very accommodating with the times so that the sessions don t take time away from work.read more
Francesca de Bernart
Francesca de Bernart
21:24 25 Oct 18
In just a few sessions Mark fixed me and I am back to a free from pain and happy life again. I couldn’t ask for more, I didn’t expect it to work so well and so fast, after months of severe pain. I would definitely recommend it to everybody and will always be grateful to my friend Marianthi who suggested it to me in the first place. Mark is extremely professional and luckily really able to help, where anyone else and everything else (gp, drugs ...) failed. Highly recommended +++read more
Steve Larkin
Steve Larkin
18:36 23 Oct 18
I was struggling for several months with pain passing down my left arm from the shoulder, along with pins and needles and poor mobility. Six short sessions with Mark over four weeks had me cured.read more
Ana Filipa Neto
Ana Filipa Neto
09:10 11 Oct 18
I’ve had sciatica problems before that caused severe back spasms and inability to walk. I’ve seen other chiropractors for this and got worse and therefore scared to ever go again. When I was about 3 months pregnant this happened and I literally couldn’t move! The pain was enormous and because I still had 6 months to go, I thought I really needed to find help! I went on Google and found this clinic that had good reviews for normal Chiro treatments but had someone specialised in pregnancy care. I rang the clinic to make sure she had other experience as I was so traumatised! The receptionist was a dear and said not to worry, she had plenty of pregnant ladies coming in and all very happy with the treatment! It was the best decision I’ve ever made! Dr Laetitia was very understanding, supportive and a great professional overall. I couldn’t walk and after the first session I was able to walk home, about an hour walk, I couldn’t believe it! I’m very grateful for all her care, I recommend her treatment all the time! Even my midwife was surprised and started recommending it to other ladies! Very happy! I’m looking forward to keep up with the treatments in due course!read more
darren dobson
darren dobson
17:00 04 Oct 18
Mark is brilliant. He has fixed me so many times when my GP couldn't! The best chiropractor in Leeds.
Pawel Koziorowski
Pawel Koziorowski
12:33 28 Sep 18
I had excruciating pain in my back and i turned to Headingley Chiropractic Clinic which helped me 6 years ago as well. Chiropractor Mark took good care of me which included effective treatment and exercises to prevent the problems in the future and to strengthen my core muscles. I would recommend this clinic to anybody as they are very professional and nice to work with. 5 stars without a doubtread more
yosef Habib Hafiz
yosef Habib Hafiz
20:26 21 Aug 18
Professional place, clean, friendly and reasonably priced. I’ve had costochondritis for over 4 years now & pain in the sciatic nerve. Mark does a really good job. I was amazed at how he got rid of that nasty sciatic pain with his skilful acupuncture session. As for my complicated costochondritis issue. The flare has died down significantly after a couple of sessions. I’m now able to have many good night’s of sleep. Along with his excellent work and the NHS checkups combined, I hope to treat it once and for all. Verdict: Would recommend.read more
Keith Gordon
Keith Gordon
13:20 11 Jul 18
Second review from me, but Google asked. In my particular case, I think 10 visits to a physiotherapist is equivalent to just one here with Sarah. Again, a brilliant session - feel and move so much better, thank you.read more
Helen Frazer
Helen Frazer
22:50 12 May 18
Great treatment provided and explanation for what/why need - great approach to help patients understand root cause and self help to prevent re-occurrence. 👍read more
Alex Barry
Alex Barry
23:42 23 Apr 18
Absolutely fantastic. Caring and genuinely want to help
Keith Gordon
Keith Gordon
06:33 25 Feb 18
The best chiropractor I have visited in 25 years- Sarah is excellent and very professional. Throughly recommended over all others I have visited.
Marian Gheorghe
Marian Gheorghe
21:40 08 Feb 18
I came to see Mark Butterworth agonising with back pain, including lower back and the neck. Both, the entire spine and muscles around the neck were stiff and painful, making me unable to sit, stand and sleep more than a couple of hours over night. Mark assessed me very thoroughly and professionally, prescribing at the end a treatment over several weeks. After two weeks, my situation significantly improved: the muscles becoming more relaxed, spine more flexible and my entire body more able to move freely, without pain. The progress is obvious. Mark is not only very knowledgeable and professional, but also methodic in what is doing, caring about any detail and providing advice when requested. I would recommend Mark and his colleagues without any hesitation as one of the best clinics of this type I have ever encountered.read more
Mohammed Zabair
Mohammed Zabair
20:05 18 Jan 18
Very thorough and very informative, Highly professional yet relaxed atmosphere. Tea and coffee offered on several occasions, just made the whole experience very pleasant. Mr Butterworth is very knowledgeable and passionate about his craft. Highly recommended A+++read more
Iram Ali
Iram Ali
23:24 10 Nov 17
After months of being in pain, I went to see Mark at the Headingley Chiropractic Clinic. I can honestly say it has made a huge difference. I may have a while before I'm 100% but I definitely feel like I have some normality back in my life. Oh and Stephanie is a godsend with her cups of coffee :)read more
thornton andrew
thornton andrew
09:27 13 Sep 17
I retired from work in 2012 and had terrible back problems from not sitting correctly at computers. Mark gradually manipulated the muscles back into something like normality and I now go once a month to keep the muscles freed up and have a completely pain free existence. I have also had a long standing knee problem going back to a leg break in 1987. Mark actually managed to manipulate the joint back into line and since then i have had no problems with either my knee or hip, thus avoiding potential surgery. I cannot speak highly enough of the entire practice, all the staff are charming and couldn't be more helpful. Worth every penny for a pain free life. Many thanks to all the staff.read more
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