Hippy life and meditation The fine art of doing absolutely nothing!

Saturday, 11 September 2021  |  Kate

When was the last time you sat quietly and did... well, nothing? It isn’t always easy to completely relax when we’re glued to our smartphones 24/7, there’s so much going on out there, the news is often so awful, and life in general can feel so busy. The pandemic might be a human tragedy of epic proportions, but it has also enabled millions of us to quieten our lives and our minds, at least for a while and sometimes for the long term.

Are you feeling rushed? Are you too busy, working too hard for too long? Maybe you never really get to sit down and smell the coffee. If your life is getting frantic once more, now that we’re getting used to living with covid, how can you return to that wonderful chilled head-space?
As it turns out, meditation is one of the simplest ways to truly relax, focus, and get back in touch with your inner self.

The magic of meditation

Meditation has a very long history of increasing calmness and physical relaxation, improving psychological balance, handling illness, and enhancing people’s general health and well-being.
Meditation might be an ancient practice but millions of people around the globe enjoy it. It’s the perfect tool to focus our minds. It reduces the activity in the brain’s default mode network, which controls negative mind-chatter and mind wandering. In fact those who meditate tend to out-perform non-meditators on tasks where focus is important, and can also focus better for longer.
It lets us develop better control over our thoughts and achieve inner peace, which is good to know when the news makes it all too easy to slot into constant negative thinking. Meditation helps you work through negative thoughts and discard worries. It can reduce anxiety and calm stress. Once it becomes a habit you’ll notice how mentally fresh you feel.
Meditation boosts our ability to think and broadens the flow of constructive thoughts. It can inspire us to creativity. And just a few minutes a day is enough to notice the difference. You’ll find you slow down, observing your world and your body to reduce worry and find a calm, focused balance.

How does it work?

It’s a mindfulness thing. It helps you understand in a fundamental, spirit-deep way, that the past has gone, the future doesn’t exist, and the present is everything. It makes a lot of sense to lose those unhelpful worries about what’s gone and what’s yet to come. You can’t change the past and can’t predict the future, and realising that the here and now is actually rather lovely via meditation, where you enter a state of peacefulness, feels incredibly good.
The Healthline website provides 12 benefits of meditation:
• Reduces stress
• Controls anxiety
• Promotes emotional health
• Enhances self-awareness
• Increases your attention span
• Can reduce age-related memory loss
• Generates kindness
• Can help fight addiction
• Improves sleep
• Helps control pain
• Can reduce blood pressure
• It’s accessible anywhere – you carry the skill with you wherever you go, and can tap into it anytime

How does meditation feel?

It’s actually quite hard to describe, but can you imagine the lovely feeling you have when you’ve just woken up, it’s a weekend, the sun’s shining and you’ve had a fantastic night’s sleep? Your mind feels calm and clear, your body feels light and bright, almost weightless, and the world feels full of magical possibilities. It must be one of life’s best feelings, and once you learn how to meditate it’s yours whenever you need it.
Some say deep meditation feels a lot like being under hypnosis or self-hypnosis. You’re fully present, totally alert and very awake, but at the same time you’re supremely relaxed, serene, and positive. When you stop the feeling stays with you, leaving you feeling fantastic because you’ve recalibrated your relationship with yourself and the world that surrounds you.

What’s the science behind meditation?

Countless studies have looked into how meditation works. None have got to the bottom of it so far, partly because science still doesn’t know what ‘consciousness’ is in the first place. As any brain scientist will tell you, it’s one of the most challenging questions in science, one that many call ‘the hard problem’. We do know, though, that people who meditate regularly – even if it’s only for a few minutes a day – tend to experience a lightening of psychological disorders, less pain, better sleep and a happier outlook.

Getting familiar with meditation

Most kinds of meditation have some things in common. You need a nice, quiet place where there are no distractions. It’s good to find a comfortable posture, whether it means sitting, lying down, or even walking. You need a focus for your attention, often your own breathing. And you need an open attitude, where you let distractions come and go without judging them.
Talking about walking, there’s plenty of evidence that simply going for a walk helps you empty your mind, free up your creativity, and feel the benefits of meditation. Here’s some insight into walking meditation.

There’s no right or wrong way to meditate, and there are plenty of different types of practice, from mindfulness meditation to spiritual meditation, loving-kindness meditation to visualisation meditation. Once you get going you can create your own unique way of reaching the gorgeous place in your mind and heart where you feel at one with everything, and capable of anything.
Mindful.org has some great advice on how to meditate. In their words, “When we meditate, we inject far-reaching and long-lasting benefits into our lives: We lower our stress levels, we get to know our pain, we connect better, we improve our focus, and we're kinder to ourselves.”

Look the part, feel the part!

Hippies and flower children, nature lovers and people with liberal views, those who love mother earth and believe in freedom, people who protest with Extinction Rebellion, they all meditate. But meditation isn’t exclusive to a boho lifestyle. It’s mainstream, a practice businesses take seriously and corporate types harness to improve their performance.

Meditation goes hand in hand with the contemporary world’s focus on mindfulness and, like so much in life, when you look the part it helps you feel the love. Take a look at our beautiful alternative clothing, deck yourself out in our comfortable, lush hippy fashion, and take your first step into a practice that could change your life.

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