Lifeflow Meditation Blogs
This is where Lifeflow’s teachers and members of our community share with you their deep knowledge and experience about meditation and mindfulness – so you can learn more and get the most out of meditation.
Many people understand meditation to be a spiritual practice. But ask ten meditators what ‘spiritual’ means and you are likely to receive ten very different replies. If we aren’t clear about what ‘spiritual’ means, then for what purpose is that practice?
Dana Bell's story is one of hope, compassion, and the transformative power of teaching mindfulness meditation. During a difficult time supporting a friend with end-stage cancer, Dana's mindfulness training enabled her to be fully present and provide invaluable support through personalized meditations. This experience inspired her to use her skills professionally, running workshops for schools, community groups, and organizations. Dana's story is a testament to the transformative impact of mindfulness meditation and the power of cultivating awareness and presence in our lives.
Did you know that the words "hear" and "here" share a common root? Originally meaning "to be told, or learn by report", the spelling only changed in the 14th or 15th centuries. In our modern lives, the constant background noises of city life can easily distract us from being truly present and attentive.
Do you know a one stop shop where you can unpack the startling dream you had last night, find a yoga exercise to help relieve your back pain, study how your emotions arise, explore astronomy, find the lyrics of that old Beatles song that keeps running through your mind and read the true story of the first European woman to travel to Tibet?
One of the basic truths of the meditation tradition is that it is our state of mind that governs so much of our experience of life. This isn’t just how or what we think about our lives (although that’s certainly a huge part of it) – it’s also about how we react emotionally and physically to things that happen. Do we tighten up, or lock down on some experiences ...
When we lose something or someone, often that is not the only loss—there are other things we lose too—friends, activities, the ability to socialize as we used to, our vibrancy or happiness, people, our jobs and partners. It can feel like a limb has been ripped off. It is possible to recover and thrive again …
Music, like all art, is inner experience brought into form – a form that we can both hear and feel. The combination of music and meditation ... is really something quite special – music can help to open us to all the joys and sorrows of our emotional life as well as ground us in the rhythms of life and the body ...
In the words of Sir David Attenborough, referring to the preciousness of age-old trees, “there is little else on Earth that plays host to such a rich community of life within a single living organism”. In this article Ann Calvert explores the importance of gum trees to the Peramangk people, to Lifeflow retreatants and to the group of volunteers caring for the land around Tara Hills Retreat Centre.
Meditation has long been used as a pathway to awareness. Scientific research is now also looking at another pathway – the use of psychedelics.
Every time I go on retreat, I am reminded of why I keep doing it 20 years on and how necessary it is for keeping balance in life. It always feels like the highest form of sanity to rest and restore deeply at all levels. For me there is no greater content than this experience of being an inseparable part of the environment.
Have you ever struggled to maintain focus when you meditate? It is extremely common - they don’t call it the monkey mind for no reason. In this blog I share my experiences of learning to concentrate in a receptive (open) way and developing stillness.
You would expect a tradition that understands people and the human mind to be very accommodating when it comes to differences. And it is. Many people, however, have struggled for years with meditation, finding it difficult or even impossible to meditate. Often they were told that it was difficult. The reason is quite simple. They have been struggling with a type of meditation which doesn?t suit them. Meditation is easy when you find the one that suits you ...
Lifeflow Founder and Director, Dr Graham Williams shares the story of Lifeflow's 40 years. From a share house in Evandale with a handful of students to an established Centre with a strong membership, 12 teachers, a 5 year curriculum and teaching thousands of people to meditate. Happy Birthday Lifeflow!
Consider this: you?re in a crowded area and completely miss a close friend or family member? Or looking for that kitchen utensil ? impossible to find in the drawer ? then it appears five minutes later when you weren?t looking for it? Why do you not see what?s in front you at times? But, are you ever seeing what is in front of you, or are you simply seeing your expectations of what?s in front of you? This question is central to the idea of Predictive Processing ...
When I was younger I could put holes in walls throwing furniture and break glass with my fists. I am intimately familiar with every shade of anger ranging from mild irritation and a subtle sense of dissatisfaction through to raging tsunamis that have sent my body into convulsions. How does anger help me?
You bet! The good news is meditation is one of the most effective tools for restoring our physical and emotional wellbeing ? and most importantly helping us to actually feel better. At Lifeflow, the way we teach meditation starts from the ground up.
Walking meditation is highly regarded in the Buddhist meditation tradition and it partners wonderfully with formal sitting meditation practice. By alternating sitting and walking you can relieve tiredness and restlessness and make use of a natural activity to enhance mindfulness.
When we look at something we don?t realise that we are bringing all sorts of assumptions to bear on it. So that what we see is already shaped and coloured by what we believe about it. Because of this, more often than not, we don?t see what is actually there.
The natural environment is an important part of the meditation tradition. Being in and around nature can teach us a lot about observation, cycles, the interdependence of all forms of life and the need to nurture not only ourselves but the environment around us. Lifeflow has a long history of supporting and working with the natural world.
Being able to develop and maintain emotional and mental health has long been the hallmark of meditation, but meditation is increasingly being recommended to help with managing many of the physical health problems that have become endemic today such as pain management, addiction and cardiovascular issues. The key to these physical benefits is a state of deep relaxation, which can keep your body healthy and balanced and can help to heal when you are sick as well.
Living alone presents several challenges. When we are able to enjoy the company of family and friends, go to work or participate in a range of activities, these challenges may not be so noticeable. When, however, we are unable to be in contact with others, maybe due to health reasons or are isolated as many have been during the Coronavirus epidemic, the sense of isolation looms large.
Being open to everything, being receptive to everything in yourself and the world, is the essence of love. You discover that love is actually a decision ? not just a feeling. It is something you can practice, and so you can learn to sustain a state of love in the same way that you can learn anything else. It doesn?t have to be left to chance.
The Advanced Meditations held at Lifeflow provide a way of training yourself to be able to understand, access and accept all of the varied aspects of the human mind. By accepting that our minds have many different shades we can learn how to use them skilfully and appropriately. The Advanced Meditation sessions are held twice per year for Lifeflow members at Tara Hills Retreat Centre.
My first-born has often hit me with her laser-like-between-the-eyes provocative challenges. ?Hey Mum, do you want to come to NZ with me and walk the Milford Track? It?s only 55 km, over 5 days and 4 nights. You only have to carry a daypack that weighs a piddling 7-10 kg and there are superb lodges overnight and all meals are provided?. Awesome!!! But maybe I?m a little old at 71 for that don?t you think?"
Have you been through times in your life when you have been overwhelmed; when everything seems to have gone wrong and life has pummelled you? When our lives turn upside down, or even when we are just knocked sideways a bit, we can feel anger, worry, anxiety or even fear. Our self confidence disappears. At these times what helps us to get back up again is resilience. Meditation can help us a lot with this ...
I am a daughter, mother, grandmother, wife, sister, friend, cousin. I have been a business owner and a boss. Somewhere entwined amongst these roles is a relationship I have with myself, ?me?. It was when one of these relationships went confrontingly wrong that I realised the ?me? involved was not the ?me? I thought I was.
When first learning to ride a bike, you quickly discover how important it is to be physically balanced. If not you keep falling over! The same actually applies emotionally and mentally. Meditation is the tool for discovering and keeping your emotional and mental balance. One of the most wonderful things about meditation is that you discover what it feels like when the body, the emotions and the mind are balanced at the same time. This state of natural balance is the resting point of our lives, the point of deepest relaxation and the point of maximum potential.
Suggested readings and contemplations during a period of isolation and retreat from the outside world. For many of us, and especially for those without young children at home, this time of isolation from the distractions and busyness of the outside world can be experienced as a time of retreat. During this unusual yet precious time you may find that you have more space in your life for contemplation, meditation and reading.