The Benefits Of Mindfulness Guided Meditation

The Benefits Of Mindfulness Guided Meditation

Why Guided Meditations?

Meditation is an incredibly beneficial activity. There is extensive research that highlights the benefits of mindfulness guided meditation. If you are interested you can read a review of the research on meditation.

Here are the highlights:

  • Mindfulness meditation programs show improvement in anxiety and depression.
  • There is evidence for the help of meditation in the treatment of chronic pain.
  • Meditation aids sleep as was shown in studies on insomnia and mindfulness meditation.
  • Practicing meditation can help regulate blood pressure.
  • Meditation helps managing stress.
  • Meditation helps brain function. Mindfulness meditation can slow or even reverse changes due to aging.
  • Meditation aids in emotional regulation and enhances cognitive abilities.

You can also read more in my blog about the science behind meditation!

Meditation is a Learned Skill

These are just some of the researched areas of help. For many people practicing meditation may seem like a difficult task. This is mostly because of lack of knowledge and guidance. Meditation is a learned skill. You certainly can get better at it with practice.

 

Mindfulness Guided Meditation Series

The guided mindfulness meditations I create help with developing this skill since they are a reflection practice and may be easier to follow for beginners. Experienced mediators often find them  beneficial as well.

Mindfulness Guided Meditation Video #1: From Empathy To Compassion

When we move from empathy to compassion we can follow and fullfill our desire to alleviate suffering in ourselves and in others. Compassion energizes and nourishes us.

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Shirly

Mindfulness Guided Meditation Video #2: Befriending Your Fear

Learn to manage your fear rather than allowing your fear manage you. Fear and you can partner to create a way for you to be in the world with wise vigilance. You can choose thinking clearly and doing what is best for you.

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Shirly

Mindfulness Guided Meditation Video #3: Returning To Balance Again And Again

We are human. Our internal environment is influenced by what takes place in our lives, in the lives of others, in the world… This reflection practice guides you into ways of returning to balance again and again as you go through your everyday life. This is exceptionally important during stressful times.

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Shirly

Mindfulness Guided Meditation Video #4: Choosing The Stories We Tell Ourselves

We always have a narrative that is running in our minds. The movie that is playing sets the tone to how we feel and what actions we take. When times are challenging it is especially important to notice the stories we tell ourselves and to recognize we can change the story and with it change the feelings that guide our behaviors.

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Shirly

Mindfulness Guided Meditation Video #5: The Impermanence Of Everything

We would like to think that the good things that happen to us will stay and that the bad things will quickly go away.. The truth is that nothing stays the same. Are the things you thought crucial for your happiness the same?

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Shirly

Mindfulness Guided Meditation Video #6: Showing Up During Challenging Times

Challenging times can bring the best or the worst in us… How to go back again and again to the place in your heart that is all love and kindness.

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Shirly

Mindfulness Guided Meditation Video #7: Connecting Emotions Thoughts And Actions

The brain functions best when it is supported by us making good choices and yet stress reduces this ability. Stress causes inflammation that disrupts the connection between the wise part of the brain and the amygdala (the “security guard”). With stress reduction connection can be restored and a healthy wise brain can take the reins again.

Reflect and Enjoy
Shirly

Mindfulness Guided Meditation Video #8: Creating The New You

We change all the time. You are not the person you were 5 years ago, 10 years ago … What if you can direct the change so you become the person you always wanted to be? How about taking charge of your mind and creating new habits of thoughts and emotions that lead to a new you?

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Shirly

Mindfulness Guided Meditation Video #9: Who Is In Charge?

Who is in charge? Are you being dragged along for the ride by your past habits, experiences, thoughts and feelings? What can be done differently? How can you be the boss of your mind and body and direct the carriage where you would like it to go?

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Shirly

Mindfulness Guided Meditation Video #10: Emptying The Mind And Creating Space

Let us create space in the mind for what is truly beneficial and nourishing. Let us clear some of the old emotions and habits that are taking up room!

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Shirly

Mindfulness Guided Meditation Video #11: Do Not Squander Your Life!

How are you living your life? Do you make a point of doing your best with this opportunity you have been given? Taking an inward journey in meditation and exploring this provides an opportunity for change and transformation.

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Shirly

Mindfulness Guided Meditation Video #12: Touring The Mind

Imagine your mind as a house. Different rooms house different emotions and experiences. As you wonder from room to room you may notice that all emotions are transient and the hallway that connects the rooms can lead to a sanctuary, a place to rest and reflect on all that you are grateful for.

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Shirly

Mindfulness Guided Meditation Video #13: Gaining A Bigger Perspective

There are times when we are all facing the same storm and yet we can have a very different experience. How can you gain perspective so you can see things differently and more clearly?
In this guided meditation we explore this.

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Shirly

Mindfulness Guided Meditation Video #14: Connecting With Love

Open your heart in this Metta Meditation practice. Allow yourself to feel fully and completely the love that is already there, resting in your heart. With an open heart you can bring so much more to yourself and to the world.

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Shirly

My Personal Journey With The Benefits of Mindfulness Guided Meditation

In my own life I have found that my years of meditation practice allow me to return to balance relatively quickly. I am noticing that I have time more often to respond to events, rather than react and then regret my reaction. I feel my brain works better now. I am thinking clearer. I am very thankful that this is part of my daily routine.

If you would ask me what is one of the best practices I introduced into my daily routine, the answer is simple, mindfulness guided meditation.

Facing The Challenges Of Death And Dying

Facing The Challenges Of Death And Dying

Death And Dying Are Part Of Life

In our western culture we tend to not think about death and dying. People often shy away from talking about it and yet we all know it is a fact. We are all here temporarily. Our loved ones are here temporarily. The thought of death and dying is often very scary. It is easier, it seems, to simply not deal with it. When the time comes we are not prepared. We have not discussed it. We don’t know how we feel about it….

Using Compassion and Openness at All Life Phases

I am not an expert on death and dying. I am simply a person that attempts to look with compassion and openness at all phases of the life we spend our time here on earth.

I have dedicated a large part of my professional and personal time to helping people and their families during this difficult time.

There are no templates nor simple instructions that make it easier or manageable for all.

There is only a mindfulness of presence and a sincere desire to assist.

You can read more about the end of life care services I offer here

The emptiness of the bench symbolizes death and dying
a person walking through a tunnel to the other side, death and dying as part of the life cycle

Death Is Personal

Many years ago my dear friend was dying from cancer. We managed to celebrate her 40th birthday. A girls’ trip to the north of Israel. We had a wonderful time together.

A few weeks later the illness returned for the third time and after extensive radiation she was in and out of consciousness. It was a very difficult time. Her kids were young and she was receiving hospice services at home.

Tension Amongst the Ones Who Stay Behind

There was some tension amongst us, her friends, as well as her sisters, at what kind of conversations should take place. Some thought we should give her permission to go, others thought we must have a candid and open conversation about her imminent death, I felt we should follow whatever and wherever she lead. Emotions were high, we were all upset and angry and miserable.

I look back on this event that took place about 15 years ago or so. It affected me deeply. I felt alone and isolated. I did not have support for me. I also felt guilt and shame that I am thinking of myself while she is dying, while her kids are losing their mother and her husband losing his wife. I did not have the skill or the tools to take care of me as I offered support for her. I was there every day. I was close by when she took her last breaths in the hospital. It was the first time I was an active participant in the process of death and dying. I miss her still.

 

Different People Need Different Things When Dealing with Death

What I learned since is that death and dying are very personal. That different people need different things. That families and friends can rally up or stumble and fall, or both. I know I had my heart in the right place. I learned to respect and follow the lead of the person or persons suffering during this challenging time. This does not come without difficulty.

Who is the priority? The dying person? Their family?

 

I Hold My Heart Open and Connected

I found that the process that allows me to be present and supportive is one of continuous reflection and introspection while my heart remains open and connected to all. I check in to see what is right, what is best… And then turn outward and bring love and compassion. This may mean saying nothing, or maybe saying something. It may mean sitting by the bed just present, or it can be a touch that is required at that time.

The guiding light is always remembering: This is not about me. This is not about what I think I would have wanted. Remaining present and loving, open to the needs of the person and his/her loved ones.

Thoughts On Issues Related to Death And Dying:

Death With Dignity

In anture death is truly a part of the cycle

An article at the Huffpost raises the issue of death with dignity.

The discussion on having the right to end ones life is a charged one and I will refrain from delving into it. I will only say that when you have choice you feel more empowered and less frightened.

Creating Opportunities for Choice

Creating opportunities for choice during death and dying is a way to provide the person and their loved ones with a sense of purpose and strength. This can be done in small and big ways.

Compassion

opening the heart during dying

Roshi Joan Halifax speaks and writes on compassion:

“Compassion flowers from the realization that we are not separate and have no fixed identity.” (Being With Dying)

As we open our hearts to the experience of another there is no barrier. There is the true desire to alleviate the suffering of ourselves and others.

How can we help best? What would serve best?

Compassion is the ultimate healing.

“Soft front, strong back” as we step on a path of love. Embracing all that comes our way.

 

Grieving The Future Death

Grief about death

It is common for us humans to anticipate.

We know a person is sick and dying. We are already living in the future of that person’s imminent death. We grieve for the coming loss.

Making Conscious Decisions

Some years ago a child of a dear wise friend was diagnosed with incurable cancer.

We had a long conversation a few weeks after the diagnosis.

She told me she made a decision to see him as alive and enjoy every moment of his remaining life.

This is not easy to do but she gave herself the gift of living in the present with this incredible boy for another year before he passed.

Everything Happens For A Reason

Everything Happens For A Reason

Does Everything Really Happen For a Reason?

“Everything happens for a reason” is such a commonly used phrase. It goes hand in hand with “There are no coincidences” and “It will all work out” and so many other statements that somehow seem to make things better, at least in our perceptions.

I am sure you can think of some:

  • It is all part of the bigger plan
  • The universe will take care of you
  • If your intentions are right you will succeed
  • If you are truly on your path things will work out for you
  • God does not give you what you cannot handle.

 

woman with a finger on her cheeks, rolling her eyes to the ceiling, thinking, everything happens for a reason

The saying that everything happens for a reason is the modern, New Age version of the old saying:  “It’s God’s will.”    The two sayings have the same problem – the complete lack of evidence that they’re true.    Not only is there no good evidence that God exists, we have no way of knowing what it is that he (or she) wanted to happen, other than that it actually did happen. Dr. Paul Thegard PhD in Psychology Today

clouds over water body, everything happens for a reason

Why Does It Resonate For Many?

It is comforting to believe that there is someone in charge, that there is an order to things. That when good things happen it means we deserve them, and when bad things happen there is some logic to it despite the fact that we may not see it at the time it happens.

Here is a paragraph from another blog that represents the belief that there is a bigger plan:

Anytime we fail at something, we’re overcome by a sense of defeat. It’s nature. And it’s part of life. We all go through it. Does it feel good? Nope. Not in the slightest. But you can’t always expect life to be rainbows and sunshine. But there is a reason for the things that happen to you. In fact, the greatest lessons you could ever learn in life are born from failure.

 

 

Here Is My Perspective On Everything Happens For A Reason

In my ongoing attempt to live a mindful life I am committed to living as close to reality as possible. As I study myself, my relationships, and the events that happen in my life and in the lives of others I find that there is a level of arrogance that comes with this specific belief and this arrogance is often combined with ignorance.

I will use an extreme example to make a point. The loss of a child. Would you dare tell the grieving mother that everything happens for a reason? Can you yourself see the reason for the loss of life of a 9 year old boy? Of a 20 years old young man that left home to run and errand and was killed by a texting driver?

Look at a more broad example such as the earthquake in Haiti or the Tsunami in Thailand. Can you see a great reason for that? The tremendous suffering it brought for so many, was that justified somehow? Or the Syrian women and children suffering horribly in the war?

When I have this conversation with people that often use the phrase with great ease I find that most are stumped for words when you present the bigger picture.

Is the cancer patient then responsible for their cancer? They brought it on themselves? What if they never smoked, ate healthy, loved their children, did beautiful deeds in the community, lived humbly and still got cancer… I know a few people like that, some no longer with us on this earth…..

I have been thinking long and hard on this topic. I am challenged daily by comments and assertions that come from this belief. I do not intend to dissuade you from your belief system, simply to present a different perspective.

 

How Can We Handle Our Experiences Mindfuly?

We start with the acceptance of our humaness, our limitations, our messy and chaotic world. A humbleness that comes from recognizing that there are many forces that are beyond our control.

We continue by living according to our values, by opening our heart and treating ourselves and others with loving kindness and compassion.

We commit to being mindful and we make wise choices regardless of what comes our way. Life is messy and unpredictable but you are always in charge of your responses. You can create meaning and reason from the events that takes place in your life if you so wish.

 

Things happen, good things and challenging things. How we respond to what takes place in our lives defines our experiences. Choosing with wisdom, and living a life aligned with your values, brings meaning and worth to every moment of every day.

Does everything happen for a reason? I don’t know for sure but I am skeptical.

Does it matter? Not really, as long as you live mindfully.

Want to Learn More?

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Mindful Hypnosis: Free Yourself From Habits and Thoughts That Do Not Serve You

Mindful Hypnosis for true transformationWhat is Mindful Hypnosis?

Mindful hypnosis is a therapeutic process I created.

Mindful Hypnosis combines hypnosis and mindfulness practices and helps you manage in a positive way the challenges created by difficult thoughts and dysfunctional habits. Taking charge of your mind provides you with the ability to transform worries, stress, anxiety, overeating, negative relationships patterns or any habit that does not serve you. By using this method you can start living your life to the fullest.

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