The Art of Inner Quiet
Whether you are looking to practice meditation or self-hypnosis, it is absolutely vital to develop an inner quiet place in the theater of your mind. As you work to detail this personal place, it will become an automatic catalyst for releasing both mind & body tension & balancing the body systems. You will learn more about this as you read more articles in this area.
The inner theater is also known as your creative resource center where goal work is planned, activated & motivated hypnotically. It's a favorite place for managing any & all emotions, their automatic mind programs, including special gifts that may or may not have been shared in the past. It's a place for editing past happenings, making these useful & positive helpers for present & future-paced work.
As you become more practiced in entering your inner theater, you will be able to do so just about anywhere & at any time. This means that you can ultimately run your awake life from this inner place, surrounded by your choice of powerful, positive-helper emotions & self-management tools. This is interactive self-hypnosis practiced at a high level.
When I began meditating over 30 years ago, I found it very difficult to become quiet. As I began to be aware of my life , as it was then, it was easy to understand why becoming quiet was such an issue for me. There was literally no quiet in my life. I woke up to noise, first in my mind & then the clock radio. There were several television sets in our home & I even had a radio in the shower. Noise literally followed me everywhere I went. As a family we ate breakfast chatting or arguing while listening to the news or morning magazine show. My drive to work was accompanied by the car radio or audio program. Upon entering my office, I plugged into the background music.
I had sold myself the idea that I had integrated relaxation with my work & lifestyle & that, indeed, I was utilizing my time well. Nothing could have been further from the truth. Looking back, obviously I had no knowledge about what true deep relaxation was, nor how to get there. I was actually burning out without even knowing it. Unbeknown to me, I was losing creative opportunities that would never be regained, for moments flee, taking with them the experiences gleaned in that momentary space in time.
1. We begin with intending to become quiet. This means that we decide to practice & to be actively interested in doing so. This may sound obvious, but it is not. This work is not something we fit in between other things. We set aside a special time for this practice & view it as a most important appointment that we keep with ourselves. In other words, we respect our practice.
2. We make certain that we will not be interrupted, unless the emergency is so big that it is life threatening. This means educating others about your seriousness to practice. While you don't have to share all the details, it is important to educate others about your seriousness in regard to interruptions. Even young children can be taught about respecting you in this regard. When my children were young I placed a baseball cap on the doorknob to my office. This meant that they were to leave me be & also to keep noise away from the door. I still do this in my current office.
If you have young babies, you will have to plan your time in accordance with their schedule or appoint a helper if that is safe & possible. As for animals, please keep them out of the room. While dogs & cats love to be with someone who is meditating, this is your practice time & it is an alone task. As mentioned above, you will be able to bring this practice to daily life, but each day we do dedicate special practice time.
3. Choose the same chair if possible. A good chair is one where your feet reach the floor & you can sit up straight. Do not practice lying down. If you can & like to sit in the lotus position, that is fine, but it is not necessary. The chair will become a catalyst for deepening. I actually have a meditation chair that I utilize at home & one in my office.
4. We begin by settling in. Remember that your mind & body have been on auto-pilot up until now & so just like a child who has been told to settle down by her parents or teacher, it is the same for your adult-self. I like to make myself very comfortable & usually close my eyes at this point, so I can pay quiet attention to my body needs. A meditative teacher once told me to "become the chair" & I think this is a powerful metaphor for settling in. Next, I bring in a sense of silence. We all know what silence "sounds" like & so we can plug into this sound. In the beginning it often helps to image a peaceful color or shape surrounding your body sitting in the chair. Be patient with this, especially if you have never done this before.
It takes the "child" awhile to become accustomed to the process. Keep in mind that the image or color will float in & out, as your mind keeps up the thoughts, etc. Each time you notice that you are not with the current image or color representing the sound or sensation of silence, simply bring it back. I usually take about 2 minutes to do this, especially if my mind is very busy & if the body is filled with sensations.
5. Now we are ready to begin the formal part of our practice. I always practice with my eyes closed, gently glued at the lids & eyeballs tilted up about 20 degrees, just as if you were sitting in the second row of a private movie theater. In front of you is your programming screen. We will utilize that later in our practice, but for now you will need a focal point or focus. There are many ways to do this. For now, I will suggest the belly breath or a mantra. Mantras can be as simple as a word sound or specific word. When I practiced TM, my mantra was phonetically "here-em". I have no idea what it means, if anything. I still utilize it on occasion, but most of the time I simply focus on my lower belly breath, observing it going up & down. I usually place my fingertips on the lower belly & image my fingers riding on it.
There are tremendous benefits to utilizing the breath. To begin with, we always have the breath with us & as you practice your meditative discipline, your breathing will become more relaxed both in & out of meditation. You can trigger it at any time & ride the breath to the inner theater. In addition to this reading work, I suggest your download one of my complimentary mp3 programs. The link to those is listed in the right hand column.
6. As you sit observing your breath, your mind will wander. This is part of the meditative practice. You will meet your interrupters including thoughts, body sensations & emotions. They are like a parade going by. You, the person practicing meditation, are standing on the curb simply "observing." When you notice that your mind has transferred from your belly breath to the interrupter, simply "notice" that fact & then return to your belly breath. You may be caught up in the thought or body sensation for quite awhile, especially if you are new or having a heavy-laden day, but do know that this is part of the process. Just as soon as you are aware that you are "in the parade" & not an "observer on the curb", please return to the curb. In this case scenario, the belly breath. Each time you do so, you can allow your self to go deeper down. Later I will teach you deepening techniques, but for now you can just image magnets under your buttocks, pulling you gently down. Continue along for 3-5 minutes. No need to look at a clock. Just estimate & when you have finished, gently open your eyes & give yourself a few moments to re-acclimate.
This is sufficient for now. You are busy preparing your Inner Theater & learning the art of inner quiet. If you are wondering where the quiet is, it is when you are with your belly breath. This is a powerful place & space. Later on we will work with other methods of focus, as well as learn to work with emotions, body sensations & thought processes.
Elizabeth Bohorquez, RN, C.Ht is a Clinical Hypnotherapist, President & Program Designer for Sarasota Medical & Sports Hypnosis Institute located in Sarasota, FL & online at http://www.hypnosis-audio.com & http://www.sugar-addiction.com She is the author of Sugar....the Hidden Eating Disorder & How to Lick It, Beyond Disorderly Eating...The Truth About Sugar, Bingeing & How to Stop, as well as The MindBody Fitness Boot Camp... Lifestyle Change Made Easy. She has also written & produced +350 audio CD's & mp3's. The websites include moderated discussion groups, ezines, library & a host of other educational tools for learning Interactive Self-Hypnosis. Visit the online Boot Camp & work directly with the author. Download a free mp3 each month.