A Foray into Mindfullness and Meditation

Ever fancied trying some meditation or learning about mindfullness? Well that’s just what I’ve been doing. You may well ask what this has got to do with colour or form, quite a lot in fact.

path

I will not attempt to describe all the techniques I’ve been learning, far from it, as there are experts who will do just that. I wanted to tell you about three things which really stood out for me which I thought may interest you too, who knows?

1. If you suffer from a lot of ‘chatter’ whirring around in your head when you are attempting to get to sleep, Tara Brach‘s  book, True Refuge, has a brilliant technique to quieten your mind. She asks you to visualise outer space. Most of us will think of a vast and empty place especially compared to our own more solid world. However, she points out “the atoms that make up our own bodies are actually 99.9% empty space and the distance between atoms, and the space within atoms, compared with their mass makes us as spacious internally as the universe we live in” Now visualise the space behind your eyeballs or the space between your ears while thinking about all this space between your atoms. My head which had previously felt ready to explode with a massive ‘to do’ list, suddenly feels quite empty. Voila! Please try it, it really works.

2. Mindfullness and remembering to live in the moment. This isn’t a new concept or even a difficult one and I think most of us are good at this while on holiday but tend to get caught in the rat race as soon as we get home. It’s not difficult to live in the moment while standing in one of the most beautiful landscapes on the planet. These snaps were taken (without any filters or photoshopping) last summer while on holiday in the Plitvicka National Park in Northern Croatia. A stunning natural wonder where I would defy anyone not to live in the moment.

Plitvicka lakes

So, remembering to notice, absorb and appreciate things around me even in a seemingly ordinary normal environment, these pictures were taken looking out of my kitchen window at breakfast time – not one of my best times of day (!) and a time when we are all flying around with tight schedules. However, it was certainly worth pressing ‘pause’ and looking at the sky in Edinburgh last week (again no filters or photoshopping)

Edinburgh sky

3. Visualisation during meditation. My meditation teacher gave our group many different techniques to help ‘let go’ but the most successful method for me, surprise surprise,  involved colour. She told us to imagine our bodies were a transparent glass statue, completely empty inside. She then said ‘scan’ the body with your mind exploring from the head to toes all while visualising it as an empty glass statue. Then she told us to imagine a coloured mist entering our bodies which would gradually fill the empty glass space with colour. The mist would reach and fill all parts from the finger tips to the back of the legs and around the skull. At this point I had a very clear mental picture, and colour (aqua in my case), flooding through my body. After a while we were to imagine the coloured mist sink down through our body as if it were getting heavier and it would flow down our legs (taking with it any negative thoughts) and out the soles of our feet leaving behind our empty glass vessel again. It cleanses your mind. Really.

Ok, so at this point, I might be loosing some of you and you may well be thinking, oh dear, poor niki, she has lost the plot, but fear not! I was a sceptical as anyone else and having been brought up in a purely scientific world which needed proof and results, I didn’t hold high hopes of benefiting from any of this but I was curious and willing (which is all it takes).

So having finished the course and finished Tara Brach’s brilliant book, I admitt I have benefited in several ways. Apart from meeting some highly interesting people on the course, it has unleashed a torrent of new designs – oddly enough, very different from my previous work, so much so, I may well set up a new range with it. The new textiles are not printed yet but I look forward to showing you them soon – they are watercolour and pastel designs which I plan to print onto a fairly heavy 519 gsm linen.

One last thing I really liked from Tara’s book. A group of students were shown a photo, something like this,

gull

and were asked what they saw. Of course they said ‘a bird’ but the spiritualist leader said, ‘sky’ . A  great example of keeping an open mind and looking past the obvious. I liked that a lot.

If you do try any of these techniques, I would love to know how you get on. Training your brain to use slightly different neurological pathways can be pretty interesting.

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16 thoughts on “A Foray into Mindfullness and Meditation

  1. This sounds like a course I need to take! I have had a grand total of 3 hour’s sleep due to body tension and mind chatter (jet lag too!). Thanks for the tips to try; I will look out Tara’s book. But even looking at your gorgeous – and I really mean that – images is a really tonic. Pinned this to my Read This board :-)

    • Well you’ve got so much on just now, I’m not surprised your head is full! I know it’s all great stuff but even you need time to switch off now and again…I know you and your matcha tea, you are probably sipping as we ‘speak’ to keep the peepers open!

  2. Hi Niki! Oh, I do like your posts!! You write so well, and help us to look outside our normal day to day lives…..thank you!Just off out for a wee run with the dog, shall look past the mud and puddles and see what I see today! How are you all? I have not been in touch since we got back from NZ….We had an amazing holiday….so lovely to spend time with David, Mags and Hannah….and to be back in beautiful NZ again! How is Irene?? Hope all OK there? Fiona xx

  3. Interesting reading Niki, I definitely have trouble getting to sleep because of to many things in my head so I will give it a go, and what fabulous photos really beautiful colours. Also I can’t believe that we have done blog posts on the same day when we have both been a bit remiss of late!! xx

  4. I could feel myself getting into it through your descriptions, Niki, I can certainly see the benefits. Definitely sounds like an enlightening class. Will look forward to seeing your new fabric as well!

  5. Hi Niki – it sounds like it was a great course. I don’t have much experience with straight mindfulness of that type (I like the empty glass body filling with colored mist one!) but I did actually live in a Zen Buddhist monastery for 5 years. Lots of meditation there! And definitely it enhances artistic receptivity and expression. Probably in many ways. You write so well – I look forward to the new designs!

    • You have an excellent knack of saying just the right thing at just the right time, thank you.

      What an interesting life you have led, no wonder your photographs are so fascinating. In fact, im off to check your post right now.

  6. Pingback: Local Weather | whatsmindfulness

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