Like most readers, you probably use a good book as a means to escape the pressure of your life. It’s the perfect way to unwind, relax and lose yourself in imaginary lands where the challenges of day-to-day life don’t exist.
Heather Murdoch, from White Feather Reiki, joins Book and Brew today to talk about the healing power of reading – and offers us a brilliant reading meditation to help you relax and reconnect.
So, take a deep breath, exhale and enjoy…
It’s Friday night on what has been a wonderfully exciting week; juggling my roles of running my own holistic business, being a marketing assistant, friend and daughter.
While everyone else is getting dressed up and excitedly making plans for a night out – Instagraming their evening’s adventures and creating SnapChat stories – I’m getting into my PJs, curling up on the sofa and opening a book. The book is newly bought and has that beautiful fresh book smell. I switch off my phone and breathe in the smell of the paper, losing myself in tales of far off lands and adventures.
Connecting to us
We all lead busy lives, juggling our various roles, engaging with people around the world on social media. The downside to all this connection is that we can easily lose the connection to us. When that internal connection is lost our minds get too full. We start listening to other people’s voices instead of our own and our emotions, ideas and thoughts get put to one side.
That often leads to us feeling disconnected, angry, frustrated or even being unable to sleep or to make a decision? Finding a way back to connect in with yourself, to switch the ‘mind chatter’ off so that you can create a space for peace and happiness inside of you, can really help you to feel happier, relaxed and more confident.
Holding the space
One of the ways I have found to connect back in with myself is through meditation. Meditation is the art of training your mind away from being full of noise and chatter to help give you space so that you can choose to hold peace and happiness within. When you are able to hold that space within yourself you are able to choose your reactions to people, situations and emotions.
Studies have shown that regularly practising meditation can have various health benefits, from reducing depression, anxiety and blood pressure to soothing pain.
Regularly reading has been proven to have similar healing properties. Reading as part of a bedtime ritual can help you to have a better night’s sleep, while stimulating your brain through reading can help you to prevent Alzheimer’s and dementia.
A reading meditation
Here is a meditation to help you to combine your love of books with the health benefits of reading and meditation.
I recommend choosing a book that is gentle and uplifting. This meditation is best done as part of a nightly routine to help you relax and unwind before bed:
- Lay down in a quiet, safe space where you won’t be disturbed.
- Place one hand on the upper part of your chest and the other rests just beneath your ribs.
- Take your focus to your breath; breathe in a relaxed way, feeling the air moving through your nose, pause and breathe out.
- Focus on the hand just below your ribs, on your next breath in gently focus on breathing in through your abdomen. The hand on the upper part of your chest remains still and your other hand moves up, as you release your breath this hand moves down. Focus on your breathing like this for a few minutes.
- Connect in with your body, where do you hold your stress and tension? As you breathe in gently imagine that with each breath you are sending love and light to that area and as you breathe out that the stress is leaving your body.
- After a few minutes, when you feel ready, pick up your book and start to read. At the end of each chapter, place your hand just below your ribcage. Take a moment to connect in with your breath and send loving, peaceful thoughts with each breath to your body through your hand.
- When you have finished reading and are ready to go to sleep or move on with your day, place your book to one side, gently close your eyes and connect in with your breath. Imagine that there are tree roots growing down from your feet into the earth. Feel the energy from the earth drawing up through those roots connecting you and grounding you to the earth’s energy.
- If you are doing the meditation during the day and need to get up and do tasks, once you feel yourself grounded to the earth, take a few moments focusing on feeling the chair beneath you, focus your gaze on a solid object in front of you and drink a glass of water before moving onto the tasks on your to do list.
I’m relaxed just reading this.
Let me know if you try Heather’s reading meditation and if it helped you to reconnect with yourself.