A note from Raff: This session includes a small introduction about the practice of meditation and a MEYA “music mind journey”, guided breathing meditation with music ideal for beginners!
The music is recorded in 432hz and includes binaural beats to facilitate meditative state.
What Did I Miss?
Meditation and the brain are like the ocean; no matter how rough the surface, the deeper levels are always calm. Meditation is what allows us to access that deeper level of our mind. This allows us to find tranquility in our day to day life. It teaches us how to be more present. Being present includes being able to consciously react to a situation, being able to notice when our mind is overtaken by compulsive thinking, and being more aware of our emotions.
Meditation allows us to detach ourselves from our overemotional brains, permitting us to be more stable and make conscious decisions. A common misconception is that meditation is about getting rid of the thought, and thus “stopping the mind.” Rather, the mind has just shifted its focus from our choice to how our body is reacting to the said choices. Meditation focuses on the breath, physical sensation, and emotion of the choice. It often includes a mantra as well to help center in on the observations.
Raff Ricci is the founder of Meya, a meditation app that combines EDM with mindfulness and meditation practices. He expresses the importance of music because it allows you to quiet the mind more easily. He presents an example of meditation to help guide new meditators.
Ricci recommends lying down or sitting up with your back straight. He emphasizes the importance of being comfortable – being uncomfortable will not let you truly relax. Ricci prefers closing his eyes, but if you prefer to keep your eyes open, he recommends focusing on one object in front of you.
During the seminar, Ricci plays a guided meditation video from his app. The dialogue of the practice is reminiscent of yoga as the voice instructs us to breathe deep and release tightness.
Questions & Answers
Q: How do I achieve a more meditative state throughout the day?
A: Actually, one of the practices that I recommend to everyone who wants to start an experience with meditation is to integrate it with one single, mindfulness, moment during the day. There are several exercises that can be done. I’ll give you an example, an exercise to increase your awareness. You can set an intention for the week… to be present every time you do a set activity. For example, every time you go through a door. By having a small moment of full presence [silence].
Q: Is it OK to pray during meditation, or does that take away from the quietness of the experience?
A: Praying and meditation go hand in hand. There are different types of meditation. Sometimes meditation is completely a moment of presence where we can focus on an objective like a breath. But the objective could also be prayer, a request, a sentiment of gratitude. So I always recommend to include in your meditation and intention, “I pray as a feeling of gratitude” or something that you really want… desire and wishes are important, as long as they come from your heart, so I definitely recommend to include in everyone of your meditations, a prayer or an affirmation of gratitude or something that you want but is important that comes from an intention that comes from the heart.
Q: How long should a beginner try to meditate for so it doesn’t feel overwhelming?
A: I know that meditation can be daunting sometimes, and it’s difficult. So I recommend starting with little, even if it is a few minutes a day with a practice, and top it up with a moment of meditation that we naturally achieve during the day. And there are two moments in which we naturally achieve an alpha state, a meditative state. They are just when we are about to wake up in the morning, so in that moment where we are starting to be aware, but our body’s are fully relaxed, or the same state when we are about to fall asleep. So in those two moments, it can be very useful to maybe breathe or put an intention for the day. It’s a natural state of meditation, so you can start using that. It will make the practice, even like a few minutes a day that you can start, less daunting and much more easy to improve over time.
Q: When I’m breathing deeply I sometimes feel as if the air doesn’t reach into my lungs, it stays in my belly. Am I just imagining this?
A: The way we do breathing is very, very important. So I would just keep it, as a simple recommendation, and maybe put your hand on the belly and one on your chest and as long as you start the breathing with the belly it’s okay. As you go forward, you will be able to feel that the breathing is going first on your belly, and then on your chest, and that will be the right way to do it. But as long as it stays in the belly, it is the right way to start and don’t worry too much about thinking if you are doing your right or wrong. Put your hands on the belly, feel it moving. The sensation of the hand on the body can also be an anchor for the meditation, and as long as the breathing starts with the belly, I think it’s the right technique. I would also recommend another little trick that will help your meditative state: make sure that the exhalation is one or two seconds longer than the inhalation. This has a biological effect that I’m not going to explain now but that will help with relaxing the body and the mind even even more quickly.
Q: Sometimes I find that when I I try meditation, it actually increases the thought in my head. Any way to positively counteract that?
A: There is no way to counteract it. The mind, we need to gradually master it by always bringing it back to the attention of the object of the meditation. If the mind naturally wanders, or even if you have the feeling that it wanders even more… Don’t worry. Don’t take it as a challenge to stop the mind. The challenge to observe the mind, and the challenge to remember to go back and observe the mind anytime the mind starts to wander. It’s the intention itself to go back to the present moment, to the center that will make the meditation easier and easier. It’s not about stopping the mind. It’s about observing the mind which will gradually slow down its activity and you will notice that the flow of thought will gradually reduce naturally as long as we intentionally put the effort to go back to the breathing, or to the anchor every time the mind starts to wander.
Q: What time of day would you recommend is best for trying meditation?
A: Excluding those two moments that I said before, which is like a little shortcut about, I would say that, to me, the best moment of meditation is the first thing you do when you wake up. Even if it is five minutes, we tend always to, you know, to enter our routine, maybe check our phones. If you give five minutes on top of the one that you may be doing while you were waking up, I think it is a very good moment. And I would recommend at the end of the day, also as an opportunity to review what happened throughout the day. Maybe do some self observation about noticing the reaction that you had during the day. So morning, evening, during the day; mindfulness exercise. Decide something that you want to be present in, an activity you want to be present in while you’re doing it. I mentioned before going through a door but could be anything that fits your journey. And I also recommend once an hour to take a deep, deep breath and relax in your shoulders. This is also another another form of very short exercise mindfulness, but really can help our level of awareness.
Q: I sometimes feel my heart start to flutter when I start breathing deeply, what does it mean? I don’t have a medical condition.
A: If you do a meditation where, I guess this question relate to the fact of some irritation that increased the intake of oxygen, so I would put that more in the category of breath work, but in like the meditation we just did, obviously, when we do conscious breathing, there is an increased intake of oxygen which can naturally make us feel a little bit dizzy or give us a body sensation that are a bit different. It’s very normal, it’s safe. Obviously if you have a medical condition that you are aware of, you have high blood pressure or other medical conditions, I would recommend checking with your doctor but physical sensations that are not normal are a natural consequence of our increased intake of oxygen. That’s to answer specifically to the question.
Q: How long does it take to master meditation?
A: I love this question. Thank you very much. I don’t think there is a moment where you can actually– I cannot answer personally because I don’t feel I have mastered it. If I interpreted correctly, the meaning of this question is probably: “when do we start to have that feeling that meditation is becoming something that is part of our life?” In that case, I would say that if there is a genuine intention, and we start with a level that is achievable, and we set an objective that we then, like it’s more routine, a few minutes a day in 21 days, I think you have already a sense of something that is already part of your life. To have benefits, to notice how we can detach more day by day, how we can stay more calm, I would say it depends on the intensity and if meditation is also paired with a little bit of mindfulness and a little bit of self work to check what are the conditioning and the emotion blockages that we subconsciously have. In that case, I think… in three to six months, meditation and mindfulness and self work can be really transformational already.
Q: As a beginner should we stick with one type of guided meditation? For example, if we start with a ten minute guided mindfulness session, we continue doing the same session until we have mastery.
A: My advice on that is no. I think that you definitely want to do more the type of meditation and the type of object of meditation, the type of meditative voice that could be the meditation, a type of music orientation, is there any music that works best for you? There are different types of meditations: Transcendental Meditation, love and kindness. As I was mentioning four different types. Work with the one that best works for you. I will recommend to you; If you liked the ten minutes of guided [meditation], experiment with different ones. If you want to try the one that we have on our website, on our app, you will see there are different types that we propose. But with any practice that you want to engage in, I will recommend to try different methodology and then stick to one that resonates more for you and makes you feel better.
Q: Can meditation help with memory?
A: Very, very briefly. Yes. By definition meditation paired with other mindfulness practice can increase presence [and] can raise awareness. When we are more aware, we also increase our memory abilities. Together with a lot of other implications of our body. So definitely, if you have a problem with memory, meditation and mindfulness are definitely recommended.
Q: My mind moves so quickly I get a little frustrated trying to practice Meditation. What advice can you give to try to get to a point of being able to actually do it?
A: The simple intention to go back to the breath (or any other meditation “anchor”) when the mind wanders is normally enough to gradually become able to calm the mind and enjoy more and more extended time of presence in the moment. In fact, realising when we find ourselves back “in the mind” and going back to the breath, are part of the practice. This is because those “ins and outs” are themselves time after time increasing our awareness.
If you find it difficult initially, I recommend trying different types of meditations as the mind can respond differently to a body sensation (like breathing) or a sound sensation like music, to words or mantras or to visualisation. So picking the type of meditation is very important. Personally I find the combination with music is the easiest for a beginner as we are all already used to listening to music and music has the power to bring us into the present moment.
As a tip, I also recommend doing some concentration exercises as an increased ability to concentrate can be very useful especially at the start of the practice. A couple of examples are: look at yourself eye to eye in a mirror for a minute or more every morning (make it a short personal challenge and notice how you improve overtime). Read something more challenging that requires your concentration.
Also, check out the Summary + QA of other Mentors from the Inaugural Virtual Wellness Summit – Powered By Plantie