Healthy Body Guided Meditation

September 6, 2012

Our new podcast meditation is designed to help you visualize a healthy body. Many people have requested this, each with a different angle. Many wanted to visualize a specific goal. While I allowed time at the beginning of the meditation  for people to set a goal, I created a meditation focused on the health of the body as a whole. This is like watering the root of a plant to benefit the whole plant, rather than focusing on any one part.

This Healthy Body Guided Meditation targets the core systems of the body which bring oxygen, nutrition and energy to the cells — the heart, lungs, and digestive systems. Strengthening those supports the health of all of the other parts of the body and can help the body with healing. Simply putting your attention on your body brings energy to it. You can use this meditation to enjoy a sense of well-being and enliven your body.

As with all of my meditations which involve visualization, be easy about the process. You don’t need to follow every word or see everything clearly. You can simply sense something in a vague way. The important thing is not to strain to follow the meditation. Let it unfold in a way that is natural for you. Whatever comes to mind as you try to visualize or sense something is just the right thing for you at that time.

Of course, simply visualizing good health and healing is not enough. For a healthy body, we need a healthy diet, exercise, enough sleep and so on. For healing, it may be necessary to see a health care provider and use appropriate therapies. But visualization can play a big role in moving the body toward health, partly by helping us tune in to our body, listen to its needs and do what is needed to be healthy.

To learn more about visualization, read Dr. Andrew Weil’s article on Guided Imagery – http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/ART00468/Guided-Imagery-Therapy-Dr-Weil.html

For more on my approach to visualization, read this blog post – Intuitive Visualization in Meditation

Celebrating 5 years of our podcast

November 7, 2011

On November 7, 2006 we published our first Meditation Oasis podcast episode. We had no idea that 5 years later, there would be over 8 million downloads and that people all over the world, of all ages and backgrounds, would become listeners. Our podcast meditations have been used in ways and in places we would never have imagined. Everyday we hear from people through emails, Facebook, Twitter, website comments about how they are benefitting from the meditations. At times we are moved to tears — both awed and humbled, knowing that these reports are a testimony to the power of meditation and the tremendous capacity we have as humans to grow.

Our meditations have been used both by people wanting to enrich their experience of life and by people overcoming all sorts of challenges. Counselors and psychotherapists use them for their clients; women have used them in childbirth; they have been used in clinics and human resource departments, recovery programs, hospitals, and by troops in Afghanistan. We hear from people who are grieving or facing medical problems and surgery. Artists and musicians tell us how meditation has helped them create. And we also hear from people who simply say that life is easier, more rich and fulfilling and that they have more inner peace.

Our work has developed and expanded because of what we hear from listeners. Many of the podcast meditations came about because of listeners’ requests. The podcast has been a launching pad for our online meditation course, anxiety relief program, as well as our smartphone applications. Much of Richard’s music has been inspired by the podcast meditations.

This has been an incredibly fulfilling five years, and it’s all because of of our listeners’ openness. Richard and I feel grateful to all of you who have opened your minds and hearts to be on this journey with us.

People are all the same…

August 16, 2011

The Cheers theme song has been playing in my head today ever since meeting a podcast listener while doing my grocery shopping today.

“You wanna go where people know, people are all the same, You wanna go where everybody knows your name.”

When you have an online presence, or people hear your voice on a podcast or CD, they can imagine all sorts of things about you. The person I met today thought of me as a “celebrity”, “movie star of the meditation set”, someone larger than life. I’m sure that that all changed in our meeting! It was the most delightful, funny coming together of two people, and I wanted to share it with you.

I called out hello to Karen who studies hula with me. She said “Mary, do you have a minute? I have someone for you to meet.” I said I had a little minute, but it stretched out to many enjoyable minutes. I was introduced to Carol who has been listening to the podcast for over a year. She immediately held up her hands and said “Mary Maddux, I think of you as way up here, a movie start of meditation!” All three of us were soon laughing as Carol recounted how she had assumed I lived in New York or LA, and was amazed when Karen told her that I live in the same small town with her. Apparently yesterday, Karen spotted me walking on a local bike path and called Carol to say “You want to see Mary Maddux, move quickly — she’s walking on the bike path in pink!” Carol lamented that she was in another town and missed the great opportunity ;-). The whole situation was so heart-warming and fun, we were soon laughing and hugging near the checkout aisles. I suppose for Carol this was an unusual “celebrity sighting”, in which it was revealed that the celebrity was woman much like herself. Hence the “people are all the same” line going in my mind.

It just so happens that tomorrow is our local guided meditation, and they will both join us. It feels like a coming full circle. My journey with teaching meditation and leading guided meditations was an “in-person” on for years. Reaching people through our podcast, CDs and apps has been an amazing and wonderful experience, but sometimes I miss the in-person part. This will be the second podcast listener to join our monthly meditation. At a time when our reach is growing so much that I have to cut back on answering emails, Facebook comments and so on, it’s wonderful to have this personal contact. It’s wonderful to be in a “place where everybody knows your name”.

Whose is the face of Meditation Oasis?

February 14, 2011

When we were looking for an icon for our Meditation Oasis podcast in the fall of 2006, we kept coming back to the face which not only became our icon, but part of our website banner. We found the picture in an image library of software we were using. The expression is so compelling. It captures meditation so perfectly. None of the other images we considered came close to the power of this image.

It’s intriguing to think about how once upon a time a young woman posed for a photo, and the picture ended up in an image library and then became the now familiar face associated with Meditation Oasis. Who is the woman who posed? Who took her picture? What was the intention of the picture? How did it end up in the image library?

Just recently someone on Facebook asked if the woman in the picture is me. When we chose the photo, we realized that some people might think that, but decided it didn’t matter. It was the expression, the feeling of the picture that mattered, not the features of the face. And besides, we have never wanted to put a lot of attention on ourselves as individuals. What we are interested in is an inner experience, a universal human experience. We are also most interested in YOUR experience, in your discovery through meditation.

Whose is the face of Meditation Oasis? The face of Meditation Oasis is all of us. The icon could easily be a picture of any one of us deep in meditation. The picture could easily be you. When we are at peace, it shines through. No matter how we look, when a person is at peace, that is what everyone sees. It’s unmistakable. It’s a gift to everyone around. We are thankful for the gift of this photo that came in such a serendipitous way. It’s been a gift to all of us who feel the peace that comes through the image.

Meditation in a wired world

April 2, 2010

Our podcast has connected us with thousands of people all over the world, and yet none of this would have been possible when I first started meditating. Years ago I couldn’t have imagined that meditation could be shared through technology. I would never have pictured people listening to our meditations on mp3 players and computers, much less on a smart phone. What a blessing!

Our international meditation group is growing, all thanks to this “wired world”. Caroline left a wonderful comment on the website today. I wanted to share it here — I found it fascinating that she started meditation to escape the wired world, only to find meditation through it.

“I started meditation a year or so ago to find some peace from the incessant demands of information-overload in our wired world. When my employer provided us with Smart Phones I saw it as just one more intrusion. Then I discovered your podcasts and your wonderful Simply Being app…When I sit with Mary’s calming voice, all the cares of the day just fade away. THANK YOU!”

Celebrating 3 years of podcasting!

November 7, 2009

Three years ago today our first podcast episode went up on iTunes. And now there have been almost 3 million downloads. We never dreamed that so much would come out of the podcast, for us and our listeners, and we’re celebrating that today. Of all of the things we’ve done over the years with meditation and personal growth, I’d have to say this has been the most rewarding.

We hear from our listeners almost daily, and are often amazed at the profound impact the meditations are having on so many peoples’ lives. It doesn’t get better than this — to know something you’ve done has helped another along the way. And yet we know that the positive changes you experience aren’t really about us. Your openness to meditation, your willingness to grow and change, are what makes this happen. The podcast is a joint effort in every sense of the word. What we hear from you – your experiences, questions, comments, requests – help us learn and grow.

So, please lift a cyber-glass to toast with us today, and thank you for taking this journey with us!

Guided Meditation for Stillness, Stability and Balance

October 9, 2009

In the swirl of activity and the intense demands of life, it’s easy to lose ones center. It can be challenging to maintain a sense of stability and balance. Our latest podcast meditation is designed to help you experience stillness in the midst of busyness, and then to create a stable reference point within that stillness.

The meditation helps focus and steady the mind. I’ve had requests for a morning meditation and as well as a meditation especially for students. This meditation may be good for both purposes.

Tips for this Meditation

  1. This meditation is best done sitting up in order to maintain alertness. It’s not a meditation for falling asleep.
  2. Occasionally my guided meditations suggest some use of visualization. In this meditation, you are guided to locate stillness and then a stable balance point within it. That point then becomes the focus of the meditation. It’s important not to strain to create this point or to work at concentrating on it. Just be very easy about the whole process. If what I suggest comes easily, fine. If not, let it go. It may take several repetitions of this meditation to get the hang of it.

I’d love to hear what you experience with this meditation. All comments and questions are welcome!

Relief from Stress and Pressure Guided Meditation

July 27, 2009

Although many people have reported stress relief from our meditations, we’ve still had requests for a special meditation for stress. This inspired me to create this latest podcast — a meditation that goes further and helps to root out the stress at a deeper level.

Like all the guided meditations I create, I am meditating as I speak. I am literally meditating with you. Since I was feeling a lot of pressure on the day I recorded this meditation, I found myself sinking deeply into my own experience and talking my way through it. I actually felt a lot better after I finished the recording! I hope your experience is the same.

Acting under a sense of pressure doesn’t help us accomplish what we need to do. In fact, the feeling of pressure can interfere. Our energy is actually being dissipated and our attention scattered as we are in an over-stimulated state. In reality, we are able to accomplish a lot more when we are relaxed. Our minds are clearer and all of our energy can go toward the task at hand rather than into pressuring ourselves. And of course, it’s extremely unpleasant to feel pressured.

Relaxation is the antidote to that pressured state. It’s an antidote for stress. It’s so difficult, though, to relax once we’re feeling that kind of pressure. We feel as if we have to meet its demands! We hesitate to take the time to relax. So it’s important understand that taking the time to relax will actually help us accomplish more.

Also, it can be challenging to sit still with that feeling of pressure. It may be accompanied by unpleasant feelings such as anxiety, irritability and so on. Continuing to be focused on a task keeps us from feeling the inner discomfort that is propelling us. To allow deep relaxation to happen, we need to be able to be present to the emotions and bodily sensations associated with the stress and pressure. Being able to sit with those feelings and and sensations and experience them completely helps them to resolve. It allows the tensions to unwind.

Using this meditation regularly should help develop a habit of noticing when a sense of pressure is present and then backing off. The more we respond the the pressure, the more pressured we feel. Our muscles tighten and our emotions escalate in their intensity. This meditation can help you develop new ways of responding to stress, ways which help create more balance and ease.

At the end of the meditation, you have the option of continuing on your own with the music. Be creative — use the various strategies that were used during the meditation in the way that works best for you. Some of the things mentioned were noticing the breath, feeling what the pressure feels like, being fully present to the emotions, noticing tension in the body and letting it go. Let your intuition guide you. You can learn to relieve the stress and pressure using your own inner knowing. You just need to take the time to listen.

Let it Be Guided Meditation

June 26, 2009

Our latest podcast, Let it Be Guided Meditation, is a variation on a theme. It’s the same theme that gave birth to the Simply Being, Effortless, and Letting Go meditations. It’s a theme that can be approached from many angles and given many names, but all of the names can be misleading. All these meditations point you to experience the essence of meditation. The words — effortless, letting go, simply being — are all meant to invoke a state of being that can’t be put into words.

I also use the phrase “let yourself be” in the meditation. That’s pretty easy to relate to. Being someone who tends to be hard on myself, I need to remind myself to let myself be quite a lot! But what is letting IT be?

What does it mean to “let it be”? Are there any words that can really capture what the meditative experience is like? What did those words mean to Paul Mc Cartney when he wrote Let it Be? What does it mean to you?

**** NEW — look for Meditation Oasis on Facebook and Twitter!

Meditating in the London tubes

January 22, 2009

Today Mike MudIsland Mike let me know that he’d blogged about our podcast. The post was so much fun to read that I thought I’d link to it for you to read (read the post). He writes colorfully and with a great sense of humor about listening to the podcasts on his daily London commute.

Everyday I hear from people about their experiences with the podcast. It’s so fulfilling to be connected through meditation with so many people all over the world. I love hearing about the many ways and places people enjoy the meditations. Chances are most people are simply sitting or lying down with eyes closed while listening, but I’ve heard from people listening while exercising, walking, traveling, watching a pond and more ways than I can remember.

I can’t tell you how fulfilling it is for Richard and I to hear from all of you. Sometimes your stories are so heart-warming. Often what you share is so full of wisdom and the enthusiasm of your own inner discoveries. What an adventure this podcast has been! Thank you everyone who is taking this journey with me. And thanks to the techies who have created this incredible thing called the internet and all the software that allows us to meet in this way across the world.

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