Modern living has an incredible effect on our mentality. Constant real-time information relayed 24/7 through a multitude of channels has us skimming the surface of social and world events. Social media platforms and gaming that offer instant acknowledgement and gratification have the neuro-scientists confirming their addictive qualities. And the gadgets through which this constant stream is entering our systems mess with our pineal gland and natural sleep/waking patterns.

Western medicine’s approach to immediate alleviation of symptomatic discomfort has us popping pills to keep going rather than listening to our body’s cues for nourishment, rest and restoration. Modern living has many of us holding onto the pace of life by our fingernails, and worse still seeking instant and easy results so as not to slow things down. Many of us live disconnected to the cycles, seasons and medicines of nature. We can be so caught up in the race itself, that we lose the thrill of the experience; the magic of the journey; the enjoyment of our ability and strengths. (Phew…just writing that made me feel pooped!). The constant pressures to survive and succeed in life have us engaged in a linear, goal-oriented mind-set that creates a dissipation to the present moment, the journey and the process and that requires quick fixes to keep up. We have a magic-pill-mentality.

Ironically, this fast-paced, sensory-overloaded, materialistic focus, and its resultant impact on our health and wellbeing is what is bringing so many people to meditation and inner practice. However, the magic-pill-mentality is possibly the main reason why so many peoples’ attempts are hijacked.

I see the magic-pill-mentality is various guises in my meditation classes and private sessions and it’s the first thing that has to be addressed if the student is to adopt the natural organic art of meditation into their lives. I am often asked if it’s possible to ‘fast-track’ the mastery of meditation. I even had one very focussed senior executive who engaged me for private coaching, offer me a bonus if I could achieve this for him. Coming from a corporate background myself, I totally recognised the mindset, but it did make me giggle.

I was once engaged for a private session with a mother and daughter to teach some basic meditation practices to help with the girl’s anxiety issues. Weeks later the mum commented to me that the session ‘didn’t work’. They hadn’t meditated once since I saw them.

On occasion I see keen seekers wanting to enter the world of meditation teaching and healing. Some frequent many courses and workshops and allow little time for integration or personal practice. They’re seeking the vernacular and concepts and the appearance of being deeply spiritual. They become mimics, rather than teachers who are instructing from a genuine place of knowledge, and then can’t understand why their classes don’t take-off.

Motivation and mindset in meditation are just as important as practicing the meditation techniques.

There’s a huge difference between determination to commit to the art and the practice, and ambition to achieve results. Determination is essential to mastering the art and to experiencing the amazing life-affirming changes it creates. Ambition is attached to perceived outcomes and usually flags either a misunderstanding of what meditation actually is, or an ulterior motivation to engaging with the practice in the first place.

Thanks to renewed interest in the area of meditation, there are now plenty of studies that prove the dazzling results that regular practice yields, initially on our physiology and then our experience of self and life. Brain structure and brain wave patterning alter, body-chemistry, cardio-rhythm, blood pressure and the central nervous system regain balance. However, like any re-training in any system, it requires a daily approach. It’s a bit like training for fitness. One massive effort at the gym may feel good, but it doesn’t create lasting changes to form and fitness. Only daily exercise does.

It’s the same with meditation. At first it requires effort, a push towards establishing the practice and mastering technique, and thankfully that process is a quick one, as the system starts to recognise the movement inwards and neural pathways form to create ‘the habit’ of meditation. A dedicated minimum of ten minutes a day will yield these shifts in a relatively short amount of time. What I find exquisite, is that the physiological changes that regular meditation allows, all enable deeper and more profound experiences of meditation. We are designed to do it, and here-in lies the perspective that works with meditation.

Meditation is engaging in a natural process within our organic physical and energetic system. It brings connection with and balance to our patterns and cycles because it creates inner space and stillness and when we dwell in this state, regularly, our systems naturally reach for harmony. Meditation connects us to our vibratory energetic self and it is here that we sense broader fields of energy and information. Forcing our way through meditation sits on the hunt for the illusive inner peace, is a bit like playing a basketball game with all our attention on the scoreboard, it yields nothing as we miss the game. However, when we turn our attention to the love of the game, the movement and energy, the scoreboard looks after itself.

But the deeper game of meditation is the understanding that arises of ourselves and also the ability to choose new directions and perspectives of self and life.

Regular practice creates a mindful default state, a shift from reactive to responsive engagement with life. When that pause-point between the external trigger or situation and the internal reaction establishes, we respond with discernment and most importantly choice. We have the inner space to start to recognise patterned behaviours and the underlying beliefs or perspectives that are holding these patterns in place. For most people I support, this very often revolves around long-held belief patterns from childhood regarding self-worth. It manifests in repeated sabotaging of relationships, forgoing wonderful opportunities, health issues, especially in the gut, comparisons and jealousies.

Once we can see the repeated experiences and reactions and we have the inner space to respond, we can lay down our weapons of reactive attack and blame and ask ourselves authentically, what is it that I am holding that’s making me react this way? Do I continue to hold this, or do I choose a different perspective? It always comes down to a choice. This is the ultimate blessing of our free-will.

The magic-pill-mentality is often at play in healing sessions too. The flow of vital life-force that an adept healer is able to allow through to their client has definite effects physically, emotionally and energetically.

In my sessions I have witnessed alleviation from muscle spasm, painful nerve damage, side-effects of cancer treatment, insomnia and lost libido, as well as release of long-held trauma and anger through spontaneous emotional outpouring, just to name a few. It’s a palpable energy flow, experienced most often as heat, tingling or a swooshing feeling through limbs, hands and feet and sometimes the client’s body will quiver and shake with the high resonance energy coming through. It also facilitates an easy shift into a deep meditative state. And these physical sensations and especially alleviation from pain has appeal to the magic-pill-mentality. However, in holistic spiritual healing, all physical dissonance, pain, illness has an underlying energetic cause. The sessions provide relief and on occasion a permanent spontaneous healing, usually when the client has already been doing a lot of inner work. But the greatest outcome is the understanding that the physical symptoms are not a fixed reality, and then the real work can begin. It’s the change in perspective, a window of reprieve and the ongoing inner practice that generates fully embodied healing. It is the revelation that comes through in the session which is the most helpful element, and then the client’s determination to put that revelation into action.

Meditation and inner practices like energetic healing are ways to navigate our inner-terrain and to come to know and love that landscape. They enable us to work with our innate spiritual design. They are not the end game and they are not magic pills. They are keys to acknowledging that we are far more that what our modern world dictates and when we come into this realisation, we enter into the beauty and mystery of Self and Spirit, and it is then that we heal.

One of my favourite writers about this very thing is Bob Sharpels. From his book Meditation: Calming the Mind, he writes it in a nutshell:

Don’t meditate to fix yourself, to heal yourself, to improve yourself, to redeem yourself; rather, do it as an act of love, of deep warm friendship to yourself. In this way there is no longer any need for the subtle aggression of self-improvement, for the endless guilt of not doing enough. It offers the possibility of an end to the ceaseless round of trying so hard that wraps so many people’s lives in a knot. Instead there is now meditation as an act of love.

If you would like to learn more about approaches to meditation and energetic healing, contact Dani at [email protected]

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  • Danielle Van de Velde

    Meditation Teacher and Spiritual Guide

    Dani Van de Velde is the founder and principal teacher of The Meditation Teacher in Singapore. She is a qualified meditation teacher with over twenty years of personal practice and over ten years teaching experience. She is also a Usui reiki Master and Healer. Dani helps others understand and master the art of meditation and inner practice through private coaching and courses and tailored programs for schools and organisations. She is also a popular speaker at networking forums and workshops, a writer and holds regular spiritual guidance and healing sessions and retreats in Asia, US and Australia. Dani is a member of the Meditation Association of Australia and the International Meditation Teachers Association, recognising the standard of her teaching and program development. Dani’s teaching is experiential. She draws from techniques and wisdom of numerous world traditions, current research into neurology and cellular biology, and her own experience. Her focus is on enabling others to understand and work with the design and function of their mind/body/energy system, and engage in transformative inner practice for self-healing and intuitive living.