mindfulness, Review, Spirituality

Guided Meditation with Ariana August

Last week I found myself in a free guidance and meditation session with Ariana August. The impact of the session was too good to not share with my readers.

I met Ariana several months ago on Facebook, through one of my spiritual communities (Facebook groups). On Facebook she describes herself as a mystic, which is probably the fastest way of suggesting she does a number of things or has a number of mystical abilities, such as psychic ability and the ability to work with energy.

At the time of meeting, I was looking into Ariana’s past life regression sessions as it was something we had been discussing in the group. At least one of my shocking experiences in the ReWilding for Women workshop had left me deeply curious about past lives. Issues with both my laptop and computer meant that I had to put that idea on the back-burner for now, but we’ve remained in each other’s networks and I’ve been watching Ariana’s businesses develop and expand rapidly over the last few months.

It almost seems like Ariana is always working. You can’t help but notice that as well doing paid work, when she has the time there’s also a number of things she offers to her followers absolutely free, like card readings and on the spot distance energy clearings. I found myself joining her new private group Divine Counterpart Guidance, where she shares free guidance and the insights she receives from Spirit on the subject daily.

ariana
Ariana August (image from Facebook)

Divine Counterpart Guidance is essentially Twin Flame guidance, but Ariana has stated that she has been instructed by Spirit to no longer use the term ‘Twin Flame’. I’m not generally a fan of Twin Flame concepts circulating the internet, but her decision to use a different term caught my eye.

The term Divine Counterparts is a lot less offensive to me, as I’m not immediately reminded of all the negativity I associate with Twin Flames. And I believe I truly do have a masculine counterpart. Whether you are man, woman or non-binary, the energy inside of us is both masculine and feminine.

My masculine counterpart is the masculine part of me. He is me! I have been referring to this ‘masculine counterpart’ for a while and can rely on my masculine and feminine energies for different things – different strengths, different weaknesses.  

Whereas I’m not sure that my soul was split between two humans, I am sure of a masculine energy or counterpart and he is, I suppose you could say, the twin of my feminine essence. I am able to differentiate between the two energies and in more recent times it’s been comforting to understand this wholeness within me on a new, deeper level.

One evening, I was in agony

I’m a Nutritional Therapist and I have my own personalised healthy diet plan, suitable for my personal health needs. My meat intake is massively reduced. My fruit and vegetable intake is higher than the 5 a day recommendation.

I joyfully experience a total lack of nagging negative symptoms when I follow the plan. However, there’s been a bit of deviation from that plan recently, with a fair amount of unhealthy food or rather, foods that might otherwise be healthy, but aren’t suitable for me.

I chose to eat a delicious beef steak, when I usually wouldn’t allow myself to do so and the contents of the entire meal had an almost immediate negative reaction on my body.

I was in so much agony so soon after finishing my meal that I’m now concerned of an underlying health issue I wasn’t aware of before. This pain was bad enough that I soon went to bed. Standing and sitting was unbearable. I had hoped I would be able to meditate, but after several attempts I gave up as the pain was so great I found myself unable to relax into it.

I laid face down in bed, with a pillow under my stomach, trying to alleviate the pain through pressure. Mindfulness techniques enabled me to alleviate the stress and frustration about experiencing the pain, but I couldn’t relieve the pain. I realised I wasn’t going to be getting any sleep while I felt so terrible.

Eventually I picked up my phone and began scrolling through Facebook. That’s when I realised that for the first time since meeting Ariana online, I was actually able to catch one of her live broadcasts. I usually end up watching them hours later. I joined the live broadcast, then dropped my phone and pressed my face against the mattress, listening intently.

Divine Guidance and The Meditation

I may not have been able to meditate when I tried alone, but turning my attention to Ariana talking was easy. Soon enough, the pain became background noise.

After a short introduction, the meditation began. I followed instructions to take deep breaths and continued listening.

I’m not in a relationship, not dating and I haven’t met anybody in the physical that I believe is my Divine Counterpart. However, I don’t particularly have to desire or believe in a Twin Flame to have found the guidance relevant in it’s own way. Like a lot of people who are even vaguely interested in romantic relationships, I would rather meet ‘The One’ (or one of the ones). If I am to be in a relationship again, let it be with the perfect, right partner for me.

I feel there were certain parts of the guidance that would fit any relationship and friendship. For example, there were suggestions that you shouldn’t be afraid to be yourself in front of your counterpart out of fear he wont love you. I felt no good friendship of mine was built by pretending to be somebody I’m not, and I can’t imagine anyone’s romantic relationships  surviving very long if, after the initial stages of getting to know each other, you have not relaxed into being yourself.

I don’t remember why but when I was a child I was asked to pick my favourite quote from a list of quotes and I chose Shakespeare’s “to thine own self be true”. It continued to be a mantra of mine all this time and I would say it’s something I was often doing rather well in terms of being true to my thoughts, feelings and beliefs, except at times when anxiety prevents me from being the April I would be without it.

However, the last five years of much deeper introspection, diving deeper again into spirituality and becoming a mindfulness practitioner has brought a whole new meaning to the word ‘self’. I don’t particularly always want to be true to my senseless anxieties when I feel them, I want to be true to the self underneath those emotions.

“I don’t want to be at the mercy of my emotions. I want to use them, to enjoy them, and to dominate them.”

~ Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

The meditation and guidance progressed for about twenty minutes in total. It was around halfway through when I noticed the stomach pain finally easing off and how incredibly relaxed I felt. I realised that whereas I’d been wide awake and was sure to be awake for much of the night 15 minutes earlier, I was now most certainly teetering on the edge of sleep.

“I feel like one of you has a question.” Ariana said suddenly during the meditation.

I breathed a muffled laugh into my mattress. I did have a question, but I couldn’t get myself up to type on my phone and now I don’t remember what it was that had crossed my mind.

I actually usually have trouble following a guided meditation of around twenty minutes, especially late at night, when I suddenly find myself tired. Yet I made it all the way through the meditation, which included practices to clear, destroy or dissolve blocks in my energy or on my path.

I felt really good. Too good, actually, to stop to write a message to Ariana at the time to thank her and let her know I was actually present. The second the live stream ended, I fell straight to sleep and woke up in the morning to find my phone still open on the Facebook page.

I felt it was important to share my experience with Ariana’s guided meditation, because it sheds light on a few things. The first, is the power of meditation. It has been scientifically proven to relieve stress, reduce pain and help you sleep. This evening in particular, I achieved all three benefits.

The second thing to note is, if you fail at your attempts of meditation through pain in silence or with music, it might be worth seeking out an engaging guided meditation to listen to. In this instance I think it was focusing on what Ariana had to say and really listening that helped me to maintain my focus on the practice, instead of being distracted by the pain.

Finally, for all my frequent disregard of Twin Flame talk because of the potential negative impacts of such a  belief, there is a lot of guidance for Twin Flames that could generally be suitable for absolutely anybody in any relationship or anybody seeking one. At least, in this case, I felt the guidance was good and could only hope it would help prevent all listeners from suffering the negative consequences of Twin Flame belief.

guided-meditation-with-ariana-august

The Twin Flame belief is at risk of making people feel incomplete without their special someone, but some of the guidance is geared towards reminding you that you are complete on your own. That’s something everybody needs to know, but perhaps someone who believes they are a Twin Flame especially needs to know it.

At worst, I’ve seen Twin Flame belief leave people emotionally attached to relationships that have ended or ones that never even began in the first place. They explain their lost love as a ‘runner’ and sometimes, almost disturbingly, themselves as the ‘chaser’. It often looks like unhealthy obsession, preventing a person from moving on properly from a closed chapter of their life.

I’m going to have to agree with popular dating and relationship coach Matthew Hussey on the subject of ‘runners’. If someone has left you, or doesn’t want to date you, they are not the one for you!

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mental health, mindfulness, Spirituality

How Do I Achieve Spiritual Growth?

I wasn’t going to write another post until January. But we seem to be having a spiritual emergency. Some online spiritual communities seem to be in a crisis. You’ll realise this as soon as you’re added to the “wrong” group on social media.

Where do we find our spirituality? Where do we find out who and what we are? Where do we discover and achieve true spiritual growth?

ancient-meditation-architecture-234541

Is spiritual growth found in collecting crystals, or playing with tarot and oracle cards?

Is it found in rearranging our wardrobe and beginning to dress a certain way?

Is it found in decorating our home and ourselves a certain way? Hanging dream catchers from the walls?

Is it found in becoming a vegan, or switching our diet to what we feel is the healthiest and most environmentally friendly?

Is it found in burning sage?

Is it found in attaching ourselves to stories?

Is it found in convincing ourselves we are starseeds, indigo and crystal children? Is it found in letting the ego tell stories about ourselves and how extraordinary we are?

Or Twin Flames? Do we succeed in becoming enlightened through an egocentric, obsessive attachment to another?

Is it found in the belief we are light-workers and empaths, or witches and trying act on those beliefs?

Is it found in dreams?

Is it found in ouija boards?

Is it found talking to ghosts?

Is it found in wearing religious symbols or placing them around the home?

Is going to church or spiritual groups enough?

Is it found in psychic visions, pictures we see in the mind and attempts at astral travel? Is it found in the vivid imagination, conjuring up stories and movies?

Is it found in the labels we attach to ourselves that sound spiritual and mystical in origin?

Is it found in practices and lifestyle changes supported by spiritual communities, the trends you’ve all heard of, because these are the things spiritual people do?

Is it found listening to certain kinds of music?

Is it found through sharing philosophical quotes by Rumi or Buddha on social media?

Is it found reading a good book?

Is it found by expressing yourself a certain way, like by choosing to end all conversations with “love and light”?

Is it found in the ego, filling up the emptiness or pain inside of yourself with stuff and labels and stories and more stuff until you are suitably smothered by all the ideas you have that you think make you a spiritual, enlightened, extraordinary and special being?

Are outwardly actions and expressions, and labels and stories and attachments a catalyst for growth, or are these the very things standing in the way of yourself?

Who are you, really?

Sincerely,

Your Self.

mindfulness

How Do I Meditate? | Meditation for Beginners

Meditation is easy!

There are some common misconceptions about meditation. These include what it involves and what makes a meditation successful. I’m here to tell you now that the only way to be unsuccessful with meditation is to never try it or to give up on it as a practice.

Meditation is a proven successful method of reducing and managing stress and anxiety. It is a simple practice, often used for grounding the self in the present moment.

In our busy modern lives, we are usually inundated with tasks and our minds are always racing from one thing to the next. You could think of finding time for meditation as a chance to recharge your brains batteries between tasks, like charging your mobile phone when it’s starting to run low. It’s a much-needed break for the mind and everyone can benefit from it.

Meditation can be a great start to the morning, kicking you off with calm and clarity for the day ahead. It can be done at night before bed and is proven to help people relax into sleep. Even children can learn and benefit from the practice of meditation.

 

If you want to conquer the anxiety of life, live in the moment, live in the breath.

~ Amit Ray

Meditation isn’t just for spiritual and religious people. It’s not just for psychics and people trying to practice magic. It doesn’t necessarily involve going into trances and having visions, though for some people, this might be what happens.

Some people go into meditation with a specific purpose other than grounding themselves or to try to help them sleep. They may go into meditation with the intention of healing themselves, energetically, or to connect to spirit guides. These sorts of practices are obviously unsuitable for those who do not believe in Spirit, or the power of energy healing, but what is suitable for everyone is basic meditation practices, scientifically proven to be good for mental health.

In this article, I would like to focus on basic meditation techniques and mindfulness for the beginner interested in using meditation for relieving stress and grounding yourself in the present moment.

How do I Meditate - Meditation-for-Beginners

Step 1 (Set a timer for five minutes):

As a beginner, you want to start by finding somewhere quiet to practice where you will not be distracted. It usually helps to be sitting down comfortably in a chair, or on the floor, keeping your spine straight, with your hands on your lap or knees and your chin tilted slightly towards your chest.

Meditation can be done standing or lying down too, but as it can be extremely relaxing, you might find yourself falling asleep when led down. If you don’t want to fall asleep when you’re lying down, it is always helpful to have a timer set. I personally use a free meditation app on my phone called Insight Timer.

The main thing is to ensure you are comfortable, as you will be maintaining this position for five minutes.

When you are more skilled at meditation, you will likely find you are able to go into meditative states even when there are distractions around.

Step 2 (Focus on your breath):

Now that you are comfortable, you are to begin by focusing on your breath. Breathe in and out through your nose, and notice the sensations. Is the breath cooler coming in or out?

You might want to focus on the rise and fall of your chest or belly, but do not try to change your breath. Just let it be, as it is.

You are just going to focus on your breath to begin with. It may help to visualise the word “inhale” with each breath in, and on each breath out begin to count up, from “one”, all the way up to “nine”.

If your mind wanders off and becomes lost in thought, don’t despair! Just notice, without judgement, what has happened and bring your attention back to your breath. Keep counting on each breath out, all the way up to the number 9.

You should now already be in a much calmer state of mind.

Step 3 (Relax):

Continuing to breathe in and out, bring your awareness to your body. How does it feel? Are you holding tension anywhere?

Tell yourself “relax” and breathe into the area you are holding tension. Allow yourself to let go.

When you feel your body is relaxed, you can bring your attention back to your breath and once again count all the way up to “nine” on each breath out. You can keep repeating this process, but read on to find out how to deal with thoughts and feelings that arise during your meditation.

balance beach boulder close up
Photo by Danne on Pexels.com

Observe your thoughts:

It’s natural for the mind to wander, even during meditation. With practice you may find it wanders less and less often, but whenever it does, notice the thoughts and watch them, as an observer. Do not follow the thoughts. Just let them pass you by.

To not follow them means to not get carried away with the stories and ideas the mind is presenting to you. Notice them. Observe them without judgement and let them go, returning your awareness to your breath.

You are not your thoughts. You are the watcher. You are the listener.

My favourite analogy is to compare thoughts to traffic. You are the watcher, sat on the side of the road as the cars, motorcycles and trucks (i.e. your thoughts) continue to drive by.

Observe your feelings:

During meditation, some emotions may arise. Notice these feelings. Perhaps you can identify them. For example, you might feel happy or sad. Don’t argue with your feelings or try to change them. Just observe the feeling and let it be.

Just as you are not your thoughts, you are not your feelings. You are the watcher. You are the one that notices the changing tides of your emotions.

Understand that everything is just as it should be in this moment. You are exactly as you should be. Sit with your emotions without judgement, over-analysing or attaching stories to them and continue to focus on your breath.

Notice if anything changes. Feelings are transient and it’s possible they will change even during the meditation.

Observe your body:

Notice bodily sensations. Your tummy may rumble. You may suddenly feel urges to scratch an itch. You may feel tension coming back or feel your body relaxing as you bring your awareness to the tension and breathe into it. Resist the urge to change anything and simply be, as you are, aware of what is going on in your body and mind and aware of your breath coming in and out.

Notice the space:

Space is the gap between thoughts that you may feel you rarely or have never experienced if you have quite a busy mind. You can begin to learn to notice it by noticing the space between each breath – that moment between each inhale and exhale.

As you learn to observe your thoughts as a watcher, you begin to find space. Notice the space between each thought. Notice these quiet moments, where you are not thinking at all. Notice when the space gets longer or shorter.

Notice how you feel in this space.

Don’t give up:

If you’ve follow my guidance, soon you will have successfully practised meditation for five minutes, without worrying that you’ve had “too many thoughts” or that you’ve somehow done something wrong because you didn’t go into a trance. Hopefully, you find it relaxing and perhaps even enlightening in some way. Maybe you will quickly see the benefit of taking the time to meditate.

The trick to getting the full benefits of meditation is to never give up on it. Continue to practice every day, perhaps several times a day, and/or for longer periods if you feel able to. The more you practise, the easier it is and the more likely you will see positive changes in your health.