Bereavement, breakups, financial problems… Existence is strewn with happiness and… storms. In her beautiful book “Meditating to overcome an ordeal” (First Editions), Céline Tran, psychiatrist, and meditator introduces us to this ancestral technique and gives her advice for adopting mindfulness on a daily basis. Here she reveals three simple exercises to (re)find inner serenity.
Meditation? In her early days, Céline Tran practiced it… backward. After a succession of personal difficulties, she faced the insistence of her father and mother to participate in an internship dedicated to this practice. At first refractory, she lets herself be caught up in the game and sees very quickly “a great tranquility” settle in her. The beginning of a long history because, since then, this psychiatrist and psychotherapist have made meditation a real way of life. A meditator, she regularly leads therapeutic meditation workshops and teaches this thousand-year-old technique to health professionals at university. After co-writing Your best friend, it’s you (L’Iconoclaste), she now publishes Meditate to Overcome a Test (First Editions). She reveals the keys to stop ruminating on the past, anxiously anticipating an unknown future, and thus learning to fully live the present moment. Here she shares three mindfulness meditation exercises, to be performed sitting on a chair, sofa, or on the floor… Of course, turn off your phone and let yourself be surprised!
Exercise 1: Connect to a place of serenity
1. Remember a quiet and reassuring place. It can be a place you have been in and felt soothed, quiet. It is a reassuring place. But you can also imagine this place.
What is your place of serenity?
2. Now close your eyes and settle in this place. In this place, what can you see? A beautiful mountain? A green meadow? The blue sea? What do you feel on your face? The caress of the wind? The heat of the sun? Are there any smells? The smell of greenery? The scent of fruit? Are there any sounds? Birds singing? Music? The lapping of the waves?
3. At the same time as you let yourself rest in this place, become aware of the sensations, the pleasant emotions that emerge in your body.
Exercise 2: Mountain Meditation
1. Sit in a comfortable and quiet place. Get ready to meditate for 15 minutes. Gently close your eyes. Adopt a stable position; the spine is straight but relaxed. Feel the verticality and elevation of your body from the base (your pelvis) to the top (your head). Then, connect for a few minutes to your breathing, and then do a quick body scan.
2. Imagine a beautiful mountain. A real mountain that you have already seen, or a mountain straight out of your imagination.
3. Then imagine the seasons that pass
on this mountain: • In winter, the mountain is all white, covered with snow; streams are frozen, nature is asleep, there is not a single noise.
• In spring, nature wakes up, plants bloom again, birds return to nest in large fir trees, and can be heard singing. The thaw is initiated, and if one listens, one can also hear the murmur of the springs.
• Summer is coming with its bright sun and green pastures; there are hikers who come to discover the mountain.
• Then it’s the turn of autumn and its beautiful shimmering colors, despite its showers and fog; the mountain is preparing to welcome winter for a new cycle.
4. Then imagine the weather that changes according to the seasons: rains, showers, sun, thunderstorms, storms with gusts, embellished with thinning, high heat, frosts. Despite all these climate changes, the mountain remains, immutable and quiet. Soak up its qualities, as if you were a living mountain yourself. You are serene and calm, in an attitude of benevolent acceptance of events, time, seasons.
Exercise 3: Calm and quiet as a lake
1. Lie down in a comfortable and quiet place. Get ready to meditate for 15 minutes. Close your eyes gently. Start by connecting for a few minutes to your breathing, then do a quick body scan.
2. Imagine a beautiful lake. This lake can be imaginary or be a lake that you have already seen and that has inspired you. Be aware of the calm beneath the surface of the lake, regardless of the seasons or the weather on the surface.
3. Be aware of your emotions, your thoughts. Can you just think of them as simple waves that undulate on the surface of the lake, without affecting it in depth?