When was the last time you saw the sunrise? With much of the world bracing itself for another lockdown and the uncertainty we are living with, stress and anxieties have been running high this year.
Meditation may be a solution to managing your mental health this summer. Making Meditation Mainstream, or MMM as it is affectionately known encompasses all the positives that come with Meditation, being a connection to one’s self, mindfulness, and a sense of calm and contentment, in an accessible way.
Founded by Northern Beaches local Jason Partington, MMM hosts free weekly meditation sessions on 13 beaches around Australia, including Bondi Beach. Jason started the movement when his community was devastated by 33 suicides in 2018. His mission is to use meditation to support those in his community by encouraging and leading people to connect with self, with nature, and with each other.
In fact, research has shown the benefits of meditation against an array of conditions including depression and anxiety. An interesting study discovered that people who meditated for 30 minutes each day for a period of eight weeks increased the volume of grey matter in their hippocampus, with other research showing that people who suffer from recurrent depression tend to have a smaller hippocampus.
With this in mind, the northern beaches community came together to find a solution and MMM was born. You can read more about MMM here.
Sessions are run on Saturday mornings at 6:30 am at Bondi and 12 other beaches and are open to everyone. Bondi Beach has four beach crew leaders who can be identified by their black shirts featuring the MMM logo.
Physical distancing is in place of course, with participants and leaders alike gathering around the black and white MMM kite banner around 6:15 at the South Bondi ramp.
By 6:25 a welcome circle is formed where new-comers are introduced, the theme for the day is announced and the meditation sequence explained. The meditation is led by the breath and a body scan is encouraged.
Once the group is comfortably seated on the sand a leader raises their hand, welcoming the meditators to take 3 deep breaths before closing their eyes and sitting for 20 minutes together in silence, appreciation and gratitude, to meet the rise of the sun and the beginning of a new day.
Bondi Beach Crew Leader, Shira Linker says “Through the practice of meditating you learn to be more mindful. You learn to have a deeper conscious awareness, which is a bit of a superpower. Day to day we can be activated by different emotions and situations. Meditation kind of allows us to drop into the present moment and into our body so that we can remain as grounded as possible through the different waves that can come over us at any given day.”
Whilst thoughts naturally arise, drawing your attention to the breath allows them to come and go without judgment. Participants are brought back to awareness as the beach crew leader walks within the gathering playing a musical number, perhaps ‘Here Comes The Sun’ by The Beatles.
During the closing circle the beach crew leader shares some wisdom, opening the circle to anyone who feels the desire to share their experience. Some weeks the group sweeps the beach picking up rubbish in a ‘beach clean’, or freshly brewed Prana Chai tea is distributed among keep cups.
Shira mentions, “post meditation we go up to Chapter One Café for a coffee.” MMM founder Jason, wants people to know that “coming to MMM allows participants to meet like-minded people and to talk about life without judgement, providing an opportunity for people to sit with themselves. To be in the moment to be mindful and to experience the wonderment around sunrise.”
Meditation is for everyone. Shira says, “it’s a safe space if you haven’t meditated before, if you are curious”, asserting “it’s a great community vibe and such a beautiful way to start your day. You can’t meditate wrong.”
For more information go to https://www.makingmeditationmainstream.com.au/
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