He’s sure plenty of other people – runners perhaps – also find themselves meditating without actually knowing it.
Either way, it’s a hugely-beneficial state to be in, and one he aims to unlock with his new book Guided Meditations for Health & Wellbeing.
Available from Amazon as an eBook (£3.99) and a paperback (£10.99), the volume offers a collection of 35 guided meditation scripts that people can use with others or audio record and use for themselves.
Dan promises huge benefits in terms of stress reduction – in fact, the benefits he sought and enjoyed as a child.
Growing up near Arundel, Dan didn’t have the best of childhoods: “I wanted to spend as much time out of the house as possible, and I used to go out into the trees. I would sit in a tree and close my eyes, listen to the birds, try to pinpoint where they were; I would listen to rustling and try to pinpoint where it was happening. I found that if I didn’t occupy myself, it would be easy to think ‘Why is all this happening to me?’That would be when I was eight to ten, and I just felt peace. I felt calm. It just helped me to be absorbed in the moment rather than thinking what might be waiting for me at home or thinking about what I had just come from. I didn’t realise I was meditating.”
At secondary school in Littlehampton, Dan heard about the hypnotist Paul McKenna, and his thoughts started to crystallise: “I was older, but my home life hadn’t actually shifted, and I was still doing the same sorts of things. It was a very large school, and I was surrounded by 1,500-2,000 other pupils. It was helpful to have those skills and to know how to calm myself.”
Dan, now a psychological therapist living in central Chichester, pursued his interest, but a real turning point came ten years ago in Littlehampton, at the age of 26: “I was cycling to work and was hit by a truck. I was hospitalised, and during this experience I had the opportunity to put meditation to the test again. I used meditation to manage my pain so that I could come off of morphine and the other pain management drugs, and I used meditation to quickly work through the mild post-traumatic stress I had.”
Dan, a member Chichester independent authors group CHINDI, had ten breaks in his right arm, an open fracture in which he lost bone: “I am reasonably sure I was conscious for the whole experience.”
He certainly recalls talking to the ambulance crew to take his mind off the pain: “I was aware of having blood dripping down my hand, but I was choosing not to focus on it. I didn’t feel any pain at all. I would say that that was meditation.”
And Dan is full of the benefits it can bring – even in considerably-less traumatic circumstances. Hence the book.The idea is you record the meditation scripts on a dictaphone, camcorder or your phone at your own preferred speed and then play them back to yourself. Or you can even get someone else to read them to you.
“Through my early work-life where I was working with people that were often very aggressive and frequently violent, I continued to use these skills. For me these skills came easily and instinctively, and I had insight into what I was doing from moment to moment to manage my own anxieties.”
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