The aim of meditation is to hone and sustain conscious awareness of ‘being’ in the present moment. I am always a whispered distance from the veil of my future and the shadows of my past, shades flickering in muted colours in my memory. Yet focusing attention on what is happening, what I sensually experience, what I am consciously aware of, here and now as I bathe in the moment, leaves no space for abstract memories or projected anxiousness and anticipation (just as switching on the light instantly dispels darkness). In truth, in reality, I only ever exist in the present moment, life only presents to me ‘here and now’; past regrets, traumas or disappointments, even memory of joy and pleasure, future fears, uncertainty, anxiety, anticipation, expectations, are disarmed, disempowered, at the very epicentre of ‘present moment’ awareness. The stillest point of a seesaw is at its pivoting centre.
Odour detection is intrinsic to our survival and is powerfully associated with memory. Breath is vital, sustains life force. Breath was and is considered the portal of consciousness, the connection between the world and the Divine, between the soul and the manifest material universe, the bridge between the external world and the spirit within (consciousness). Odour, through the ages, has been employed to stimulate awareness of this connection, of our ‘spiritual’ self. Incense and essences contained with in herbs, leaves, roots, woods and resins (like frankincense and also myrrh, benzoin styrax, galbanum) were, and still are, burned during prayer and ritual – the smoke rising upward symbolic of the soul, of consciousness, rising toward ‘heaven’ or the ‘higher self’.
Essential oils diffused during mediation can also be employed to act as a reminder, to instil the memory of the experience felt during formal meditation (there and then) ‘here and now’, thus also subtly, paradoxically, reminding the recipient to hold their current sense of ‘being’ in the moment. Certain essential oils, for example, frankincense and patchouli, regulate breathing, instilling a sense of peace and tranquility; rose and mandarin are gently stimulating and uplifting; rosemary is ‘wakening’, stimulating memory and alertness; lavender and geranium are both stimulating and calming and are thus balancing. Frankincense resin is still burned and diffused during the ceremonies, rites and rituals of many religions to instil a sense of calm and ‘spiritual’ connection.
Essential oils may be diffused into the environment before (in preparation for meditation) or during (to support focus and wakeful relaxation) or may be applied post meditation (diffused or worn as a perfume) as a memory cue to draw attention to the breath, to act as a gentle reminder to hone consciousness awareness of ‘here and now’ (the doorway to inner possibility and potential, appreciation and wonder, positive affirmation). And simply, but also significantly, for their own qualities: uplifting, stimulating, calming, ‘grounding’, ‘earthing’, among many others.
You will find so much more about these wonderful qualities in my book, Essential Oils for Mindfulness and Meditation, available to purchase from most online and high street stores.