Sitting down to meditate the first few times can be intimidating. It’s natural for the brain to be moving a lot, jumping around, or to even be sleepy or lethargic. And while there’s no substitute for practice and perseverance, there are some ways to help the transition to being more mindful. And one of my favorites is FLOWER ESSENCES.
As an herbalist, I love plants. Plants can be extremely helpful for not just physical states, but mental ones as well. Ask anyone who enjoys a cup of chamomile tea before bed–plants can help us relax, unwind, be more centered and meditative.
While teas and infusions or decoctions of herbs are great, the focus today is on the most gentle of plant remedies: flower essences. They work well with everyone, especially children. They are gentle and have very little taste. My son asks for his ‘flower water’ –it’s easy to get kids to relate to flowers. How many dandelions do I have dried and pressed in books, that little hands so sincerely brought me? Kids notice flowers at an early age.
Flower essences are energetic medicines and have zero interactions with other medicinals or side effects. There is no plant material in the flower essence. For many people, flower essences are taken for weeks, and their effect accumulates and becomes more noticeable long-term. That being said, there are others (myself included) that feel the effects of flower essences immediately. If I am grouchy and frustrated, having trouble being patient, drops of holly and cherry plum in a glass of water have me feeling better in minutes. In a traumatic situation Rescue Remedy works quickly. So while we give the caveat that for many, flower essences are a slow-acting remedy that will build effects over time, there are those who feel it much quicker. It depends on your constitution.
Flower essences are given in drop doses, 2 drops in liquid (like water or herbal teas) multiple times per day. My son has his special monkey glass that we keep water in all day, so he can drink as he needs to, and I keep his ‘magic flowers’ in there. At 2 drop increments, a 1 oz. dropper bottle will last a long time.
My top five flower essences for meditation:
Flower essences treat people, not conditions. There is no one flower essence for a more meditative mindful state, because it depends on what personal challenges you are having while trying to meditate.
ROSE: rose is wonderful for the heart. It’s cooling, and nourishes yin, or the quiet aspects of our being and emotions. Rose can also gently move stuck Liver qi, or those places that resist and can make us feel a little frustrated or mildly depressed. Roses nourish the SHEN, or the spirit of the heart. For meditation purposes, it can calm, soothe and cool emotions letting our hearts feel at peace. It is available in flower essence and a flower essence tincture from Floracopeia. I also love Rose Geranium as aromatherapy and an infusion or ‘tea’ made with dried rosebuds. This is different than Wild Rose, a Bach flower essence, which is for apathy and a lack of enthusiasm (which could be helpful if you are falling asleep during meditation, or having trouble sticking with it.)
STARWORT MOUSE EAR: A Floracopeia flower essence that helps calm an overactive mind. If your mind races and bounces around with thoughts and your to-do list and grocery list, this one could be helpful.
WHITE CHESTNUT: Worried? Circular thoughts, the same thing coming up over and over as you try to meditate? White chestnut can help smooth out the repetitive knots in the mind.
PEPPERMINT or other mints: for brain fog and the inability to focus because you aren’t feeling awake and alert. (Available in an FES flower essence, tea and aromatherapy. I like diffusing Himalayan mint midday for that post-lunch fatigue. A helper for the homeschool room!)
IMPATIENS For the kid (or adult) who can’t stop moving and needs things to be fast, fast, fast! A Bach original flower essence, it can help relax that need to be on the move all the time, and let them see the spaces that exist to help slow down. This move, move, move can also be helped with Walnut combined with Impatiens.
BONUS: CORYDALIS, CHERRY PLUM and HOLLY Feeling frustrated and grumpy? I’m not the person who can wake up and immediately go into meditation–I need to move a little first to get the qi flowing, to clear stagnations. I meditate better after yoga! If that sounds familiar, try to move a little first, qi gong, tai chi, yoga, a walk. Corydalis is from Floracopeia, Cherry Plum and Holly are from Bach and FES.
Need help? An outside perspective can help, from a flower essence practitioner or an herbalist like me, that includes flower essences in their recommendations in addition to herbs and lifestyle considerations.
Buying flower essences
I love Floracopeia as a company. I’m not affiliated with them, but I do love their products as well as their integrity and ethics in producing quality, sustainable products. You can find them on their website www.floracopeia.com. I also find their essences are the best tasting–they use grape alcohol and I find the taste gentler and less harsh.
Bach Flower Remedies are sold at many health food stores and online.
Flower Essence Society FES has an amazingly extensive selection of flower essences. Their website is: http://store.fesflowers.com/