The full moon is rising high above the Chinese hinterland, as people prepare to celebrate the Harvest Moon Festival, and continue an ancient tradition that goes back hundreds of years to the Zhou Dynasty when ceremonies were first held to welcome the full moon. There are many Chinese legends regarding the moon, one being that the immortal Chang’e flew all the way to the moon, and is still there today, looking down on the world. The legend says you can see her when you look at the moon at its brightest at the Autumn equinox. Her companion, Yu Tu, the moon rabbit, can also be seen preparing the elixir of life that keeps Chang’e alive.
On the American prairies, farmers welcome the same full, bright harvest moon that arrives close to the Autumn equinox, usually in September, as their forefathers have done for centuries. They also celebrate it’s arrival with festivals and moongazing. Today the moon gazing tradition continues in the practice of full moon meditation.
What is Full Moon Meditation?
Full Moon meditation involves focusing your gaze on the moon at its fullest and brightest and bathing in its light. It’s a form of concentration meditation where your attention is focused on a single object, the full moon. Hopefully, it will increase the imagination, ease stress and reduce negative emotions.
Simple step-by-step approach to Full Moon Meditation
- Find a safe spot in the house, close to a window where you have a clear view of the moon. Ideally, this space should be free of people, pets or intrusive noise. This exercise is also best done in a darkened room so that you can concentrate more easily on the light of the moon.
- Wear comfortable clothing that doesn’t restrict circulation. Your goal is to be comfortable without the distraction of tight fitting clothing.
- Once you’re comfortable, close your eyes and focus on your breathing as you slowly inhale and exhale.
- Continue breathing slowly for a few minutes and then open your eyes switching focus to the bright disc of the moon. Gazing at the full moon, note any details of interest like the colour, light, or visible surface features like the lunar “seas” that can merge into mythical forms like the “Moon Rabbit” or “Man in the Moon” in your imagination. If any clouds drift across the moon, focus on their shape and texture and let them pass. Allow your thoughts to flow in and out, like clouds drifting across the moon.
- Accept these drifting thoughts and let them pass on without attempting to analyse them. Remember, the goal of full moon meditation is to create inner calm. After looking at the moon for some minutes, close your eyes and try to imagine the image of the moon shedding its moonlight and soothing power over your mind and body.
- Open your eyes and reflect upon how you feel. Calm? Relaxed?
Benefits of Full Moon Meditation
According to research studies, meditation can release feel-good neurochemicals such as endorphins and can activate parts of the brain associated with positivity.
Meditation also allows you to enter into a state of flow, a state usually referred to as being in the zone. In a flow state, a person concentrating on the activity of meditation, in this case meditating upon the full moon, becomes immersed and gains a feeling of enjoyment and focus. In the activity of gazing at the full moon you are pulled away from your daily cares. This helps you to be more emotionally resilient and more capable of tackling the challenging tasks that lifes throws at us.
It also helps to improve to improve creativity and concentration, as the ability to focus is increasingly transferred to daily life with the practice of full moon meditation.
You don’t need to be a deeply spiritual person or a monk high in the Himalayas reciting mantras to reap the benefits of meditation. Meditation is open and beneficial to everyone. It doesn’t need long periods of practice and the benefits of full moon meditation can be felt after only one 10-minute session, resulting in increased mood and decreased stress.
When the full moon isn’t rising or is not visible in the night sky
Full moon meditation can be combined with other forms of meditation, to form a consistent programme involving a traditionally recommended 10-20 minutes of meditation at least 3 times a week to gain longer lasting cognitive improvements.
Full Moon Affirmations
Count your full moon blessings
Full Moon is a time when negative emotions can come to the surface. Let go of these unresolved feelings by bringing to mind who and what you are grateful for in your life. Fill yourself with gratitude by listing everything that comes to mind. Then read this list again, if negative feelings resurface . Can’t find anything to be grateful for? Then just focus on the things that you may take for granted. You might find things there that you can be grateful for. You’ll be surprised how much happiness can be gained from writing down what you are grateful for.