To meditate or not to meditate?
That is the question!
What is Meditation?
Perhaps to understand mediation it is best to say what it is not since it is often thought meditation is creating a blank mind but it’s virtually impossible since our senses take in every millisecond. Thinking of meditation in this way can cause stress in itself trying to empty our mind, we set our self up to fail.
A mind can’t be emptied, it is a hive of activity and must remain so for us to be safe, be alive, survive, to live our mind is always thinking whether we are aware of our thoughts and felt senses or not.
Meditation is according to the Cambridge English Dictionary:
“the act of giving your attention to only one thing, either as a religious activity or as a way of becoming calm and relaxed”:
Meditation doesn’t have a religion it can be practiced by anyone, anywhere, from any walk of life and is only religious if you want it to be!
Other words which describe meditation are:
Mindfulness, facilitation, contemplation, intervention, relaxation, reconciliation, imagination, imagery, visualization, negotiation, congruence, harmony, balance, waking-up, consciousness, attunment, deliberation, consideration. The one I like the best is from Buddhism which states meditation is:
“effortless remaining in what is”
So, for example, if I am remaining with ‘what is’ rather than ‘what was’ or ‘what might be’ I am not anxious about what has gone before and I’m not living anticipating what will come in the future, my attention is focused on the here and now. The past has gone, and the future hasn’t arrived yet. The only time you and I really have is here and now!
By practicing meditation, we can harvest a mental state which is beneficial to us, if we calm and hold our mind in a state of focus by realizing the compassion and wisdom within we can bring about a relaxed state of mind and body. This state can reverberate as we go about our daily lives, we can become more relaxed, able to face what each day brings and builds resiliency to what life throws at us. Meditation is thought of as a healthy coping strategy, an emotional tool in your self-care tool box.
How do I start to become more mindful?
By understanding meditation is about learning how to ‘be’ rather than ‘do’ and it may take some practice before you can comfortably sit in silence and just ‘be’ letting your organismic energy flow with what is and not what has passed or what is to come. Read books, visit internet sites to gain as much understanding about the subject as you can.
Understand when you first try meditation, it can feel unnatural as our minds and bodies are used to being busy, noisy in constant movement and the state of relaxation may not be recognizable or comfortable to us; that’ OK we are learning, and learning is lifelong! In a state of constant movement, we get into habits which are unhealthy, understanding meditation is about becoming more consciously aware of how we think, feel, behave, what our patterns or habits are and if they are unhealthy understanding there is a better way of behaving, bringing about a letting go of old ways to bring about a more constant relaxed way of being. Our goal is not to eliminate anxiety since adrenaline is a human give, our goal is to bring about management of stress and anxiety in our daily living and find calm, happiness and peaceful contentment.
What are some of the benefits of learning to meditate?
· A calm mind, clarity of thoughts, enhances concentration
· Rejuvenates mind, body and connects you to your deeper self or spirit
· Creates emotional stability, develops intuition, expands consciousness
· Relaxes, reduces tension related pain, headaches, joint and muscle pains
· Lowers blood pressure, reduces tension, anxiety, stress, nervousness, panic
· Reduces insomnia and aids restful sleep
· Increases serotonin which improves mood, improves self-acceptance, emotional intelligence,
· Increases energy levels as you tap into your deeper self and develops your internal resources
· Self-discovery and self-awareness, more self-control and authentic power through compassion
· Understanding and insight, improves inner strength and empowerment
· Trusting your truest nature of who you are as an individual human being.
In a meditate state you become aware that you are much more than you ever imagined, you come to realize you are part of a vast space which is full of harmony, calmness, joy and peace. Meditation brings about mindfulness which brings with it more conscious awareness and a realization your inner attitude determines the choices you make in your living which leads to happiness, contentment and peace. Leads to greater creativity, confidence, self-esteem, problem solving ability, mental strength and energy.
Like a seed which blossoms with nurturance it grows with daily practice to enrich your life.
How do I begin meditating?
The simplest way to begin meditation is to focus on your breathing with a simple breathing exercise. For example, take five minutes to still your body, bring your attention to your breath, take in a deep breath to the count of five and out again to the count of five, focus your mind on each in breath and each out breath, get a feel of your chest as it rises and falls. Just notice how your body feels whilst you are mindful to your breathing. Continue deep breathing for 3 minutes and then breath normally for five minutes focusing on what arises in your body as you breath in and out. Just notice you don’t need do anything your goal is to get used to relaxing, focusing, being mindful, feeling into your body, understanding the ‘feel’ of your own body rhythms. Increase this practice up to 20 minutes at a time.
Once focused breathing become more natural in your daily practice move onto a guided visualization there are several good ones you can buy as cheaply as 99p from amazon. My personal recommendation is “Inspirational Journey by Stephen Page” or there are free websites sites which offer body scans and free meditation, experiment with different voices some may prefer a female, or a male voice, those which include no voice just music or natural sounds from nature, ensure it resonates with you personally. Once you are more comfortable with the above practices you can begin to practice meditating on one thing i.e. a candle flame or an object, or you may prefer to continue with the CDs. Whichever feels most comfortable for you that brings about the deepest relaxation and peace.
Effortless living can happen if we start to be mindful of what, who and how we are ‘being’.
Take time to pause, reflect, breath, rejuvenate and enrich your life today.