What Is Meditation?
Meditation is not just for those of us with spiritual aspirations, but benefits absolutely everybody! That being said, meditation is profoundly simple and yet exceptionally difficult too. Meditation is essentially the practice of training your attention away from the very compelling, hyper-active, indiscriminate, entertaining, often terrifying chaos of our every day mind and directing it toward the simplicity of a single point of focus, generally something peaceful like the breath, a mantra (a repetitive word/phrase that inspires you), a candle, visualization, etc…
Why Should I Bother?
Because the pandemonium of the mind is the root of all of our troubles. The mind is essentially like the glasses through which we see the world; in other words, what we usually perceive as reality is really just a filtered version of what’s actually happening. The tricky part is that the filter we are using is cluttered and soiled with all of our past, habits, wounds, anger, resentments, attachments, desires, ego, etc… and yet we absolutely believe with all our hearts it’s accurate and clear. Meditation helps us to be able to see the smudges on our lenses and empowers us with the ability to do something about it.
- Reduced my reactivity, so that I can think before I speak or act
- The ability to distinguish the voice of my own inner wisdom from all the chatter in my mind, so I can make better choices in my life.
- Reveals unconscious and often harmful habits and patterns, so I can do something about them.
- Creates balance, giving me moments of stillness in the otherwise constant movement of life
- Technique for reducing stress and anxiety, alleviate depression, and increases my sense of well-being and happiness.
- Make time for it every day. It gets easier quicker if you practice everyday, otherwise it will feel like the first time every time.
- Start slow with 5 minutes. At some point, that won’t feel long enough so increase it to 10. Continue this progression until you get to 20 minutes or decide to go live in a cave and meditate all day.
- Have a special place set up for it. The most important thing is to sit up tall, with “good posture” that would make your Mama proud. If you can do this sitting on the floor great, otherwise, sitting in a chair works just fine. I don’t recommend a recliner otherwise your meditation session will turn into a nap session.
- Have a clock with a timer that works. If you don’t trust your timer, you’ll spend the whole time wondering what time it is.
- Take 10 deep breathes before you begin to help settle you into the moment.
State clearly that it is your intention to meditate before each session. You will inevitably get caught up in the thinking going on in your mind, setting your intention in the beginning will help you remember to get back to your meditation and save the thinking for later.
- There is not one “right” way to meditate. There are a million meditation techniques out there; find one that suits your disposition. One of my favorite books that describes a myriad of user-friendly techniques is Wherever You Go There You Are by Jon Kabat-Zinn. Listen to the Beginners Meditation for the technique I use everyday.