“The sum of man’s problems come from his inability to be alone in a silent room.” – Pascal.
I believe that any practice of silence is good for you whether it be meditation, prayer or just time away from everything. Meditation has been something I have incorporated into my life for over a year now. To me its something that is very important. It has helped me slow down and become calmer so I can look at situations from a different perspective. Acting in a better more conscious way instead of just reacting.
It is also a conversation starter, as a lot of people don’t know much about it. I’ve had people become very intrigued about the practice and others who feel that meditation is just for hardcore Buddhists and ritualistic. The truth is anyone can practice it.
I’m writing this blog post to condense the vast information that is available on meditation. To tell you why this is such a great habit to add to your life and how to get started with it.
What is Meditation?
Meditation is a tool for introspection, to be totally aware of what is going on in the present moment without any external stimulation. To come back to your form at its most basic instead of always being on the go. It helps silence the mind and leave you with a feeling of peace. Now who wouldn’t want that.
- Better health – It can lower stress and anxiety.
- It lets us get to know our true selves. I think a cool way of seeing meditation is me time. Just you and nothing else. Time away from the stresses that the outside world brings. Repressed emotions or things you thought you forgot may come up and it helps deal with them.
- You may get clarity on certain things and insights or ideas.(This happens to me alot when I meditate. It gives your mind a chance pause and reflect)
- Better focus
- More empathy. Research has shown that meditation can activate the brain area responsible for empathy so you can relate to other people better.
Here’s a Ted Talk for you sceptics on the science behind meditation (If you don’t know about ted talks get to know I guarantee watching them will be a great addition to you life)
How to Meditate
There are many different types of meditation but the most basic way to meditate is to use something as an anchor when the mind wanders. This could be a mantra, a visual object or the breath. The breath technique is one of the simplest and how most people start as it can be used anywhere and anytime.
Sit comfortably upright.(it doesn’t have to be crossed legged or anything like that and lying down makes me want to fall asleep). Place your hands on your thighs or on your lap. Close your eyes, you can meditate with your eyes open but as a beginner that’s one more sense to distract you.
Simply become aware of your breathing in the present moment. You can either follow the breath as you breath in and out or concentrate on one area like the abdomen or the nostrils (don’t try and change the pattern of your breathing let it flow). Whenever you catch yourself thinking or getting distracted you gently bring yourself back to your breath and you keep doing that throughout your meditation session. That’s pretty much it. Simple right? You’ll probably find on your first session that you have to keep doing this tediously and the incessant thoughts won’t stop. You’ll probably have an epiphany that meditation isn’t for you and that’s you done with the practice.
I say don’t fall into this trap, give it a go for at least a month and just start slow with a few minutes of it at first. Gradually building it up as you get accustomed to it. Have the mind frame that this is positive for me all I’m going to do each day is my few minutes and don’t worry yourself about the outcome. Improving any skill takes time!
Once you make it a habit like me you may notice what great effects it has in your day-to-day life and never look back.