What is meditation, and why meditate?
Meditatation is a practice to calm the chaos – it quietens the mind and allows for a different perspective on life.
Society tells us, if we work hard then we will achieve – that the more we focus and push on with our goals the more likely we are going to be successful… No pain, no gain – things happen as a result of your hard graft.
We develop a mindset of – it’s going to be tough to succeed – it takes commitment and endless effort.
Some people feel they have to drive hard in business, and also, in their family life, there has to be the same pressure that almost validates being a good person, to be rushed off your feet, equates to being a happening person!
Now while I believe in the importance of goals, focused intent, and hard work, I have learnt that there is no truth in ‘success has to be a struggle’, and that the truth IS…working ‘smart’ is better than working ‘hard’.
You can be told that fact, but actually you don’t believe it – you have to ‘feel’ that truth, and meditation is a path to allowing your truth to pop up from underneath the heavy load of toil, pressure and overbearing expectation.
Meditation often concentrates on the breathe, and the breathe is directly connected to the functioning of the nervous system, to the emotions and to the mind…and so then the functioning of the body. All parts are connected.
Some of the countless benefits of Meditation…
Stress reduction, lower blood pressure, boost immune system, prevention of degenerative disease, pain relief. Increased health and wellbeing in general.
Increased creative thinking. Improved concentration. Increased productivity.
You are more intimately present in the moment. You are more aware of yourself and your environment – you feel a connection with everything in your life but not attached to it, you can ‘observe’ outcomes, and learn to respond rather than react.
Greater balance and emotional maturity. A feeling of contentment and appreciation of life. Happiness, joy and an increased zest for life.
A greater sense of purpose and contentment regarding what life is all about. A sense of ‘oneness’ and connectedness with all life. A deep inner peace and the ability to develop an attitude of gratitude.
Types of Meditation;
There are many different types eg. Mindfulness (staying in the moment and watching life), watching a candle flame, observing your breath.
Moving meditation (e.g.. Yoga,Tai Chi etc.)
Mantra (focusing on a sound), Sound waves and modern energy wave patterns.
The easiest and the most accessible wherever you are, is to focus on your breath – all you need is you and your body present!
Requirement and preparation for Meditation…
Choose a comfortable and quiet environment (to begin with, when you get used to it you can meditate anywhere!). Phone off, empty bladder!
Sitting in a chair with your back straight or lying down – best to sit, otherwise you may well fall asleep.
Eyes closed – otherwise there’s too much distraction unless you are gazing upon an object eg. a candle.
The best way to start is to notice how your body is feeling, be aware of any aches or pains, tension or tiredness.
Be aware of your mental and emotional state – do you have negative thoughts or are you feeling angry, sad, vulnerable , frustrated or anxious? Just accept were you are with all those things. Just notice them.
Imagine you have energy roots growing from the soles of your feet down into the centre of the earth – grounding you – don’t worry if you can’t image that – have the intention that is happening. Imagine that you are surrounded in a big bubble of light – a brilliant light, it doesn’t matter whether it’s white, silver or gold – don’t worry if you can’t imagine that – just have the intention that is what you are doing.
Don’t expect too much – go easy on yourself – your mind will wander off, gently bring it back into what you are doing.
Mediation is a bit like sleep – you can’t chase it – you can’t force it. It’s more of a ‘giving in’ and ‘letting go’ of expectation and performance.
In the beginning stages just aim for your meditation being a few moments of ‘YOU’ time, where you actually sit still and notice how you are feeling.
After a while, you will enjoy and value that time, and be able to start concentrating on your breathing. Observing your breath will start slowing the mind down – it’s a sweet relief when you can allow yourself to just be still and not beat yourself up for not careering around doing something ‘productive’.
So simply watching the breath as it enters your body – notice how it feels in your nose and throat. Imagine that the breath (called prana in yoga) is travelling to the deepest part of your lower lungs, you will notice your abdomen swell and you lower ribs moving outwards.
A lovely rhythmical flow of breath into and out of your body – like waves gently lapping onto a beach and retreating back to join the sea – it’s not forced but it is conscious breathing.
You will find that your few minutes of meditation (start with a few minutes and build up to 15 minutes if you can) IS the most productive thing you can do in the whole of you day – it sets you up to be in the most receptive, creative, dynamic zone..you are no longer pushing at life, but pulling – you start attracting what you want to you.
It’s ironic that by slowing down we speed up our effectiveness!