When you think of meditation, your first thought might be of uber-spiritual people sitting for hours in silence. It’s amazing for reducing stress, relaxing the muscles, and increasing respiratory capacity. By slowing down the breath, the body moves out of fight or flight and into a state of rest and digest. However, because of this preconceived idea, many people think that meditation is unattainable.
In truth, anyone can learn to meditate.
What is meditation?
Meditation, by definition, is simply focusing the mind on one thing and sustaining that focus for a period of time. That’s it. Focus and Sustain.
Contrary to popular belief, it is not (necessarily) clearing the mind of all thought. Although with a dedicated practice, one might reach that meditative experience, known as samadhi (or bliss state), where the mind is pure, clear, and unbound; where there are no thoughts or meditative objectives.
But in this fast-paced world, it’s less important to reach the state of samadhi and more important to actively calm the chatter of the mind. And you can do that by cultivating a simple, daily meditation practice.
Allow yourself the time and space necessary to explore your personal practice – everyone is different. Discover what meditation means to you.
Meditation and the Mind
The mind is used to being in charge but, over time, meditation will help to quiet the mind and turn down the volume on that pesky voice inside your head. There will be times when the mind wins. Don’t fret, it happens. Some days are better than others. That’s why they call it a practice.
Benefits of Meditation
- Reduce stress, increase happiness
- Activate the parasympathetic nervous system
- Increase respiratory function and capacity
- Improve your attention and awareness
- Improve Memory
- See the world/yourself more clearly
- Tap into your personal navigation system (intuition)
- Bring harmony and balance into your life
Five Minute Meditation
This is a great place to begin. Starting your day with a mindful practice will help you to ground and center, and prepare you for the day.
At first, the mind may chatter endlessly. That’s okay. Eventually, it will tire itself out and slow down. The more often you commit to a practice, the easier it will get.
Five minutes may feel like forever. It will get easier. As you become accustomed to the five minutes, you’ll be able to extend your time to six, seven or even ten minutes.
Remember: Meditation is simply focusing and sustaining the focus.
Step by Step Meditation – A Beginners Guide
There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to this practice. Explore and find out what works best for you!
Get comfy. Support the body in any way it needs. Lay down, sit up, whatever position promotes relaxation.
Set the alarm for 5 minutes. Commit to this length of time, even if the mind rambles for the entire session.
Focus. Picture yourself staring up at a bright, blue sky. With each thought that creeps into your mind, see it like a cloud passing overhead. Just watch it as it crosses across your vision. Try not to interact with them. Notice them and let them move on.
Sustain. As the mind wanders (which it usually does) gently guide your attention back to the sky. Your list of to-dos will be there when you’re finished. These 5 minutes are just for YOU!