I’m still at the very beginning of my journey with meditation but I constantly hear of the benefits it affords and I want to start making time for it in my life. I do see myself as spiritual..but certainly not as spiritual as many others, and in no way do I see meditation as anything remotely religious for myself. For me it is simply a method of clearing the mind in order to concentrate on what is important in life.
In the past if I’ve had a clouded mind I would always use distraction as the main tool to keep my mind occupied and on the task at hand. In certain instances this can be really beneficial and links in well with another of my articles about Using Anxiety To Get Things Done. This can be an extremely useful method that really works and turns worrying in to productive output. I’ve started looking more long term though and with my main life goal being happiness and peace of mind, I want to look in to more long term solutions for being continually calm and relaxed.
You don’t have to adopt any fancy position to meditate, you simply want to be comfortable and relaxed, so sitting in a chair can be just as good as a physics defying, mind mending yoga position. I do find although, that a stretching session prior to meditating gets the blood flowing and further relaxes the body. I find lying down on my back on a comfortable surface the best bet. You want to be as peaceful and relaxed as possible so attempting to block out the sounds of the day around you can be beneficial if you live in a noisy and busy area, I often use earplugs to help with this or even headphones with relaxing music or nature sounds.
The idea of meditation is then to clear your mind of all thoughts and worries. For beginners to do this, holding a single point of concentration seems practically a must. It is a process that you adjust to over time but at first you must make a conscious effort to stop thinking so much. Concentrate on your breathing and picture a simple relaxing scene in your mind. My method is to picture the ocean and to tie my deep breathing in with the natural rhythm of the tide.
To start with it really does take a large commitment to meditate with any regularity, you have to set aside specific time to avoid all the distractions in life. The next stage is then getting better at it. I initially found it hard to lay long enough and clear my mind before getting bored and agitated and wondering off both in mind and body! It is true though that the process does get easier over time and with more practice. The effectiveness of mediation at achieving it’s goal of making us calm and focused is backed up by scientific study, so I will do more than just give it a chance. I’m sure people aren’t just making it up that the practice has transformed their lives or helped their mood and levels of focus to no end. I will keep at it. At many times I do still struggle to concentrate on the task but I seem to be getting better at the actual process of mediation. I may provide updates on my level of success as I progress.
Another point to note is that there is no set ‘right’ way to meditate and you can tailor your own practice to what benefits you the most. I have experience with the ‘Headspace’ meditation app brought to market by Andy Puddicombe and his business partner. Headspace is great to look at and It utilities modern bite size meditation sessions based primarily on mindfulness but also makes use of sessions based around visualization, reflection and awareness. So after learning the very basics -focusing on breathing and moving away from thoughts and worry- you can go ahead and mix it up!