I met a lot of people who reacted strangely when I mentioned I’m meditating daily. So, it got me thinking – the lack of knowledge gets replaced by assumption and association, therefore if we don’t know or understand something, our mind creates an image based on similar information accumulated throughout life, therefore if someone is not accustomed to a certain practice or thing, they will have a made-up image.
For them, for me and for anyone else willing to learn about meditation, I looked into more detail about meditation (not the expert level though) and I want to share the knowledge as I find it fascinating.
The points I want to cover in this article are:
– what is meditation and how many forms are?
– what are the benefits of meditation?
– how can it be done and where?
First things first – what is meditation?
There are 2 ways we can look at it: one is scientific and another one spiritual; regardless of which way you choose to look at it, it has the same way of practice and the same benefits. Practicing meditation doesn’t mean you betray your religion nor your beliefs. It means you decide to outgrow your actual state of being by evolving into a higher self. Similar to a workout in a gym, you are working your brain instead of your body muscles, therefore your brain becomes much stronger.
Meditation is a means of transforming the mind, to train attention, awareness and achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm and stable state. Is the process of quieting the mind in order to spend time in thought for relaxation purposes.
There are scores of types of meditation, however, among the most popular ones I found: mindfulness, focused, mantra, transcendental. The one I want to talk about is the Mindfulness Meditation, as from my point of view is the most relevant for the fast-paced lives of the 21st Century.
The benefits of meditation
There are hundreds of benefits that could improve your life by practicing it daily. Among these are:
– helps you pay attention better to the environment around you, to details
– you become more compassionate and helps you feel happier
– meditation lowers the response to pain and anxiety and you even age slower.
– you recover quicker from stress and illness
– helps with concentration, learning, and memory
– it makes you conscious of every moment, of the processes of your mind, you get to be in control of your mind rather than being controlled by it, or by your thoughts.
Daniel Goleman and Richard J. Davidson, in their book, The Science of Meditation talk about how to change your brain, mind, and body.
Sarah Lazar Ph.D. studied the brain with sophisticated equipment before and after meditation and discovered after 8 weeks of practice the brain structure changed in a way that improved wellbeing.
Meditation allowed Michael Jordan to focus and perform better.
NHS England recommends Mindfulness Meditation and explains in detail the benefits of it.
In this day and age, we are addicted to speed. We constantly feel like we’re out of time and run all day long. We live in an imaginative future, constantly thinking where we want to get, instead of where we are. We’re not living in the moment, we live in our thoughts and worries and fear which pull us away from the present. We lose the sense of present because our mind is overwhelmed with past and future. To live in the moment is to embrace exactly who we are, where we are and what’s happening at that time, but we miss that, and we wake up at a future time looking back and asking ourselves where did that time go?
Has ever happened to you to drive or walk and “wake up” not knowing how you got where you are because you were deep in your thoughts?
Eckhart Tolle, in his book “The Power of Now” encourage us to become free of time, “to be free of the psychological need of past for our identity and future for our fulfillment.”
Through meditation you get to discover yourself and the power of self-control that lays asleep, you discover your limitless potential and creativity.
How do you meditate?
Firstly, you must make up your mind to do it. There is no benefit in reading and learning about it if you don’t act on it.
Secondly, you decide to do this daily. The same way you don’t lose weight by fasting one day, nor you’ll see changes after 10 minutes of meditation.
Thirdly, decide when you’ll do it and set up a reminder on your phone. Doing it constantly also helps you gain strength against our biggest enemy – procrastination and after a while, it will become a habit.
Once you’re committed to the above 3 steps the rest is easy: you can start, like I did, with 5 minutes at a time and then increase the length of it as you begin to master it – now I do this daily for 20-30 minutes. One minute is good when you already know how to do it and you master it, so better give it some more time in the beginning.
Go into a quiet room, if you can wake up before everyone else is ideal, and by sitting or laying in a relaxed position, close your eyes and focus on your breath making no effort to control it, just breathe naturally. The point of meditation is not to clear your mind, but to focus on the present, on your breath coming in and going out through your nose, and when you get distracted by your thoughts, to actually notice you are being distracted and start over.
In the beginning, you’ll probably get lost in your thoughts more often then you’ll expect but noticing is exactly the point and you are already making progress. I’m going to quote again Eckhart Tolle: “you shift back and forth for a while between consciousness and unconsciousness, between the state of presence and the state of mind. You will lose the Now and you return to it, again and again. Eventually, presence becomes your predominant state.”
After a few days, you’ll see improvement in the number of times you notice the distraction and your ability to focus longer on the present expands and your brain expands as well, giving you strength in fighting the small daily challenges.
After a few weeks, the traffic won’t bother you anymore, you’ll be able to notice people rushing around you, in the state of present acknowledgment you’ll be more focused, faster ideas and better solutions are coming to mind.
You will start feeling stronger, more powerful and confident. You will discover you go faster but calmer, effortless. The past won’t haunt you and the future won’t worry you. You live every moment in complete presence, you feel happy, fulfilled… with purpose.
I mentioned you could meditate in a quiet room as an example, but that’s not a must. You could do this on the train/ bus to work while listening to meditation music. You could do this in your lunch break by focusing on the taste of your food and the activity of eating. You can go in nature listening the birds, the wind, the leaves. You can do it anywhere, anytime simply by focusing on anything. The act of focus is what you want to improve.
There are also different guided meditation apps you can download on your smartphone, that can walk you step by step through the process, so you won’t have any excuses not to do it. I personally discovered the meditation while reading “Miracle Morning” by Hal Elrod – a fantastic book – and I didn’t stop ever since.
So, now that you know what meditation is, why is it good and what benefits can bring to you, don’t wait for something to happen to have a reason to fix it. Don’t wait for the right moment! Start doing this now and become aware of your power. You are the Creator of your life and you can start creating by acknowledging the Now and not lose yourself in the melancholy of the past nor into the fiction of the future. Use the memory for the purpose of extracting knowledge and experience not living in it. Use the present as your vehicle to the future, not the vision of the future to cover the present.
I hope you enjoyed the information and you will do something with it. I hope your life will become better and you will be grateful for the present, for life and for the power you have discovered. I hope you will be happier, healthier and successful! Once you created the life you want, please do let me know. I love reading success stories! – firstname.lastname@example.org
Love and Peace!