Meditation “is a general term for a technique in which a person empties his mind of extraneous thought, with the intent of elevating the mind to a different level and transcend mundane concerns”. It is a practice of concentrated focus upon sound, object, breath, or attention itself to feel the present moment and be fully aware. The more you meditate the less chance you will make a mistake.Meditation is an effective way of training our minds to stay present. In this information age we live in, It’s hard to stay focused. Our minds wander around, and we are usually dwelling over the past, stressing about the future, worrying, fantasizing, and daydreaming. Meditation can help bring our minds back to the current moment, by providing us with techniques which are required to calm down our thoughts and reduce the stress level.Meditation is a gym workout for your mind, just as exercising for your body. If we don’t retrain the brain it can cause added pain. Learning proper techniques of meditating is quite straightforward, and its benefits can be felt immediately. Let’s explore some basic tips to get you started on the journey of meditation, Here we will offer you some basic tips to get started on a journey that leads to greater equanimity, joy, and acceptance!
Generally, one of the easiest ways to begin meditation is by concentrating on your breath, which is also one of the common approaches for meditating, called concentration meditation.The objective of concentration meditation is to develop a single-minded attention directed at some object: an image, a breath, a candle flame, or a word or phrase. By continually returning your attention to this object you will develop the ability to remain calm, focused, and grounded.This approach involves a person focusing on one point. This can entail following your breath, staring at the flame of a candle, repeating a mantra or a single word, counting the beads of a string, or listening to the same song repeatedly.At the beginning of your meditating journey, it will be quite challenging to focus your mind, thus start with a short duration, 5–10 minutes, then gradually work up for longer durations.The idea of this technique is to just refocus the awareness on your selected object of concentration every time you observe your mind is wandering. Instead of pursuing random ideas, you simply loosen their hold. Your concentration ability improves through this technique.
Mindful meditation is another meditation technique that has become greatly popular over the last few years.The basic concept behind this practice is to stay focused on the current moment with a disposition that is accepting and nonjudgmental. The aim is not putting a stop to thinking or empty your mind but, the notion is to stay attentive closely towards your thoughts, physical sensations, and emotions as they arise without getting involved, in assumptions, or make up stories.This is an easy exercise that demands you to stay there, at that moment, without daydreaming. However, it can lead to profound results with practice, giving you more control over your actions, allowing more room for equanimity and kindness, even in tough situations. Also, with time, this can help you better comprehend the reasons behind your stress and what can be done to alleviate them.Students follow the combination of mindfulness and concentration meditation in some meditation schools. Many disciplines demand stillness for a lesser or greater degree, relying on the method of the teacher.
Movement meditation, this practice may include walking through the woods, gardening, qigong, and other gentle forms of motion. It’s an active form of meditation where the movement guides you. Movement meditation is good for people who find peace in action and prefer to let their minds wander.
Why should you Meditate?
Meditation increases awareness of yourself and your surroundings. It is also an effective way to reduce stress and develop concentration. It also can help in developing other beneficial habits and feelings, such as a positive mood and outlook, self-discipline, healthy sleep patterns and even increased pain tolerance.When you meditate, you inject long-lasting benefits into your life that does not require extra effort or expensive membership. Trying out a style of mediation suited to your goals is a great way to improve your quality of life, even if you only have a few minutes to do it each day.Some of the reasons to meditate are:
Understanding the pain
Reduce your stress
Lower brain chatter
Relaxation is often the result of meditation, even if it isn’t your aim. A researcher named Herbert Benson, at Harvard University Medical School, conceived a term called ‘relaxation response’ in the 1970s when he researched individuals practicing transcendental meditation. Benson explained this relaxation response as an involuntary opposite response, which reduces the sympathetic nervous system’s activity.Since that time, many studies performed on relaxation response has noted short-term advantages for your nervous system, which are:
Improved circulation of Blood
Lowering of blood pressure
Lowering of heart rate
Decreased respiratory rate
Improved sense of wellbeing
Decreased cortisol levels in the blood
Current researchers are exploring now if continuous meditation practice leads to long-term advantages and recording positive impacts on the brain, including the immune system among meditators. However, it is worth mentioning again here that the aim of meditation isn’t achieving advantages. As the Eastern philosopher might say, the aim of meditating is no aim, but it is simply to remain present.
Some tips to consider in order to meditate
The way of training your mind through meditation is quite simple (and hard) than many people think. You can go through the following steps, ensure you are at a place where you could relax into meditation, set a duration, and give this process a try.
1- Select a time
Like any other habit, meditating gets easier if it becomes a part of the routine. Select a time of doing meditation every day and make sure to hold onto it.Many people find meditation most convenient in the day. However, whether it is at lunch, before going to bed, or after work, ensure if you could be consistent.
2- Pick a Spot
Similarly, opting for the same place every day can help in meditation. Although not essential, it can aid in minimizing mind wandering and the likely distractions. Sitting on the floor or folding the legs in a lotus position, aren’t necessary at all.Just look for a suitable position in which you can remain comfortable for some time, and place which feels calm and you could sit upright, and also not get too much distracted.
3- Get your Equipment (or don’t)
Spending a dime isn’t what is needed to start meditation. All that is required is a place to sit, and some will power. With that being said, there are many meditation cushions, chairs, and some other accessories for all those who prefer getting kitted out. However, a satisfactory chair or soft rug at a quiet place is actually all that is needed.
4- Set a Duration
If you are a beginner, it can be pretty helpful to you if you pick a short duration, such as 5 or 10 minutes.
5- Feeling your Breath
While meditating, focus your concentration on your breath and the way your body moves during every inspiration and expiration. Observe your shoulders, chest, and belly throughout the movement.Just breathe naturally without controlling the intensity or pace. In case of mind wandering, return your concentration towards the breath.
6- Don’t judge the wandering mind
Be kind towards your wandered mind and do not think about the content comprising your thoughts or judge yourself. Simply come back.
7- Finish with Kindness
If you have closed your eye, open them, or lift the gaze. Take some time and notice the sounds in your environment and how the body is feeling right now.That is it; this is the whole practice. You experience going away, then coming back, and all of this is done as nicely as it can be.
8- Challenges of Meditation
The approach of meditation merely looks simple, but it can turn surprisingly difficult. Yet this does not mean by any chance that you are failing.
9- Start with a Good Outlook
Approaching new meditating practice requires a healthy attitude. Try to remain relaxed, friendly, and curious as these qualities would help you during inevitable wax and wane of meditation.In case you are struggling with meditation or judging yourself, give yourself some time to relax as the purpose of this approach is not to get full control over the mind or cease thinking altogether, but to bring a calm, accepting, and compassionate approach in every situation.
10- Manage Expectations
Remember, meditation is not panaceas. You may experience difficult emotions, and random thoughts will not disappear completely. However, with time, focusing during meditation will become easier.
Self-criticism: Almost everyone has encountered some sort of self-doubt while meditating that I am doing this wrong! I cannot follow my breath! Although this is a natural impulse, it isn’t helpful.You should remember that the concept of meditation isn’t eradicating thinking. It is only to remain present with what is happening at the moment right now. Try let going of all sorts of judgments and whether you have attained your aims, as we all have the potential for mindfulness and calmness.Sleepiness: A lot of people experience sleepiness while meditating. The reason can be that the mind is overstimulated, or the body is very tired and requires some rest. However, some ways can wake you up skillfully for engaging in meditation properly. Choose walking meditation. You can listen to sounds rather than using breaths to focus your attention. Try straightening your posture and opening your eyes.Restlessness: Our bodies are so much used to staying busy that meditating can appear boring initially. If this occurs, try not to be very critical on yourself and focus on very particular sensations like your out-breath or try controlling your breathing, such as taking shorter inspiration and longer expiration. Enaam Elamassi(certified high-performance coach™) has been contributed to the article.
At least but not last
Meditation isn’t a remedy for all disses, yet it is backed by much scientific evidence that it can be beneficial to those who perform it on a regular basis.When we practice meditation, our mind learns how to access the wealth of qualities that already exist within us. And when we are able to access our most essential qualities of goodness and compassion, we naturally give them expression in the world around us because happiness starts within.If you find a little time during the morning or at night, instead of scrolling down aimlessly on your mobile phone, see what it feels like if you strive to calm down the mind or simply concentrate your random thoughts and release their hold without reacting over them.