What Are The Benefits To Meditating?
I have known about the art of meditation for as long as I can remember. I have witnessed my father using it all my life, he first started it as a young adult and he is now 82. He is a great advocate of the benefits to meditating.
For me, I have only really embraced the practice in more recent times, but it has helped me greatly.
Initially, when I started I would end up falling asleep, apparently, this is completely normal and probably symptomatic of the time of the evening I was practicing.
With two small children picking my moments to meditate can often be difficult in a busy and bustling home. So mornings for me, for now, works best!
However, I have found that meditation has helped me in most other areas of my life. I have become more at peace with situations that I cannot control, less worried about their outcome.
I have become more focused on stuff I can control and express gratitude and appreciation for what I have.
More and more of us are turning to the practice of meditation as a way to re-charge our inner system in order to cope with the stress and strains of everyday living.
It is a well-known fact that meditating can reduce stress, which in some cultures is thought to be the root cause of the majority of illnesses suffered by so many.
Meditation while reducing stress also plays a big part in improving your immune system, which in this current climate can only be a good thing.
Other inflammatory disorders including asthma can also be improved by the act of meditating, along with managing blood pressure.
What Is The Best Way To Meditate?
There are lots of different ways in which we can meditate. For a beginner, the simplest way to meditate is to find a comfortable seat in a quiet spot and close your eyes.
Some more experienced meditators may invest in a meditation chair!
Remember to breathe naturally, it really is that simple, do not try to control your breath, focus on it and notice how your body responds and moves to each inhale and exhale of air.
At this point, if you are beginner, it might be best to try meditating for a short period. I would recommend trying it for 2 minutes each morning before your day begins.
And when you are able to sit still and relax for 2 minutes without distraction then move to 3 minutes and so on until you can build it up to 10 minutes sitting still and relaxing.
Easy Meditation for Beginners
The following practice should be straightforward to follow and help you to become more at ease with the habit of meditating.
Remember as with all new habits or skills it will take practice, so you cannot expect to master it all at once.
Starting small and building up a little each day means you will get better at practicing meditating.
So start off by sitting comfortably for 2 minutes. Do this first thing in the morning, preferably before your “house” has awoken and set yourself a reminder – a little YOU time before you start the day!
For now don’t worry about the how part, it makes no difference where you sit when you start to meditate, whether you are sitting on a chair, a couch, a bed or the ground!
If possible sit cross-legged, it is only for 2 minutes so don’t worry about comfort, just sit somewhere quiet.
Now that you are seated and focused, turn your thoughts internally. How are you feeling at this present moment? How does your body feel? There are no right or wrong answers just observe and acknowledge what you are feeling.
And now for your breath. Pay attention to your breaths. Follow your breath as it comes in and travels around and down to your lungs. Try counting “one” as you breathe in and then “two” as you breathe out. Repeat until you count to 10 and then restart.
If you follow the above exercise for just 2 minutes a day for a week you will begin to build up the habit of practicing meditating.
2 minutes may seem really easy and if so you can increase it by another 2 minutes and continue that for another week and so on.
The idea is to build up the length of time slowly at first so that you can achieve longer times the longer you practice meditating.
When you notice your mind wandering and wander it will, that is a certainty, just come back to counting starting at “one” again. It is quite normal for our focus to wane, just acknowledge the thought and move on.
These interruptions are part of who you are, they are not your enemy rather see them as friends and treat them as such. Be friendly in your attitude to them.
Types of Meditation styles
Meditating is very much a personal thing. There is no right or wrong way of doing it. So do not think you are “doing it wrong”, you are not doing it wrong, you are doing it your way. Be happy that you are doing it!
Often it is said that you should clear your mind in order to meditate and as a result, a lot of thinking around meditating is about stopping your thoughts, preventing them from popping into your head and clearing your mind.
But really that is not very practical. We are all human if you have thoughts popping in while you are meditating that is completely normal. We all have thoughts. Just try to practice focussing your attention when your mind wanders.
Of course sometimes in deep meditation, your mind can become clear and that is quite okay.
After a few weeks and once you have managed to focus your mind perhaps when you do have thoughts while meditating instead of returning to focus your mind, try staying with the thought(s) or feelings that pop up.
Stay and see where they lead, what kind of thoughts or feelings are they? Are they positive or negative? Be curious as to why you are having this thought or feeling, what is going on inside your mind?
This is a very useful way of meditating as it allows us to get to know ourselves and perhaps go some way to understanding our thoughts and how our mind works. As you get to know yourself do so in a positive manner, like getting to know a friend.
Another way of meditating once you have become accustomed to focussing your attention and following your breath is to perform a full-body scan.
Start at the soles of your feet — how do those feel? Slowly move to your toes, the tops of your feet, your ankles, all the way to the top of your head.
Or focussing externally on the light, sounds and energy around you is also something that can be done while meditating.
One day can be the light, fix your eyes to one spot and then notice the light in the room you are sitting in.
Another day, just focus on noticing sounds and then another day, try to notice the energy in the room all around you.
Just remember once you have started the practice of meditation it really can be done anywhere. If the morning routine has to be moved then do not fret, you can meditate while travelling, in your office, in the park, out for a walk, anywhere!
Make a commitment to yourself, commit to practicing meditation for at least a month, lock in the promise to yourself. You deserve this act of self-love because YOU are WORTH it.
And remember when you have finished your meditation, be grateful that you took that time for yourself, that you stuck to your commitment, that you are deserving of that self-love, that you took the time to take care of YOU to get to know yourself.
Above all else, enjoy the most amazing 2 or, fill in the blanks_______ minutes of your life
Let me know how you get on in the comments below and what techniques work best for you, I would love to hear from you.