Meditation sounds simple in principle – focus on one thing and block out all other thoughts! But in reality it can be harder to achieve and takes dedication and sustained practise. However the benefits far out way the commitment needed.
In some cases you may think of meditation of being a hippy thing to do, or a perhaps an extension of yoga practise. But in reality the world is a confusing and very busy place for all of us these days. Strides in technology are fantastic, but they have also created an environment where we are ‘always on’, smart phones and tablets have made it in to the bedroom that once would have been a tranquil place to rest. Just doing everyday tasks like getting lunch and coffee now provide many choices and with it many decisions.
All told many of us are stressed both in body and mind perhaps without even realising it. And this is where meditation comes in. It gives you a safe place to crowd out all of the pulls on your everyday life. In that moment you just get to concentrate on you – not your partner, your kids, or your job – just you…
A traditional pose for meditating is sitting cross legged on the floor – but find a space and position that is comfortable to you. Some people prefer a dimly lit room, others will like light, some will close their eyes, others prefer to focus on something like a lit candle – again, do whatever feels right for you. Try to carve out a period of time that will be quiet and where you will be undisturbed – and turn off any technology!
You may find it easier to relax if you do some gentle stretches and an important component is your breathing – very gradually slow down your breathing, so that you breaths in and out are calmer and more controlled.
When you first start meditating you may find it difficult to clear your mind, you will no doubt have to sit in the position for a while. Random thoughts will try and enter your head – what you are going to cook for tea, a friend you must remember to call, a sick relative, an email you forgot to send. It is not unusual for you to feel guilty for taking the time out, and to begin with you may tell yourself that you could be better spending your time on a million and one things from your ever growing to do list…
The whole point of meditation is learning to resist this inner chatter, there is no need to feel guilty for taking a small amount of time for yourself each day. With practise you will find that following your sessions any decisions that were troubling you now seem easier to take, and you will be able to prioritise what really needs to get done and frankly what can wait.
Some people find it easier to take themselves on a guided tour of their imagination – you might think of a place that you felt really happy (perhaps a beach on holiday), then can you imagine the salty taste on your lips, the gentle breeze on your skin, the smell of the suntan lotion and the gentle chatter of people in the background, the warmth of the sun and the relaxed glow you felt…Gradually allow this visualisation to carry over your whole body until all of the tension in your muscles melt away and your mind goes quiet. Keep breathing deeply and slowly and keep working to keep your mind clear of any thoughts.
Regular practise should see you reap the benefits; you should feel more enlightened and happier on a deeper level.