It was only 100 years ago that meditation was believed to be a ‘woo woo’ process practiced by those living in India, China and Japan. In the west, it was a topic for scholars and philosophers. Now, the western world has fully embraced the practice and benefits of meditation.
And, why not?
Meditation is a natural, holistic way to manage stress, anxiety and many other mental and physical health issues.
But you don’t need to have health issues to practice meditation.
You can use it just to relax after a hard day at work. You can meditate alone in your quiet place, or in a retreat where professionals will guide you to achieve maximum success.
There are many different techniques for meditation but the basics of all of them are the same: mindfulness, focus, and breathing.
What is meditation?
According to Wikipedia, meditation is a practice where individuals use to focus on breathing, a particular object, thought, or activity to achieve an emotionally stable state.
Sadhguru looks at how the purpose of meditation is not just to make one ecstatic, it is to create a “space” between you and what is your body and mind.
Mindfulness is the core of all meditation techniques. Become aware of this moment and your presence in space without evaluation.
There are seven attitudes of mindfulness:
- Non–judging – be an impartial witness to your experience
- Patience – allow things to unfold in their time
- Beginner’s mind – keep your mind open to new experiences
- Trust – accept that it is perfectly OK to make mistakes
- Non–striving – pay attention to what is unfolding without trying to change anything
- Acceptance – accept things as they are
- Letting go – sometimes you hold on to emotions or thoughts that hold you back. Learn to let them go
“You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes every day – unless you’re too busy; then you should sit for an hour.” – Zen Proverb
Benefits of meditation
Modern life is lightning–paced. Many people are overworked and stressed by the pressures of a modern world including inflation, health issues and many more.
Take a break from things that overwhelm you. Putting aside worries even for just a few minutes is refreshing and the benefits can continue even after you end the meditation.
Improved focus and concentration
Meditation can train your mind to stay focused. This will help you in your personal and professional life to achieve better results and reduce the time you need to complete tasks.
When we pay attention to our thoughts and emotions, we discover their deeper meaning and origins. In that way, we become self-aware and gain a deeper understanding of ourselves and our habits.
Enhanced physical health
Studies have been done to discover if meditation has a positive impact on health. They have shown that meditation can lower high blood pressure, ease chronic pain, help battle insomnia, and has many other benefits for physical health.
How to start with meditation
You can meditate in solitude and the peace of your own home or designated space, or join group meditation where experts will guide you through the process of relaxation. Either way, the principles are the same.
Sit or lie down. Make yourself comfortable. Pay attention to correct posture so you don’t experience pain or discomfort during the session.
Close your eyes and focus on your breath. Pay attention to the sensation of the air entering and leaving your body. If your mind wanders and unwanted thoughts start to appear, gently redirect your attention back to your breath. If it helps, you can try a simple mantra that will help you focus.
There is no wrong way to meditate but there are some things you should consider to maximise effect.
Start with an achievable goal. It is not easy to sit still and concentrate for a long time. Five minutes is good enough for a beginner. As you get more comfortable, you can gradually increase the duration of your sessions. The important thing is to be kind to yourself and let go of any expectations or judgments.
Meditation helps you better understand who you are and teach you to be kind to yourself and compassionate to others. Startign with just a few minutes a day can give you focus and improve mental and physical health. It is easy to learn and practice the basics of meditation. For more advanced techniques or for those who like the company, there are retreats with experts to guide you through sessions.
It is important to have time for yourself every day. You need and deserve to relax and meditation is the easiest and most convenient way to do just that.