We all know meditation is something that is encouraged, it’s supposed to be great for well-being, overall health and mood researchers have now found scientific data to support the merits of meditation and why it’s so important for us to use as a wellness tool with the stressful lifestyles we lead. Meditation improves anxiety levels 60% of the time. Meditation can reduce the risk of being hospitalized for coronary disease by 87%. Meditation can reduce the wake time of people with insomnia by 50%. The evidence is clear, it is no longer an esoteric practice reserved for the monasteries, it is helpful in modern day living- for better sleep, for higher energy levels, for meaningful relationships, for better health- now we all want that, isn’t it?
Admittedly, meditation takes practice and commitment, I have been meditating daily for the last 2 years and it’s an uncompromised part of my wellness routine, but getting started can be a daunting task, I’ve put together a structure to help you begin this beautiful journey.
- Appreciate the importance of boredom
Often I hear a lot of people say “I tried meditation, but it’s not for me” when I question why, the answer resembles some form of “it’s too boring”. We live in a hyper stimulated environment and feel that if we aren’t ‘doing something’ or ‘achieving something’ or ‘moving things forward’ we are wasting our time. Actually, it’s when we are not doing, we cultivate a fertile environment for creativity, imagination and intuition. Doing less helps us to decompress and this improvesour neural circuitry enhancing brain plasticity and our ability to learn.
- Connect with body
So much of the time we live up in our head, we only really notice our bodies when we are in pain, right? Taking time to scan the body and notice where we hold our tension is very therapeutic, I find that this loving attention itself is what ignites self-healing. Bring your awareness to 3 points, these are 3 potent energy centers of the body, the belly, chest and forehead. Place your hands on the area that is calling for your attention, where it feels tired or tense, simply connecting back to the body creates somatic integration and turns the mind inward to the physical presence rather than outward on the constant flow of thoughts.
- Listen to your breath
As we sit quietly the mind may naturally wonder, use the rhythms of your breath to stay in the present, don’t try to manipulate, extend or deepen your natural breathing pattern, just watch it, notice the expansion/contraction in the body as you breathe and how the breath in feels cooling and the breath out is warm on your upper lip
- Permission to be silent
Savor this moment to be quiet, not just in speech but also in your mental rumination. It’s the ego that constantly chatters, when we can choose that silence we go beyond comparisons to sit in acceptance of right now. We are bombarded with so much information, opinions and judgements all this business and stress drains our energy, this sacred space is something you can tune into by yourself for an instant energetic recharge.
- Enjoy your own company
We often find when we are alone, we look for ways to distract ourselves and entertain ourselves, we grab our phones and scroll until something captures our attention, this is an avoidance behavior, when we can bask in our own presence we begin our own journey of self-love, don’t run away from yourself- you are a treasure!
- Compassionate about coming back to present
The nature of the mind is to wonder, it hops from one thought to another, in fact we entertain about 80,000 thoughts a day, 90% of which are the same thoughts as yesterday. When you do go off on a tangent, be gentle with yourself, don’t judge your practice that you are doing it ‘wrong’, smile and congratulate yourself for noticing that your mind wondered and then come back to the present moment.
- Transcend the mind
Find your comfort, don’t feel that you must have your back stiffly upright or that you have to contort your legs in a lotus position, use a backrest, support yourself with a cushion, grab a blanket, the more your physical body is relaxed the more you can bring your awareness inward. As you start to observe the mind, the breath, and the sensations you will establish yourself in the witness stance, the unchanging place of non-judgment where you can notice what comes up and let go of them too, if you can notice the changes there must be a place within that’s constant, right? It’s this is vantage point which is the state of meditation where the individual self of self dissolves and you feel a deep unity and connection with the universal self.
I hope this inspire you to give meditation a go, set a timer so that you can commit to each day, even if it is just 10 minutes to start with, try to do it at the same place and the same time each day to create a meditation ritual, as you practice you can extend the time to 15 or 20 minutes. If you have any questions or need further information feel free to connect with me on firstname.lastname@example.org, we can also schedule private meditation classes online to guide you through the process step-by-step, namaste!