Meditation is an age-old practice that is observed in many religious and spiritual practices across the world. More recently, however, meditation made its way into the secular world.
Scientists, schools, and government agencies are studying and implementing meditation practices into everyday life. Increasing physical calmness and relaxation as well as mental balance and productivity are just a few benefits that these institutions see in regular meditation practices. Research about the processes and effects of mediation is growing, and meditation is becoming more accepted scientifically.
4 Ways to Meditate Even When You Think You’re Not Good At It
Mindfulness meditation is a more recently uncovered form of meditation that is more accessible and relatable to the mainstream public than traditional forms of meditation. The introduction of mindfulness meditation has brought more attention to the benefits in both personal and work life. Mindfulness meditation aims at decreasing anxiety, depression, and shifting people’s thoughts to happiness, relaxation and balance.
Meditation is a gateway.
It is a conscious method of focusing on the moment. Meditation can take one’s focus away from problems in the external world. Through removing external stimulus, we are able to focus on breathing, thought, and ourselves.
As a practice that trains the mind, meditation can be used to increase consciousness about the world around, and about oneself. With stillness, breath and posture, meditation can take our minds and bodies to a place of greater understanding.
Meditation is a technique utilized to relax, unwind and clear the mind. By narrowing focus through counting breath, reciting mantras or other seemingly simple activities, one can grow to understand the world around them better. Simplifying thought can create room for prolonged single point concentration and ultimate realization.
Before we jump into how to meditate, let’s clear up a few common myths.
#1 I have to go somewhere quiet.
While you may want to practice somewhere quiet if you are reciting a mantra, or doing primordial-sound meditation (simply so you don’t bother other people), it is not necessary to be locked away in a quiet space. Being able to meditate in the middle of a busy office, or on a bench in a busy park is actually great for your meditation practices. Being able to meditate with the busy world happening around us is a feat that strong only strong minds can accomplish.
#2 I have to meditate for hours.
Being able to meditate for hours can be great for the mind and body. However, meditating for just 10 minutes twice a day can be extremely beneficial. Though we lead busy lives, there are executives who have not missed meditation in decades. If it is a priority to increase productivity and decrease anxiety or stress, then meditation should be part of your regular routine.
#3 I am supposed to have divine experiences.
Meditation is not meant to reveal grand visions locked inside your mind. While having revelations during or after meditation can occur, it is not the driving factor as to why to practice. Do not think you are going to see colors, meet angels, or even levitate. Having inspiring feelings during meditation is great, but the true effects of meditation will be seen when not meditating; when we feel our focus increasing, our minds clearer, and bodies more relaxed.
So, you want to learn how to meditate? Follow these techniques to free your mind.
Transcendental meditation, mindfulness-based stress reduction, and primordial sound meditation are all forms of focused attention meditation that work to stop the incessant flow of internal commentary. The goal is to focus on one point until the focus almost disappears, opening your mind and heart to reality. They aim at reducing thoughts, enabling us to see beyond our egos and accept reality for what it is.
While there are some helpful practices for meditation, they are not necessary required. They help remove distractions to aid in maintaining focus. For those who are interested in diving a bit deeper, here are a few helpful practices.
- Remove shoes
- Remove all jewelry
- Remove eyeglasses, hairbands, etc.
- Sit in a chair with feet flat on the ground OR
- Sit on the ground with legs crossed
- Hands can either be with the backs or palms on the knees
- Close eyes
Now that we are comfortable in our setting, lets learn a few meditation techniques.
A simple and effective form of meditation. Take 10 minutes out of the day. Close your eyes. Breathe in for 5 seconds through the nose. Hold it for 3 seconds. Then breathe out for 5 seconds through the mouth. Hold the empty lungs for 3 seconds. Repeat for 10 minutes. Be sure to count each breath in your mind. This takes focus away from any external stimuli and onto the body and mind. One trick with counting breath is to wear earplugs. They help block out additional auditory stimulus.
This style should be practiced twice a day for about 15-20 minutes. The activity includes reciting a mantra aloud that has no real meaning with eyes closed. Think of Adam Sandler in the movie Anger Management reciting “Goosfraba.” The mantra should be assigned by a certified instructor, and kept private. With transcendental meditation, breathing is not controlled like when counting breath. Instead, the focus is on reciting the mantra.
Primordial Sound Meditation
Spend 15-20-minutes reciting a mantra that is assigned to you based on the position of the moon at the time of your birth. “Ohm” is a common primordial sound that acts as a meditation vehicle placed before ones assigned mantra. While primordial sound meditation is similar to transcendental meditation, it creates a faster and deeper state of focus. The mantra is so strong that less emphasis is put on how the mantra is recited, and more on what is recited.
This is the term for simple physical activities that require one to focus. Examples include cleaning, cooking, running, or even painting your nails. These acts is easy for one to physically complete, but still requires thought, attention and focus. When walking, working out, doodling, or painting, notice all of the tiny differences. For example, when drawing, notice how wide the pen is, how the ink absorbs into the paper, how the color changes when you draw faster or slower etc. Activities that may seem mindless are actually not if one concentrates on observation.
Meditation is great for the mind and body. In our busy lives, we hardly have time to be still. Allow yourself to incorporate stillness into your lifestyle. It will reward you in ways you can’t imagine.
Meditation is a tool that anyone can use. Even you can learn the right techniques to become a greater version of yourself! Through daily practices you will be able drive your focus and understanding to new heights. Remember that only a few minutes a day is necessary. Try meditating first thing when you wake up, and right before you go to bed. This can clear the mind before the day, and relax your body before you sleep at night.
When should you begin meditating?
How about right now? Meditate right now, for 5 minutes. Put your feet flat on the ground and conduct a breathing meditation. Allow the stimuli around you to fade as you concentrate on your breath.
When you are feeling especially stressed, anxious or just need to relax, try these meditation practices to ease your troubles and inspire positive activity.