Meditation is by far one of the most life changing practices I have incorporated into my life. Very often people have a misconception that meditation is linked to prayer. No so. Meditation is the ability to quiet the mind or the monkey chatter as yogis call it. You know what I mean. That sometimes nagging voice that doesn’t let us sleep and wakes us up in the middle of the night. The voice that keeps popping up when we are trying to read or do our work.
So how do you quiet your mind. As with any new practice we try to incorporate, it will take a little time. Find a comfortable chair or if you prefer you can just sit on the floor. Try to keep your back straight to facilitate the free flow of breathing. Close your eyes and just focus on your breath. Initially, a million thoughts and memories may pop-up. Gently put them aside and continue focusing on the breath. A technique I have used especially when the thoughts are around something I need to remember to do is to have a pad and pencil next to where I meditate and write them down when they come up. Then continue. Try 10 minutes a day. Ideally, early morning is best as a way to ease into your day. Also, first thing in the morning the mind isn’t as busy or noisy so it makes it easier.
Sit there for 10 minutes and just focus on your breath. Often it is more difficult when you begin especially if you have already checked your email, Facebook, etc. Try to leave those tasks until after you meditate to keep the mind as unencumbered as possible. You will notice that within 5 minutes the mind begins to quiet down. Some students talk about a sense of sinking or letting go. That is ideally what you want. That feeling can last from a few seconds to a few minutes. Don’t stress if you don’t feel it at first. It’s not easy to quiet the monkey chatter because its had a lot of practice. When you are done, just stand up and continue with your day.
Benefits of meditation: Reduces stress, increases focus, lowers blood pressure, and helps with anxiety and insomnia among others. I have heard people initially say, “Oh, I don’t have time to meditate.” Actually, because it reduces stress and increases focus, you will actually get more done if you start giving yourself those ten minutes.
Additional meditation techniques: Some people like to meditate gazing and candles. Others like to listen to nature sounds or meditation music. The key is you need to use whatever works for you. I meditate in silence. I feel that sometimes music can be distracting, but that’s just what works for me.
I am adding some links on meditation that I hope you find informative. Please send me your questions and comments.