People often ask me about the virtues of meditation, or they've heard that meditation's a good thing to do but don't know how to do it. Sometimes, people get confused about what they're supposed to be doing whilst meditating...
So why meditate? Well, meditation helps us in several ways, it can help us become less affected by the chattering of the mind, the inner dialogue, that can too easily steer us off course many times during every day. Meditation helps us by bringing us back to centre, it teaches us over time, to focus our awareness on our intuition, our hearts, instead of our mind. Meditation can help us to become deeply relaxed whilst remaining alert and mentally 'in the moment' and can help us to learn to become more detached from drama, both our own ego drama's and the dramas of those around us.
Our place of power is in the present moment, not the past or the future, we cannot change the past and we can only shape the future by being fully in the present moment, now. Yet it's often either the past or future where people get stuck in their minds, thinking about things that have happened or that might happen. It's natural for the mind to be thinking but it's important to become detached from the thoughts as they race through our minds. It's too easy to get caught up in a train of thought that often becomes negative and unproductive. We can easily waste so much time and energy in negative thought, which only leads to feeling miserable, weak or tired. Meditation helps us to become more self aware of how we use our minds and helps us to take back the reins rather than letting the mind run roughshod over our day and our lives!
When we have more peace mentally, we have greater clarity, which helps us to make more positive, love-based decisions and choices. This creates a more harmonious and healthy life for us. Meditating regularly provides us with the opportunity to become more at peace with ourselves, others and with life. It helps us to determine the truth about how we feel, what we believe and what we really want in life. It helps us to know ourselves more fully, which helps us to connect with others in more authentic, honest and love-based ways. It also accelerates the bodies' natural ability to heal itself because it relaxes so deeply. Our bodies' respond instantly to our thoughts, so a calm more positive mind set will help achieve a much healthier, stronger and more vital body.
Some people get confused about what meditation is, often, they believe it's about stopping thinking. This is not the case. Meditation is about quieting the mind and over time, becoming more detached and less affected by your thoughts. You cannot stop the mind from thinking but by becoming less drawn into the drama of the mind/ego, we can gain more clarity and truth. It is usually inevitable that you will catch yourself going off into a train of thoughts during meditation and that's ok, simply bring your awareness back to the present moment and start again. Accepting the mind and how it operates is the key.
As with all healing, acceptance is key to transformation. When we try to do something, we actually create resistance. It's the same with trying to stop thinking! All that happens is a struggle and a sense of failure! Meditation promotes a more steady, patient approach to life. We must accept that over time, things will change. The self discipline of meditating each day brings rewards gradually. It's not a quick fix but a new way of living. The virtues of meditation become clearer over time, we feel more at peace, we have more energy and are less affected by drama, both internal and external. It's the dramas of the mind that throw us off course in life, we can too easily follow them along, like our very own soap opera, getting completely sucked into the fear-based ways of the ego, until we've lost our way and ourselves.
There are many types of meditation and we must find one that suits us. I found the simple 'watching the breath' meditation to be the best for me, as it helps to bring attention back to the body and heart. Through watching the breath in and out, it keeps us in the present moment. It's grounding, relaxing and energising all at the same time! I find that Reiki energy flows in and the meditation becomes very healing. We must make time to regroup each day, meditation is the perfect way to do this. Find even a few minutes to relax and breathe, you'll soon feel the benefit. Don't expect too much, even if you achieve a few moments of peace between thoughts, you're achieving greatness! Gradually the peace increases and clarity ensues.
Sometimes we need to try out several different approaches, so don't despair if you haven't found the meditation that suits you yet. Simply try something else! If you'd like more information on the meditation I use, click on 'read more' at the end of this post. I've been meditating every day for nineteen years now, I find it has become just as important as brushing my teeth in the morning! At first, meditating was hit and miss but as I felt the benefits, it became easier to find the time in my day for it. Just remember, breathe and return to the moment that is now, the more you do this, the more peace you will have within you and you'll enjoy life so much more!
Watching the breath meditation:
Begin by finding a quiet place where you won't be disturbed. Sit comfortably and take a few deep breaths. Slowly allow your body to unwind and relax. Don't worry about your thoughts, just spend time focusing on each part of your body, from your feet up to your head, imagining each part loosening and becoming very comfortable.
When you have done this, begin to notice your patterns of breathing, don't try to change them or control the breathing, just observe what your body is doing and accept it peacefully. Bring your attention to your chest, noticing your in breath and then the out breath. All the time you're focusing on your breathing, you're thoughts become quieter and less pushy. Your attention is on your breath and body instead. The body becomes still and relaxed more and more fully.
When you continue to focus your attention on your breathing, you may find that sometimes, your attention wanders back to the thoughts in your mind. That's ok. When you notice yourself thinking, just take another breath and go back to watching your breathing in and out again. The process is simple. Imagine the thoughts going in one ear and out the other, as if on a conveyor belt. Allow them to be there, to exist. At the same time though, let them go, notice the thought and let it go. Come back to the breath. Every time, come back to the breath.
Continue meditating for twenty minutes. If that's too much, then commit to ten minutes, every day. Build up to twenty minutes. Two sessions of twenty minutes each day is the optimum but just ten minutes a day will make a huge difference. Be flexible and fit it in when you can. Make it a priority! Meditation really is so powerful and we need to realise that rushing around being busy doesn't always achieve as much as simply sitting and being for a few minutes each day.