We all have busy lives and along with that comes busy minds, jumping from one idea to another, emotions and memories come and go, sometimes unconsciously but most of the time they dominate our thoughts…this can lead to lack of concentration and difficulty sleeping.
During meditation you become aware of how many thoughts go through our head and how little we live in the here and now.
We are all different and discovering which approach works best for you can take time, especially with so many different options.
The most common forms of meditation are:
Meditation is an essential part of Eastern spiritual traditions such as Buddhism and Hinduism. Depending on the tradition, spiritual meditation may also include elements of silent, spoken, or chanted prayer. In non-theistic traditions meditation is more focused on self-awareness and self-actualization and supports practitioners in becoming the best human beings that they can be.
This meditation technique, which has become extremely popular in the West, is based on the teachings of the Buddha. Mindfulness meditation can be instrumental in helping you understand how your mind works. This self-knowledge serves as a foundation for overcoming dissatisfaction, impatience, intolerance and many of the other habits that keep us from living fuller, happier lives.
Many forms of meditation encourage you to remain in one position, but movement meditation focuses on the body in motion. Walking meditation is one form of mindful movement and can be associated with yoga or tai chi and other martial arts.
Having a commitment to some form of physical discipline is very beneficial, you can expand your awareness to include anything that keeps you moving: gardening, walking the dog, washing up, playing golf, etc. In each case, the movement of your body is the object of meditation.
In this technique, you concentrate exclusively on whatever it is that you are doing: it is the exact opposite of multi-tasking.
One traditional kind of focused meditation involves drinking a cup of tea. Here, you train in stopping all other forms of activity – no checking your mobile phone, no jumping up to let the cat out, no adding to the shopping list – and focus your attention exclusively to drinking your cup of tea. You might notice the sensation of warmth, the aroma, the heft of the cup in your hands. Whenever the mind wanders, you come back to drinking tea.
Whatever the object of your meditation, you should focus your entire attention on it and with practice, your ability to concentrate will improve and you may rediscover the joy of being present.
In this meditation technique, an image that creates a particular feeling is recalled. Close our eyes and imagine a beautiful mountain lake, an open sky, a sandy beach.
In one well-known mindfulness exercise, we imagine our thoughts and emotions as being leaves on a stream that the current gently sweeps downstream. This is said to give meditators distance from unwelcome mental activity and bring a sense of peace.
Many spiritual paths, from Western religions to Buddhist and Hindu traditions, recommend chanting and mantra meditation. While chanting, the mind should be focused on the sound of the words and melody.
A repetitive sound, word, or phrase is used to clear the mind and allow your spiritual strengths to reveal themselves. Mantras are sometimes accompanied by a melody, but not always. “Om” is one common sound used in mantra meditation.
Those who enjoy chanting meditation often discover that their practice cultivates a peaceful, yet alert, state of mind. As with any true spiritual practice, it is important to find a qualified teacher.
Meditation Made Simple
No matter how you choose to meditate, here are few tips for the beginner
Set up a meditation space. Somewhere calm, quiet, and not too cluttered. This space can be anywhere, indoor or outdoor.
Setting up a comfortable atmosphere will help to create the right mood for meditation and you can return to the same space to practice.
Choose a time when your mind is calm.
As soon as you wake up in the morning, before looking at your phone, computer, or talking to anyone would be ideal.
Sit comfortably, with your spine tall and your chin tucked down slightly. Make sure you are warm and supported by a wall or blanket if you need to.
Breathe deeply. Regulating your breath will help your mind and body to relax.
You could start with five minutes deep breathing and then slow it down.
Your mind will wander, thoughts will be jumping in. Allow them to pass by. Do not attach yourself to the thoughts. Acknowledge them and allow them to pass by.
Setting your attention on a point may help you focus.
You can use an image or bring your attention to one of your chakras or even one of your body parts, like your heart. Keep the eyes closed and focus on your intention, resting the mind here.
Meditation comes when you reach a state of pure thought. You are aware of the mind and thus can witness the self.
You can begin to practice for ten minutes a day, building up your practice as you get used to it and find more stillness.
We are getting to know our true selves, and that is a beautiful thing!