What is meditation and why is it so important?
The word meditation is derived from two Latin words: Meditari –meaning to think, to dwell upon, to exercise the mind; and Mederi meaning to heal. Its Sanskrit derivation Medha means wisdom.
Meditation can be said to describe a state of focused, concentrated attention on some object, thought or awareness. It means turning our attention, our focus, inward to the mind itself. This helps promote a state of calmness and peace so that the mind and body can come together in greater harmony.
* Do you suffer from stress and anxiety?
* Are you constantly on the go?
* Do you worry all of the time?
* Do you feel like you never have enough sleep and are constantly tired?
* And when was the last time you escaped the responsibilities of everyday life?
Then meditation can help you!
Meditation can help you to relax your mind & body - and even help you to open up to your own intuitive awareness if that is what you are wishing for.
Please be aware however that meditation is not a quick fix to all of your problems, it is a tool you can use to help you release stress and negativity from your everyday life.
Meditation is not fluff and whoo whoo. It doesn’t involve having to wear velvet robes, chant or burn incenses or candles or to join some weird out there religious group...although all of this does exist should you wish to explore it. There are actually many ways to meditate and if you were to Google it you would get snowed under with all of the information... Meditation is not hard but again it is up to you to the way you would like to experience it.
Meditation is now becoming more a normal part of everyday life. It is used regularly in some schools with some amazing benefits and results; it is used by the marines, Google and it is being more and more widely prescribed by the medical profession and health care professionals as a great source of stress relief and healing.
Some of the benefits of meditation are:
*Lowers blood pressure and can regulate your heart rate.
*Relaxes the physical body and muscles... allowing more oxygen and blood to flow into the muscles.
*Allows you to think more clearly.
*And it forces the mind to focus for a specific period of time.
It is brilliant for the mind, body and soul and it is usually in these quiet times that flashes of inspiration or those ‘Ah ha’ moments come to you. This works because you allow the mind chatter to quiet for a while... there is a saying that you cannot solve a problem with the same mind that created it.
Whether you realise it or not, we are always thinking, always filling our mind with stuff. (the mind chatter) It is said that we have around 60,000 thoughts a day and two million bits of information coming at us each second. Now that I have told you this, I want you to be aware of just WHAT you are thinking. And no, I don’t mean all 60,000 thoughts, just the constant thoughts that seem to stick with you. Are they fear based and negative or are they happy and joyous thoughts? Just take a mental note. You really will surprise yourself by your thoughts. In having those random 60,000 thoughts a day, make sure you don’t waste 59,999 of them on negative fear based thinking!
So How Do You Meditate?
Have you ever sat on a beach and been so taken in by the sound of the crashing waves and the beautiful surrounds, or watched a sunset mesmerized by its beauty, or walked in nature taking in all of the sights, sounds and smells? These are all forms of meditation. What about laying on the lounge when a beautiful piece of music was playing and your mind wandered to some distant beautiful location? Yep meditating!
The basis of meditating is to start by putting yourself in a comfortable position either sitting or laying, somewhere where you won’t be distracted for about ten to twenty minutes...making sure that your phones are off and start to focus on your breathing, your breathe...focus on breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth and concentrating on that... now naturally your thoughts, your mind chatter will kick in with things like what will I do for dinner or did I turn the iron off or did I lock the doors...etc etc. Just know that mind chatter is something that we all have and is part of those 60000 random thoughts we have...the idea is to just acknowledge the thoughts and to then let them go and return your focus back to your breathing. If you have to – in your mind say “I will deal with you later” because this is your time to focus your mind not have your mind focus you!
Just concentrate on your breathing. You can start by just noticing your breathe not changing it at all just noticing it...then after a few minutes you can use rhythmic breathing taking deeper breathes in through the nose... for say a count of six, hold for a count of two and then breathe out for a count of six...then do it all over again...and again do this for a few minutes and that can be all that you need to do...or you can then while breathing still just take your awareness around your body and notice where any tension may be...neck, shoulders and jaw are usually mine... then i just relax those areas.
Playing relaxing music is also a great way to meditate and there are many meditations that you can find on the internet or guided meditation cds that you can purchase. There may also be meditation groups in your area that you can join if you wish as well...but don’t settle for the first one you find if it is not for you.
Know that when you are in a relaxed state of meditation do not worry if you fall asleep and on the other end of the scale know that even though you are relaxed you are still aware of your surroundings so there is nothing to fear.
The thing is not to give up if meditation is new to you...to meditate well takes practise and please do not be discouraged if you do not achieve the results you are hoping for straight away... just take your time, be easy on yourself and take baby steps. The health benefits are simply amazing.
And please just as a side note... NEVER meditate while driving or operating machinery and upon coming out of your relaxed state have a big drink of water just to help bring you fully back to daily waking consciousness.