We cleanse our physical bodies everyday so why not also clean up our emotional and mental bodies. Our crazy busy lives can be so stressful and filled with such highs and lows. To be able to live a balanced life, it is essential that we create some time to quiet our minds, shut out the world and come home to ourselves. Through meditation we can create a sanctuary within ourselves where we can always go for healing and rejuvenation.
Here are some of the benefits of meditation:
- Meditation reduces stress.
- It improves concentration.
- It encourages a healthy lifestyle.
- The practice increases self-awareness.
- It increases happiness.
- Meditation increases acceptance.
- It slows aging.
- The practice benefits cardiovascular and immune health.
There are different practices of meditation. One approach is focus based like in kundalini, mantra or metta meditation. Another approach is awareness based like in Vipassana or mindfulness meditation. I go back and forth with both as they both assist me in flowing with life. Sometimes I choose to harness the power of my mind to heal or to manifest something. At other times I sit and just feel, watching my thoughts pass by and being in non judgment about what arises (or at least try to ).
I love starting my day first thing with meditation. I use it to clear out any fears and to get my day moving in a positive light. I can visualize my day and see it going as smoothly as i’ve planned. I end my session with a Metta meditation or loving kindness meditation. Sending love to myself and to all beings, finishing with the mantra “may all beings be happy”.
To get started drop any expectations of what you think mediation is like and just be open to any possibility unfolding. Start with a short amount of time and be easy on yourself when your mind wanders.
- Sit in a comfortable position with an erect spine. So that life force can flow upward through the spine to the centers of higher consciousness in the brain. Close your eyes.
- Inhale and exhale slowly to release any tension in your body and to release any worries and thoughts. Repeat 3 to 6 times.
- Gently focus your attention on your breath. It’s like a natural door that connects ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ Zen Master Toni Packer says.
- Watch your breath flowing in and out. Let it flow naturally. When thoughts arise, gently let them go. Don’t try to stop your thoughts, acknowledge its presence and then go back to the breath. Pamela Stokes Eggleston, founder of Yoga2sleep and Mindful Yoga Therapy for Veterans says “Those spaces in between noticing your thoughts are the sweet spots,”. “It’s those spaces before you even notice that you had a thought. That could be literally 2.5 seconds, but those spaces happen, and those spaces matter.”
- Maintain an equanimous state through each moment with anything that arises such as thoughts, emotions or judgements.
- Start with 5 mins and then work your way up to 10 and then 20. This is building your awareness and mindfulness.
- Smile at yourself and be glad you started to take care of you and your inner world. Stick with it. Build your practice to reap the benefits.
Guided meditations are also very useful. There are so many on the web, from heart chakra openings, angel healings, cutting cords and releasing from past trauma / heartbreaks. I will post some of my faves shortly.
How I got started: I had an ex-boyfriend who was an avid meditator. I would see him meditate every day for an hour sometimes and he would just sit there. I was like what the heck are you doing just sitting there? Isn’t there better things you could be doing with your time? Then came the judgements “that is so phooey”, “such a waste of time” and so not for me . After all the judgements passed and all the resistance had come and gone, I finally decided to sit down and just give it try. That’s when it all began. I had to just sit down for myself. No one else was going to be able to explain it to me or give me an example of what meditation was like. We are unique and our practice will be unique, it is such a personal journey within ourselves (also with higher beings if you believe in that). I started my meditation journey with a 10 day Vipassana retreat which completely propelled me and my practice to a whole ‘nother level. Through my meditation practice I’ve found strength, guidance and a relationship with myself I never knew was even possible.
Do you meditate? How did you get started meditation? or what keeps you from starting a meditation practice. Share your thoughts in the comments.