What is Meditation and what are the benefits?
Do you meditate?
Do you know how to meditate? Do you think meditation is sitting cross-legged on the floor chanting?
Well, it is actually a simple process that is different for everyone. Don’t be intimidated, it’s really very simple.
“It feels good. Kinda like when you have to shut your computer down, just sometimes when it goes crazy, you just shut it down and when you turn it on, it’s okay again. That’s what meditation is to me.” – Ellen DeGeneres
“Meditation is a lifelong gift. It’s something you can call on at any time. I think it’s a great thing.” – Paul McCartney
“The philosophies behind meditation are very current today and are a way of finding some sort of peace.” – Orlando Bloom
What Is Meditation?
Meditation is the practice of quieting your mind and releasing the stress and tension that you may be feeling. There are several different types of meditation and ways to experience it. While you can meditate wherever you are you may want to start out early in the morning before you get caught up in the busyness of the day.
How do you meditate?
First, choose a quiet place to sit. In can be indoors or out, on the floor or on your favorite chair. Turn off your cell phone and take your home phone off the hook. Don’t worry; it’s only going to be for about 15 minutes or so. Sit quietly and start with a few deep breaths. Calm yourself as you focus on your breathing as you slow it down a little more each time.
Now you can either pick a focal point and put all your attention on it or you can pick a phrase and repeat it until you are just involved in repeating the words over and over. You can choose to say a prayer if you like. Or bring up an image in your mind of someone special that relaxes you – a favorite pet, your child or grandchild.
You could also meditate while you are walking. If you take a morning walk every morning or even after dinner, you could take this opportunity to meditate. Start by focusing on your legs or feet as you walk. After a few minutes, your mind will get caught up in the repetition and you will be on your way to an invigorating meditation.
Do you need anything special to meditate?
There is really nothing that you need to meditate. If you like, there are some things you can add, such as a special mat to sit on. You could purchase some CDs that have soft music or sounds of nature. You can also purchase guided meditation CDs. This is where a person’s voice will gently guide you to focus on certain things through your meditation, such as a peaceful stream in the woods, or a beautiful waterfall. These could be helpful when you are starting out. There are several of these available for free on places such as Youtube.
One of the simplest and easiest ways if you have had trouble with meditation before is to use an aid like this meditation candle video. You can simply listen to the music and close your eyes. If you can’t close your eyes for long then look at the candle and close your eyes again and so on.
This will put you in a nice relaxed and calm state.
Nothing amazing or earth shattering has to happen as you meditate.
Just enjoy the quieting of your mind and take a break from all those thoughts running around your head all day every day. Just enjoying a calm and peaceful state is enough.
What are the benefits of meditation?
Besides calming you down, clearing your mind and alleviating stress, there are documented healing benefits from meditation. According to psychologist Robbie Maller Hartman, PhD who is a Health and Wellness Coach in Chicago, “Daily meditation may alter the brain’s neural pathways making you more resilient to stress.” Based on the fact that most illnesses are derived from stress, meditation could improve your health.
By clearing your mind and calming you down, you will be more able to make better decisions. When you get overwhelmed it’s hard to think straight and sometimes we make rash decisions that we later regret.
When you meditate your heart rate slows down and your blood flow increases. This could help anyone who struggles with high blood pressure. As your breathing slows down, you become more relaxed and you could actually ease a headache or a migraine without the need for medication.
When you are in a meditative state you improve the airflow to your lungs. If you have allergies or any other breathing issues, this will give your lungs a chance to clear and rest from the usual demands put on them.
You may also find that your relationships improve and you feel more loving and accepting, less prone to losing your temper generally calmer and more at peace.
In the end, if you can’t make time for a short meditation break you probably need it more than you know. Make it a point to find at least 15 minutes out of 24 hours every day to take time for yourself. You deserve it and the rewards will be evident almost immediately.