Meditation is that thing, whose benefits are said to be healing and life-transforming, which we have difficulties to take time for.
Stress-related illnesses such as high blood pressure, insomnia, burnouts and addictions seem almost normal. Sitting there and doing nothing stands is a big contrast to our performance driven society. But doesn’t exactly that make it so necessary?
We had mentioned the subject of meditation in a previous article named spirituality in everyday life. While the article was rather theoretical and also dealt with other aspects of human spirituality, this article focuses on the practical aspect of meditation.
Since my earliest childhood meditative practices have been a part of my life. I was always drawn to the calm. According to my mother I started meditating at the age of two, for three to four times a day for 15 to 30 minutes per session. During this time I could be found sitting cross-legged in the corner of a room not being bothered by calls or touches. This habit changed at the age of nine, when I when I started reading books more frequently. However, since then meditation has been a loyal companion, helping me to cultive inner peace and strength in loud and crowded world. I want to share this source of strength with you.
Find out here how meditation can give you calm, clarity and lightness for everyday life.
What is Meditation?
The word meditation is used and hyped differently, what leads to confusion about the understanding of the term. It can be thinking deeply about a topic, the process of self-reflection or being in the here and now.
The kind of meditation I describe here is about calming the mind and the voices in your head to find inner balance. In other words it’s about transitioning from the mode of constant brooding and reflecting to the mode of simply being.
The easiest way of finding out what meditation is, is by trying it with the following two steps.
Experience Meditation in 2 Steps
Try the following:
- Listen to all the sounds around you.
- Listen to the noise between these sounds.
Basically, that’s meditation. The feeling is similar to moments of peace and pleasure, when you are in the moment, when you hear a beautiful melody, when you spend time with people or when you eat something tasteful, with the difference that here this feeling comes from the inside and can be recalled at any time independent of external circumstances. When you want to restore your inner balance, you can always return to this simple two step exercise.
I’ll explain how you can actively incorporate meditation in your life and the benefits of it in the next two sections.
Benefits and Effects
In spiritual circles, meditation often has the goal of achieving a higher level of consciousness. Western medicine measures theresulting changes in neurological changes in the brain waves, the slowing of the heartbeat, a deeper breathing and muscle relaxation. Proven effects are the reduction of psychological stress (Goyal et al. 2014), as well as positive changes of the brain (Lazar et al. 2005, Pagnoni et al. 2007).
What this means for your:
Focus: Consciousness in the now, free from the voices in our heads, allows us to be fully emerged in the task at hand.
Clarity: From the perspective of being in the now, things that were previously difficult and complicated, suddenly become clear and easy. In this position it’s easier for us to tackle challenges and implement scheduled tasks.
Creativity: The void arising from meditation enables us to find new creative solutions. Clearing our minds makes us flexible in thought and action and creates room for new.
Time: Creating space in our thinking, gives us more time, because we spend more time living in the now, in the real world, rather than in our heads. It also gives us the room to be more conscious in our actions.
Freedom of Choice: We are aware of the moment between action and reaction and act not only instinctively according to old patterns but consciously. Through this we design our lives according to our own ideas.
How can I start?
Meditation can take a variety of forms. We distinguish between active and passive forms of meditation.
In passive types of meditation you take a motionless position and with the two described steps you go into a meditative state. Look for a quiet and pleasant place in your house or in nature. Sit down in a cross-legged position, close your eyes and concentrate on your breathing. Your eyes can be open or closed.
I prefer lying on the ground with my eyes closed when doing passive meditation. Find the way that is most comfortable for you.
In active meditation inside it’s the same as in passive meditation, with the difference that you are physically active in the same time. This practice is widely used in various martial arts and in disciplines such as yoga and qi-gong. If you know some routines from the above examples you can use them for your meditative practices. Repetitive movements are also suitable for this. Otherwise, active meditation exercises can be learned in group classes.
Integrate Meditation in Everyday Life
I recommend you choose a meditative exercise, that particularly appeals to you and that you initially do it five times a week for 5 minutes each. Schedule this time in your daily routine and intend to see meditation as an important part of your life. You will know that you did actually meditate, when you feel calmer than before.
When you feel ready or you feel the desire to meditate longer, you can expand your sessions or schedule multiple meditation sessions in your day.
In the case that it’s difficult for you to stay relaxed or you simply want to implement variety in your routines, I recommend to meditate with instrumental music or to attend one of the many meditation, yoga, qi-gong or martial arts classes that are offered.
How will you integrate meditation into your life?
Or, if you regularly meditate, what method do you like best?
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