It’s easy today, more than ever to get wrapped up in the world’s problems. We, as a human race are currently inundated with technology, the news, politics, cultural conflicts, racism, financial stresses and family circumstances.
So is life as they might say, but does it have to be this way? Although you can’t always change what goes on around you there may be a method to growing your capacity and your inner strength from within.
This method is called “meditation”; which is free of charge and can also bestow many physical and mental health benefits. Plus, after some practice you may enter a sacred place for yourself where you receive answers to some of life’s harder questions in the form of understanding yourself better.
There are many pills, gadgets and a lot of advice to combat the major issues of stress, anxiety and depression, but perhaps if there was ever anything that should draw more attention it’s meditation.
There have been many studies conducted on the efficacy of meditation; with some showing promising results while others reflected that there has never been a health benefit at all.
This seems a bit redundant, because the whole purpose of meditation is to get away from the normalized, conceptual-form of human thinking. To, for a time, forget all innovation, all past, all present and to be released from the unforeseen future as well.
Meditation is the idea of releasing yourself from “all things human” and perhaps to allow your brain to quietly take over for a while; without the need for R.E.M. sleep or that cliche “human-sounding” voice that’s in your head. If this sounds good to you and you believe that you might like to suspend yourself for a while then read on.
Proper Meditation Becomes A Lifestyle
Meditating to it’s fullest extant is not something that is achieved immediately. It does require consistency and schedule and it may take your higher mind some time to get used to shedding all of the inundation of the “realities” of life.
This being said, getting started with meditation does require some discipline. It’s been estimate that it takes roughly 21 days for a new habit to form. If you feel that meditating is important to you enough to rejuvenate yourself then make the commitment for 3 weeks and start out small.
Put Yourself In A Comfortable Place
There are different schools of thought here, but what works for you is enough. Just because some people choose to sit in a certain pose doesn’t mean that you need to if the pose is uncomfortable for you.
It is a good idea to set aside a place that is peaceful from common noises such as vehicle ambiance, people ambiance and entertainment ambiance.
A very quiet nature preserve or a special place in your home can work fine. It’s understandable that it can be hard to identify a good place such as this, but if you put some thought into it you can probably determine a zone that makes you feel much more at peace.
Get your body relaxed first. Try to sit with healthy posture, but make sure that it doesn’t cause any muscle groups to ache. If you need to wear special clothing that feels good to the skin such as pajamas – then do so.
If at night you require taking a good soak in the tub first with some lavender oil and/or Epsom salts to get your body relaxed – then do so.
Many people feel that guided meditation is the way to go. If this feels right to you then work from this, but the idea of meditation is to eliminate any reminders of life for a time being.
Music can be OK, but make sure that it is extremely simple and soothing. Nothing that contains any notes or instruments that your brain really needs to focus on. Ideally, quiet space is best, but to get started a simple meditative sound track like these ones can be good to get going.
Candles and aromatherapy products can be greatly helpful. Scent is something that has a major influence over ourselves. Candles and aromatherapy products that are pleasant to you absolutely can be a good idea.
There are plenty of breathing techniques available designed to help you reach a more relaxed state that is ready for deeper meditation.
Many of them focus on monitoring your breath and counting to a certain number. Sometimes this is a breathing count of 3 seconds while others are 7 seconds. The only issue with this may be the fact that it gives your mind an excuse to have that inner-dialogue again; which kind of degrades the whole point of meditation.
The simple truth is that every person is different. You can breath in as much as you can, no matter how old or young you are to the extent of your lungs and this should be enough. If you need to get started by counting as you breath then go ahead, but try to get to a point where you can take even the thought of numbers out of your mind.
The whole point is to stop thinking. Focus on breathing rather than thinking about your breathing.
- Breath in as deep as you can and hold it for simply until you need to exhale – let your body guide you
- Then exhale as evenly as you breathed in
- Hold for a short while until your body desires that you breath again
- Then repeat
The idea here is to eliminate all distractions from the outside world and your mind.
Quieting The Mind
Quieting the mind takes time and practice. The first few times you practice meditation there is a good chance that you will experience one or more of the following:
- The inability to shut off the voice in your head
- A feeling of restlessness or that the whole world is going on around you
- That something bad could happen while you are taking refuge from daily life
- Worrying about meeting a quota of meditation time
- A simple fear that something will interrupt this sacred time with yourself
These are all very normal feelings and thoughts and are yet again a reflection of just how much outside pressure we take upon ourselves.
Perhaps one of the best ways to start meditating is to start out doing so for very short intervals. 5 – 10 minutes may be just what you need to get the feeling down.
You may also consider; when first starting a routine of meditation, to set aside time for short moments like this throughout the day. You will probably spend the first week or so learning how to quiet the mind and remember that this is something new for your body and mind to get used to.
Just because it’s called meditation and is supposed to be relaxing does not mean that it isn’t easy to get into. But imagine looking forward to a state where it requires little-to-no effort to go into.
A Word On Trance
Trance seems to have a negative connotation. Many people are afraid of being hypnotized for instance; believing that they will lose control over themselves or may not wake from a state of trance/hypnosis. The honest truth is that trance is an everyday part of life.
Have you ever wandered into a super-market with a predetermined item in mind and then suddenly found yourself staring at a shelf of food items; blanking out for several seconds and then coming to and realizing what you were there for?
Have you ever sat down to read a book and then after reading for a while; realized that 3 pages later you have no idea what you just read?
People “zone out” all day long. Your brain craves this. People go into trance when driving, shopping, watching TV or even taking tests. It’s just a normal part of life and there is nothing wrong with it. And it also can’t be thought of as day-dreaming when your brain gives you a brief respite from everything, all-together. Including thought processes.
Need To Take Baby Steps?
It’s OK if you need to do some basic leg-work first before you can start getting involved in meditation. There are actually many low-keyed activities that you can do that require only simple thought, but that also have similar, therapeutic benefits as well, because they can offer you a break from the demands of life. Here is a small list of simple activities that you may gravitate towards.
- Working jigsaw puzzles – challenging enough, but keeps your mind focused on only one thing.
- Coloring – yes, adult coloring books are becoming popular. Mainly because you don’t have to draw the lines to make the designs, but can rather just focus on adding in the colors that appease you.
- Sculpting with clay or even Play-Doh
- Building with Legos
- Jewelry making
- Teach yourself how to play an instrument
- Constructing models of structures, fictional characters or even vehicles out of odds-and-ends laying around the house – Unlock your creativity and keep a box of spare parts and pieces that you find. A little paint, some junk and some glue can go a long way
If these things seem like child-play to you; then this is the point. Children find interesting ways to distract themselves and to just have fun. There is a child in all of us that at some point or another that needs to come out.
Plus, all of these items beckon the creativity that lives in each of us; even if you consider yourself more left-brained.