The art of meditation has been on the rise in the west for the last few decades and more and more individuals are finding out why it has been practiced for centuries. It is one tool that can be practiced by anyone with beneficial results and truly is the secret key to your well-being.
With so much distraction, stimulation and demand on us everyday, it is so important for each of us to have time away from the stresses of every day life in modern times. Meditation is the most effective way to give yourself the mental space to think calmly and collectively. It is a time out, a reboot and a way to effectively reduce stress on your mind, body and spirit.
Meditation is about taking a moment, taking a full breath. It's about freeing your mind to wander, yet taking control of it at the same time. It's about being a witness to your thoughts yet not engaging with them. What does that mean? It looks a little like this: as you're sitting in an upright position, comfortable and relaxed, you close your eyes and begin to let your mind wander. Now, instead of engaging with the thoughts that drift past (like we always do), try to watch the thought come and go. Let it play out but do not answer it; do not give it your attention. As you practice this, your mind relaxes and you begin to slow your thoughts and fall into a meditative state.
Even the act of trying has a positive outcome. Start with just a few minutes a day. Doing something is better than doing nothing - and you will begin to see the results, fast.
A great way to start to build a meditation practice is to set aside some time everyday to meditate. Some people find the most effective time to be when they first wake up - meditating for a few minutes while still in bed - and others may want to take a few minutes in the afternoon to reground themselves and refocus their energies.
Meditation gets easier the more you practice it (like most things). But in those early days when you can't quite get in the groove, I find meditation music or guided meditations to be a great tool. Youtube is chock a block full of meditation music. Here are some peaceful tracks that I use and find helpful:
Now, I should say that these are meditations that contain Binaural Beats. Binaural Beats are beats that replicate the frequencies of our brainwaves and, depending on the speed and frequency, can mimic alpha, beta, theta, delta brain waves. Theta is the space where meditation occurs and Delta is usually sleep. Alpha and Beta can be helpful for working or concentration but are not relevant for deeper meditation.
To get the effect of the vibration and frequencies of binaural beats, you need to be wearing headphones.
The Meditation Practice
Let's try some meditation! Here is a simple, step by step to meditating:
- Sit comfortably in a chair or on a mat with a pillow under you. Get really still and relaxed.
- Take quite a few deep, deep breaths; really holding in the air and filling your lungs. Exhale all of the air out and breath deeply again.
- Put your headphones on and press play on one of the tracks above.
- Close your eyes and lay your hands in your lap, palms facing up.
- Let yourself settle into the music as you begin to let your mind wander and your thoughts flow.
- Do not focus on any of the thoughts that come, simply be witness to them and let them pass by without responding to them.
- Begin to bring your focus to your third eye, between your eyes, just above your brow. Let your mind settle there for a few moments as you continue to take deep breaths.
- Let whatever happens, happen as you get used to being in the quiet position. Try not to fight your thoughts or your emotions. Just let things flow with ease. (This will become easier!)
If you can't quiet your mind or gain control of your thoughts, just listen to the music. Let it help you relax as you take deep breaths. In the early days of meditation, music can be the factor that makes it an easy practice and brings you from can't to do.