Meditation is a well-known term and is widely practised throughout the world. However, if you have never been introduced to meditation, you may be filled with preconceived notions. Meditation offers a lot of helpful benefits, and yet many people have never tried it out.
Here’s a brief guide and myth buster to start you off on your meditative journey:
What’s the point of meditation?
This is an important point, to begin with. A lot of people imagine meditating as a hippy or religious experience, perhaps with chanting or exotic music in the background.
Meditation does have strong links with spirituality and religions like Buddhism and Hinduism. But you can be entirely non-spiritual and appreciate the benefits. A commitment to regular meditation has been known to lessen stress levels and anxiety, as well as easing insomnia and even boosting your immune system. Many people also find it very useful in helping them make decisions and letting go of issues that have been bothering them.
In essence, the point of meditation is to lose the distractions of everyday life for a while. You focus simply on yourself and being present in the moment.
Are there different kinds of meditation
Yes, there are plenty of types of meditation to address different aspects of life, the self and your goals.
For example, guided visualization is a meditation technique that revolves around thinking of positive and calming experiences, in order to release positive energy and chemicals within the body.
Transcendental meditation focuses on sitting in one position (traditionally Lotus) and chanting a mantra in your head. The aim of this is to reach a state of enlightenment, and many people find it helpful for discarding negativity and stress.
Focused Intention is a popular form of meditation where you aim to clear your mind and focus on a particular subject that you are struggling with. It may seem counterproductive to focus on your stressor in order to de-stress. But allowing your mind to mull it over in a peaceful environment can often help you work out what to do going forward. This can often lead to feeling as though a weight has been lifted.
There are many, many other types of meditation. There is no right or wrong kind, you should just find what works for you in different aspects of your life.
If you aren’t sure where to start, consider going to a local meditation class, listening to an audio guide or reading detailed guides on different techniques you could try.
I’m busy, will I have time to meditate?
When we’re active and have a list of jobs to do, meditating can seem like the lowest priority. However, 5-10 minutes of meditation can be enough to induce feelings of calmness. You could set your alarm slightly earlier and try it before you go to work, or in the evening before dinner.
How do I start meditating?
Choose a room in your house with the least distractions and electrical items. Let anyone else in the house know you’re going to be busy for 10 minutes and not to disturb you. Prepare the room by dimming the lights or lighting the room with candles. Set a calm but clear alarm noise to go off after 5-10 minutes.
You may find relaxing music helps, or that silence is more calming. Sit either on the floor, a cushion, chair or even on your bed. You should keep your back straight and not lean on anything. Focus on your breathing, but do not force your breaths. You may find it helpful to look into the flame of a candle to focus your mind. Slowly, try to let go of your thoughts and issues and simply focus on being in the moment, breathing and the energy that flows through your body.
It is important to let go of expectations of a revelation and great calmness to come in your first session. You may find it relaxing at first, and you may not, but it will improve with time and practice.