The day I declared I was going to learn meditation, my
parents thought I had gone off the deep end and into some cuckoo world. I’m not
perfect and can be prone to stress, and was looking for a natural way to unwind
the mind. I was also preparing for a trip to India (no, not for an Ashram or
Yoga camp – although I find travel to be a form of spiritual journey in many
ways). It about understanding a different culture and way of life, in other
parts of the world. But don’t wait for a trip abroad or a nervous breakdown as
a reason to pick up this wonderful habit.
After I learned and practiced for a number of years, I came
to innately understand the practicality of mediation and its powerful fringe
benefits. In the end, I feel like the joke was on my parents, and those who
dismissed my curiosity and foray into the affair as insanity.
If you’re already a busy person, you might feel stressed just
at the thought of adding a new routine to your day. But, you’ll find that it
helps to mitigate anxiety and frayed nerves in the long run – and in the
most gentle way.
There seems to be an assumption that taking a small amount
of time during your day to wipe your mind clean and have no thoughts is counterproductive.
Or alternatively, it might feel overwhelming and like a daunting task to accomplish.
You might think, “what? How on earth can I slow down my racing mind?”
Let’s establish some important basics first, namely, that you
don’t have to be any kind of spiritual guru to learn, practice, and reap the
rewards of meditation. Neither must you commit huge sums of money or time to
learn meditation ways. The trick is to keep it simple, light, and easy. It’s
also a way to ensure that you’ll stick with it.
Develop a relationship with yourself
We’ve become accustomed to distractions, busy-work, addictions,
and listening to everyone but ourselves first. Think of it as spending some
quality time with yourself. Forceful breathing exercises and chanting are definitely
not requirements. All you have to do is sit alone for a few moments and quietly.
You might feel fear or other deep emotions rise to the surface
I’ve known all too many people who are professional at suppressing
their feelings; they prefer to keep all their pent up emotions down at the
bottom of a thimble. This also happens to make them more likely to explode should
they encounter a trigger. You have to give yourself permission to feel. Don’t
be afraid and letting sadness, anger, or joy come out during your time alone –
it’s a way of finding inner peace. Besides, it is liberating to fall apart
every now and then and stop trying to attain perfection.
How to start
Try to find a comfortable position to sit in. It’s best not
to lie down since the idea of meditation is to remain in a conscious state. If
you fall asleep, well, that’s another type of excellent relaxation – but it’s not
exactly meditation. With your eyes closed, allow any emotions and thoughts to
rise and pass through you. Start with a minimum of five minutes in the morning
when you wake up. If five minutes feels good and seems manageable, then stick
with it. Eventually, you may find that you want to push the total time to ten, twenty
minutes, or even longer.
There is no right or wrong way
Different types of meditation exist but there no rules or
governing body of meditators. Meditation is about creating a space where you
feel safe and allow yourself to be. Be aware of the goodness and love within
you. If you desire uplifting music, then play some softly in the background. If
you feel like deep inhales and exhales, then by all means, breath.
We are different folks of all different strokes, so the
suggestion that one method of meditation is superior to another is simply silly.
The best bet is to find what works well for you. And it’s only natural if your
mediation evolves and changes over time – as we all do.