Meditation

I want to spend some time on meditation this week.  There’s been a lot of hype about goals and plans and the new year, but amidst all the planning and frantic new action – I think this one is important.

It’s also something that many people seem to resist with all their energy.  A quick note on energy, as we are all made up of energy, taking the time to still and balance our energy each day really makes sense. 

Want to know a little secret?  It has also been one of my biggest battles at times.  I’ve been to group sessions and tried all sorts of methods short of standing on my head.  My main issue was that it is  tricky to take time when you have a household of noise and mayhem added to a very busy schedule.  But, since I’ve learned a few little tricks, it’s truly not a problem for me anymore.

What does it mean to meditate?

World English Dictionary ( http://dictionary.reference.com/)

meditate  (ˈmɛdɪˌteɪt)

 

vb

1.

( intr; foll by  on or  upon ) to think about something deeply

2.

( intr ) to reflect deeply on spiritual matters, esp as a religious act: I make space to meditate every day

3.

( tr ) to plan, consider, or think of doing (something)

 

[C16: from Latin meditārī  to reflect upon]

 
Meditation can be many things to many people.  Sometimes it can be pure mindfulness – being in the ‘now’.  You may be walking, you may be washing up.  You may be sitting in lotus position counting to 100 and back again.  The art of stilling the mind and focusing on one thing is the bare bones basic block to meditating.  What I am saying when I say “Be mindful” is be in the NOW.  Participate in what you are doing and only that.  Don’t be playing with your children with half your mind on what’s to be done next ie. making dinner, doing a load of washing etc. etc.  Play with the children.  Then, you can do the other things and also know you spent quality time just being with the children.

Interestingly children have much higher levels of alpha waves in their brains than adults.  When they do something – they delight in it.  They’re not worried about all the other things they need to do later.  They are completely immersed – they almost have no need to meditate!

The mistake many people make when they first try to meditate is that they try to ‘stop’ the mind.  This is in reality extremely difficult.  Acknowledge thoughts as they come in, accept them and they are less likely to continue in barrage.  For a while, I honestly believed that my thoughts had a mind of their own!  Our goal is to slow this processing down, to give it focus, and to truly experience what we are doing.

  • Be patient with yourself, it takes time to retrain & focus the mind.
  • Take small steps; start with 5-10 minutes a day and build from there.
  • Make ordinary daily tasks a meditation.  As I mentioned earlier - eating, walking, painting or sitting in nature. 
  • BE PRESENT!

There are cds to help guide you (there are many free to download if you search the web).  Whatever it is for you – I truly recommend you give it a try and then make it a goal to include it in your daily routine.

 

As I wake in the morning I give a quick and conscious thank you to the universe for waking and being gifted with another new day.  Depending on my movements in that day I will endeavour to actually sit for half an hour by myself in silence and either utilise a cd to help me or simply just ‘be’ for that time.  Prior to bed I go through a little bedtime ritual that includes a prayer of gratitude and then 5 – 10 minutes of meditation, then I read for about 15 – 20 minutes.   I have learned not to meditate last – I tend to fall asleep right after the 1st 30 seconds.   This was funny when I was married as I didn’t share the same beliefs with my husband so used to say my prayers and meditate lying down like I was asleep so he wouldn’t know – and generally that was all that came of it – a big sleep!  Even a small session each day is beneficial and however you can squeeze it in is all good.

 

Benefits of Meditating

I’m not just spruking about some airy fairy bandwagon , there have been many scientific studies and some very quick research can bring up extensive lists of benefits – physical, psychological and spiritual.

My top 10 are:-

  1. Increased focus on a single “something” for a set time.  It brings you into a relaxed state where you are at the
    centre and nothing else matters.  The rest of the world is switched off for a spell.

  2. It increases alpha brain waves.  This in turn increases feelings of relaxation, heightens creativity, problem solving and clear thinking.

  3. It increases self awareness and control of your own thoughts.   An additional benefit of being reconnected to your “little inner voice” is that you are much clearer and better able to make good decisions.

  4. It decreases stress levels which is good all round.

  5. Increased physical health (often resulting from lowered stress levels) but this can extend to lower cholesterol , lower probability of heart disease and can also assist in pain control.

  6. Deeper Sleep - As your mind becomes calmer, you will fall asleep more easily, your dreams will be more soulful and you will sleep more soundly.

  7. Increased happiness – happiness we seem to seek everywhere but within.  Meditation helps us to come back to the place where we realise true happiness is something that flows from within and exists independent of our circumstances.

  8. Spiritual growth.  Meditation brings you back into connection with your highest self and spirit.

  9. Peace of mind.  A peaceful mind – or peace of mind? Either way, with lowered stress levels, a happier outlook and better decision making your outward world will become more peaceful and harmonious.

  10. Appreciation and gratitude for yourself.  As you take this time for yourself you will come to truly love and value this time you take for yourself and your personal worth.

 Further reading:

 Check your local papers for meditation groups and try it out