Recently I have embarked on a personal mission to meditate.
Six months ago, I would have never have branded myself as a ‘spiritual person’. Realistically, meditation has nothing to do with that now despite my own personal journey with spirituality. Just to be clear: meditation is for everyone, not just free spirits in cloud-cuckoo-land like myself. You hear me? Everyone.
Why? Well many reasons. Some of the most successful people in the world swear by it because it clears their brains of all that irrelevant junk floating around using up precious energy- and gives the brain some much needed space for inspiration, ideas, creativity, answers, logical thinking, peace, tranquillity, happiness… I could go on and on.
You want to take care of your body? Well, your brain is part of that body and arguably the most important part- so why neglect it? By beginning meditation, you will begin to observe your thoughts as an outsider. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: you are not your thoughts.
This means that when destructive thoughts enter your brain, you will be able to recognise them as such and turn them right on their heads. The benefits of this? Well you won’t be quick to anger and make impulsive retaliations, you’ll think about things more logically (i.e. when something enters your mind you will be able to question “is this the truth or are these thoughts actually destructive?”), you’ll feel a sense of calm throughout your day, and your body will thank you for the reduced blood pressure, increased concentration, and the slowing down of aging (yes, really).
Here are my beginner tips:
- Set a timer: for your first few goes 5-10 minutes will do.
- Get into a comfy position on the ground or in a chair (a bed is probably a bad idea as the aim is not to fall asleep).
- Now concentrate on your breath. In any way you please. I personally like to say the words ‘inhale’ and ‘exhale’ in my head as I perform the action. Other options include counting even numbers on an inhale (0,2,4,6,8,0,2,4…) or odd numbers on an exhale (1,3,5,7,9,7,5…). Some people prefer mantras- but this is just the beginning- there’s plenty of time for mantras later.
- At this point, despite your best efforts, your brain will want to deviate from your breath. It will jump to future tasks, past events, recent conversations… that’s okay. Just as soon as you realise it has deviated just get straight back to your breath. Focus on the breath.
- It will deviate again, but that’s okay too! Just acknowledge the thought, and bring it back to the breath, i.e the present.
- It will keep deviating! But that’s okay- because you will keep recognising this deviation as thoughts away from the present moment. So, see that thought in your mind’s eye, acknowledge it as a thought, and bring it back to the present.
- Time’s up! Not so hard after all right?
Traditionally, you may think you have ‘failed’ if you have not been able to focus the entire time on your breath or ‘not thinking’ (which is impossible by the way). This is not true at all! The fact you have even taken 10 minutes of the day just for yourself is an achievement. Well done.
Now it’s your turn, tell me all about your meditation experiences…