If you’re like me and thought that the only form of meditation available was a difficult practice that only “spiritual” people did, which consists of sitting in a circle while under a trance; well then you would be very misinformed, just as I was.
There are several popular misconceptions about meditation, such as:
- Meditation is only for Buddhists or “spiritual” people.
- That you have to join a group or class to learn how to do it.
- That it takes years to learn how to do it properly.
- That you have to completely clear your mind and think about nothing.
- It has to be done according to strict rules.
- The aim of meditation is to go into a trance.
- That it is either a religious practice or that it conflicts with religious beliefs.
I know I used to hold to some of those false beliefs before I started meditating about a year ago. Today I can honestly say that I wish I had known better, and started meditating when I was a teenager. Learning meditation was always something that had been in the back of my mind, and it was on my bucket list of things to do and/or learn. It was only by chance that one day I came across a YouTube video by “Talks at Google” featuring Russell Simmons, and he was giving a talk about meditation. You can view that video here. I watched with interest and was eager to learn everything he spoke about. I listened to Russell explain the health benefits, and how it changed and improved his life. I was hooked. The part of the video that I loved the most was that at the end, Russell sat with the audience and meditated with them. It was only for 7 minutes, but I followed his lead and did what he said. After the 7 minutes were through, I knew meditation was something that I would do for the rest of my life.
There are many proven health benefits to meditation that are too long to explore in this article, but I know meditating every day has changed my life, and I want it to change yours too. Meditation has been known to help with:
- Relaxation and de-stressing.
- Improved memory and mental function.
- Increased creativity.
- Stabilizes and improves your general overall mood. (can help with depression)
- Helps control your appetite (because it helps to prevent emotional eating)
- Improves your overall energy.
- Improves the quality of sleep.
- Helps you to take a step back and not be so reactive to things.
5 Simple Steps to Meditation
Step 1. Get comfortable. I personally like the room to be dark so I turn off the lights and TV and close any curtains or blinds. The best way to sit is on the floor with your legs crossed. You can do this sitting on a cushion if you want to. I like to do it sitting against a wall as this helps with posture and keeps your back straight. You can sit in a chair if that is preferable or if you cannot sit on the floor. Once you are comfortable loosely lock your fingers together in your lap or rest one palm on top of the other.
Step 2. Once you are in the correct position take a few deep breaths. Breathe in through your nose hold it for a few seconds and then breathe out again through your nose. Do this 10 times. At this point, I also like to stretch out my neck. You can do this by tilting your head to the left and holding it there for a few seconds then do the same on the right side. Do this a few times each side. Then do it again but when your head is tilted to the left drop your right shoulder and push it down. Repeat the same process on the other side. This will really stretch your neck out. You can also tilt your head back and then forwards pointing your chin towards your chest. Finish it off with a few full head rolls. I also like to stretch out my face muscles. You can do this by opening your mouth and stretching it as wide as you can and by pulling funny faces. This may look ugly as all heck, but you will be surprised by just how much tension you hold in your face.
Step 3. Set your timer for 20 minutes. If you are new to meditating try to do this is a quiet place where you won’t be interrupted. I would also put your phone on silent so that it doesn’t disturb me.
Step 4. The mantra word/sound that I use is RUM (like the name of the alcohol). Imagine repeating the word stretching out the sound and vibration of the “UUUMMMMM.” This doesn’t necessarily have to be done out loud. Keep repeating this word over and over in your mind. One mistake that people often make is that they think you need to completely clear or empty their mind before they can begin meditating. However, what will actually happen- especially for the first few minutes of your meditation- is your mind will go crazy, and you will probably have a rush of thoughts. You may have random thoughts that seem to come out of nowhere, you might start thinking about how you are supposed to be meditating & if it’s even working, or what shopping you need to get done or even what chores are unfinished. All of that is perfectly natural, so don’t worry or get discouraged. Your thoughts are like bubbles and they will want to rise to the surface, so don’t try to stop them. Let them gently rise to the surface in their own time. The important thing is not to focus on them or give them any attention. Let them come and go like a breeze blowing through your mind. Instead go back to repeating your Mantra word Rum. Keep repeating “rrruuummm.” Try to focus on that word or sound. Don’t worry about the bubbles sooner or later they will lessen and eventually your mind will quieten and it will be easier to stay focused on your Mantra. Try not to worry about that initial burst of noise because that happens to everyone. Chances are, those first few minutes are when you are most likely to experience flashes of inspiration, and your best ideas. You might stumble upon solutions to problems, and you will have moments of total clarity- which is what I believe to be one of the beautiful benefits of meditation. The trick is not to get distracted by them. Don’t focus on them instead quickly file them away in your mind and return to them later.
Step 5. The point of meditation is focus which is why you have a Mantra word, but I also find it useful to have a fixed image to concentrate on. This stops my mind from wandering here there and everywhere. You can choose anything you like so long as it’s not too distracting. It could be your pet, the face of a loved one or an object that you like in your home. Personally I like to visualize the sea as I find that quite relaxing. You could also picture clouds. In your mind’s eye, picture the image and keep repeating your mantra- RRUUUUUUUMMMMMMM- and essentially, that is it. No matter what, just keep at it until your alarm goes off.
Honestly, it can’t get much simpler than that! I do hope you find these tips for meditating useful, & find a way to implement them into your life today!
Original Source To Article Here, With Many Thanks to Tony T. Robinson