If you are looking to add another tool in your toolbox for a more peaceful life, one of the best tools available is meditation.
YogaInternational.com defines meditation this way:
“Meditation is a precise technique for resting the mind and attaining a state of consciousness that is totally different from the normal waking state. It is the means for fathoming all the levels of ourselves and finally experiencing the center of consciousness within. Meditation is not a part of any religion; it is a science, which means that the process of meditation follows a particular order, has definite principles, and produces results that can be verified.
In meditation, the mind is clear, relaxed, and inwardly focused. When you meditate, you are fully awake and alert, but your mind is not focused on the external world or on the events taking place around you. Meditation requires an inner state that is still and one-pointed so that the mind becomes silent. When the mind is silent and no longer distracts you, meditation deepens.“
Meditation is an outstanding habit to add to your daily routine. Not only does it relax you, but it helps with nearly every other part of your life as well. Your focus will improve. Your appreciation for all the positive things in your life will increase. Some of the benefits of meditation include less stress, better emotional balance, sharper focus, ability to manage pain more effectively, reduced anxiety, mood support, better memory, and increased creativity. There are many more.
Meditation isn’t just sitting in lotus yoga pose for hours on end. There are actually many different forms of meditation. Today we are not going to cover all the different types, we’re just going to focus on simply making meditation a daily habit. I would encourage your to set a goal to meditate for the next thirty days. Don’t be too concerned about the mechanics, just set aside the time, open your mind, and give it a try.
Meditation doesn’t have to take up a lot of your time. Keep it short, at first. Set the amount of time you want to start with. I started with two minute guided meditations until I found what worked best for me. I recommend you start with two to five minutes of uninterrupted time each day and go from there.
Have a schedule. The schedule doesn’t have to be set in stone. It’s okay to use general times like during lunch, or in bed after you wake up is fine. Pick the time that works best for you. I like to meditate first thing in the morning during my quiet time, and then mid-afternoon again when I need to refocus on my day.
If you have the luxury of space, make a specific place for your meditation sessions. If not, find a quiet place where you are able to be undisturbed. You may have days when that space alone just isn’t available. In that case, just take some time to deep breathe and go within.
Find a comfortable seat or space to lie down. You don’t need a special position, clothes, pillow, or anything else. What’s important is that you can position yourself comfortably without having to move throughout the meditation. A chair or your bed is fine. You might even find it helpful to sit on the floor with your back against the wall.
Take your time. Two minutes a session is great. You can do five minutes next week if it feels better. You’re not trying to prove to yourself that you can meditate like the yogis you see in the movies or read about in books; you’re trying to introduce meditation into your life in a way that will result in it becoming a daily habit. As you get more comfortable in your meditation you may just naturally add more time, getting to a longer, deeper time.
Start by focusing on your breathing. While you’re sitting, simply focus on your breath and your breathing. Your eyes can be open or closed; it’s entirely up to you. If it helps you to focus, count your breaths and when you reach 10, start over again. See how long you can go before your mind wanders (and it will). When you catch yourself thinking about anything except your breath, simply return your attention back to your breath. It may be a struggle to maintain your focus at first, but your ability to stay focused will improve with time.
You might be asking yourself what sitting down and counting your breaths will do for you. If you can learn to focus completely on your breathing, you can learn to focus on anything else, too.
Eventually, you’ll reach the point that when you’re working, you think about nothing but work; you’ll be much more effective and efficient at work. When you’re spending time with your family, you’ll be able to immerse yourself in the joy of being together. During dinner, you’ll think only about the dinner experience.
You essentially eliminate stress from your life, because you’ll always be thinking about your present experience. You can only be stressed when thinking about the past or projecting into the future. Meditation allows you to learn to live your life fully in the present.
Don’t wait! Start meditating today. You don’t need anything except a place to sit or lie down and a few minutes of your time – the benefits can last a lifetime!
Find your purpose – find your joy!
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