Meditation refers to a calm state, one where your body and mind are consciously relaxed and focussed. Those who practice meditation regularly report increased awareness, find it easier to focus, benefit from improved concentration, and develop a more positive outlook in life.
Meditation isn’t restricted to just monks, mystics and other spiritual disciplines. And you don’t have to be any of these to enjoy its benefits. And you don’t even have to be in a special place to practice it. You could even try it in your own living room!
The purpose of meditation
Although there are many different approaches to meditation, the fundamental principles remain the same. The most important is the ability to remove negative thoughts and fantasies, calm the mind and have increased focus. This clears the mind of debris and prepares it for single-minded action. All of which helps you to achieve your goals in the outside world.
The negative thoughts you have, such as a negative environment at work, a bullying boss, that parking ticket slapped on your windscreen, or the supposed soulmate who never calls back, all contribute to tainting the mind with unhelpful thinking patterns and beliefs. Shutting them down, even temporarily, enables the mind to cleanse itself and concentrate on creating peace within.
How to meditate
Some people find it easier to exclude all sensory input– no sights, no sounds, and nothing to touch – to detach themselves from the distractions around them. You may now focus on a deep, profound thought if this is your goal. It may seem difficult at first, since we are all too accustomed to constantly hearing and seeing things, but as you continue this exercise you’ll find yourself becoming more aware of everything around you.
If you find the meditating positions you see on television as scary, with those with impossibly arched backs, and painful-looking contortions, you need not worry. The idea is to be in a comfortable position conducive to concentration. This may be sitting cross-legged, standing, lying down, or walking. Any position that allows you to relax and focus is a good starting point. While sitting or standing, the back should be straight, but not tense or tight. In other positions, the only no-no is slouching and falling asleep. Loose, comfortable clothes help a lot in the process since tight- fitting clothes have a tendency to choke you up and make you feel tense.
Where to meditate
The place you perform meditation should have a restful atmosphere. It may be in your living room, bedroom, or any place that you feel comfortable in. You might want an exercise mat if you plan to take on the more challenging positions (if you feel more focussed doing so – or if the contortionist in you is screaming for release!) Have the place arranged so that it’s soothing to your senses, perhaps with a diffuser of essential oils to fragrance the air, calming music playing in the background, and candles to give a gentle glow.
Meditation is a time that you give to yourself to commune with your inner being. It’s vital to minimize distractions, so turn off the phone and switch off any appliances that are likely to make a noise.
Methods of meditation
To begin with, you may find it difficult to stop your mind hopping from one thought to another. If this is the case, try repeating a mantra or a word that you can keep your conscious mind occupied with. You might find switchwords useful and for more information on these refer to the recommended reading list below.
Another technique is to concentrate on your breath. Be aware of the cool air as you breathe in and the warm air as you breath out. As you do so, you can say something along the lines of ‘I breathe in the positive – I breathe out the negative’.
You could also focus on an object and let it hold your attention. Candles are ideal as the flame has an almost hypnotic quality as it moves, which can help you slip into a trance-like meditative state.
In all, meditation is a relatively risk-free practice and its benefits are well worth the effort (or non-effort – remember you’re training your mind to relax).
The more you practice meditation, the more you will experience for yourself the beneficial physiologic effects on your mind and body. So, what are you waiting for? Try it!
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And there’s more…
To discover what Switchwords are and how they work, take a look at my book – Speak Yourself Happy: Use Switchwords to Create Your Ideal Life – To buy it now: - please click on the link: https://amzn.to/2vZLfaD
Learn more about the art of meditation in this brilliant book: The Mind Illuminated: A Complete Meditation Guide Integrating Buddhist Wisdom and Brain Science for Greater Mindfulness – Buy it now:
Discover how mantras really work: Mantra Meditation: Change Your Karma with the Power of Sacred Sound – To buy it now - please click on the link below:
Set the scene for meditation with an essential oil diffuser. This is the one I use at home to scent the air:
Curious about Switchwords? Take a peek at this blog - please click on the link: Can Switchwords Change Your Life? (ruthybaker.com)
Try Meditation on the Move – Take a look at this Walking Meditation video from my YouTube channel. Please like, share and subscribe to be kept up-to-date with my latest vlogs, videos and content – click on the link:
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