The Top 5 Thing To Know About Meditation

Posted on 05 June 2015

What comes to mind when you think of meditation? For some, it brings visions of blissed-out yogis “om-ing” in full lotus while incense and candles burn. For others, it’s a long process of hard decision-making; a stressful process brought about by needing to think very hard about a difficult topic. Whatever your impression of meditation, it’s probably a far cry away from the reality of what most practitioners of meditation actual experience. Today, we invite you to read more about the art and practice of meditation- what it is, what it isn’t, and how to reap the most benefits from meditation.

1. Meditation is NOT… . Many think meditation is a religious experience, when in fact, meditation practices are intended to bring closeness and peace between your consciousness and your inner space, regardless of your spiritual inclinations. Meditation is also not an instant fix; while you will practice understanding your personal nature, motivation, and thought process more, it is a practice of learning to work within yourself to enhance your participation in life.

2. Meditation IS… . Meditation is the creation of mental stillness, created when the mind, body, and sensory perceptions are aligned. This relaxes the nervous system, simultaneously calming the brain areas that control stress responses. Meditation is intended to help you understand yourself and your own motivations as you become more in touch with yourself and your ability to react and think clearly. This means that, through the practice of meditation, you’ll gain clarity about yourself and your thought process.

3. It’s ok to think. It’s a common misconception that you will cease all thought during meditation. Some people do accomplish states like this, however, it is very normal for the brain to continue to broadcast thoughts and images while you meditate. Instead of becoming overly aware or distracted by these thoughts, acknowledge them, and let your consciousness return to your meditation method, and let those thoughts take a backseat.

4. There are many ways to meditate. It’s ok to try a variety of methods as you get started, but don’t let yourself focus too much on technique. Have a goal in mind, such as relaxation, clearing the mind, reducing anxiety, etc, then let yourself focus on a sound, a sight, or sensation. Many use a chant (or mantra), or staring at a still object, such as a candle. Others still focus on the breath or heartbeat to bring stillness to the often-negative mental noise that composes most of our thoughts.

5. It’s great to meditate! You don’t have to buy into New Age philosophy to just take a few minutes each day to be alone with your own existence. Take a ten minute time out, close your eyes in a quiet space, and breathe deeply, in and out. Focus on the breath you take, rather than all the thoughts and distractions that make up your external world. Let go of your emotions, your conscious thoughts, and enter a peaceful, relaxed state. You might find yourself being more accepting of meditation than you thought!

Take the opportunity to relax tonight. If nothing else, you’ll have a chance to wash away the Monday blues, and be ready to meet the new day tomorrow. Make sure you’re wearing comfortable clothing, positioned in a cozy way, with no major distractions for at least ten minutes. You may wish to try a guided meditation at first, and our friends at Yoga Journal offer a handful that can really help you get things started- check out for some short meditations.

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