The Beginnings of a Meditation Practise
The Beginnings of a Meditation Practise
The benefits of meditation are now very well known, both experientially and scientifically. However, the question needs to be asked why is there still some resistance to even contemplating a meditation practise? I believe it’s in the perceptions of this practise that is holding back its take-up. There are many ways the everyday person looks at meditation, from it being a mystical process or in some ways it goes against their belief or faith; to it being an unnecessary and ineffective practise, as in it can take some time to gain some real tangible benefits.
Meditation is not something that is mystical, only performed by enlightened beings, guru’s and yogi’s. It’s easy and simple, therefore it and can be practised by anyone. It helps us bring our awareness to the present moment, which in any given moment is the only moment you can be in. It’s a way of training the mind to not be in ‘stress’ mode, or what I like to call the ‘reaction’ state.
In a sense, when meditating, we are re-training, or re-engineering our minds to see something new and different. It’s a time when you are moving out of the ‘reaction’ state, where you tend to let your judgemental minds take over, where feelings of like or dislike arise within you about a specific situation. I refer to the retraining as “making space”. You learn to heighten your awareness to what is going on in your mind and body. In effect, you have the space to make a choice on how or what reaction you will take or whether not to react at all. When you are in this ‘making space’ state, your body is seeking to be balanced. It has the time to re-calibrate your body’s chemical production, and in doing so takes a break from the bombardment of a stress induced cocktail of cortisol and adrenaline hormones, which can be toxic when induced over a long period.
Making space is best done through being in ‘stillness’.
By being in ‘stillness’ you access the present moment. The only moment that ever matters.
Yes, I know…it sounds cliché, but in our busy lives of working long hours, raising families, coping with relationships and trying to be successful in what you do, wouldn’t you want to feel relaxed, balanced, healthier and more energised every day?
In essence becoming resilient to what life throws at you. This is what meditation can do for you. It’s in the silence and stillness of the mind where you really begin to understand why you are here, your purpose and what you want to manifest in your life.
In effect, you cultivate conscious awareness!
Meditation is a simple practise which has the power to also transform you. You can access your creative states and tap into a more universal energy. There are many more benefits which I have not covered, such as feeling relaxed, focused, heightened awareness and overall improved health and wellbeing.
To learn this way of being, it is not complicated, however there are some methods that make it more effective, which if you learn can help you immensely with your meditation practise. I liken it to using your mobile phone. You don’t use every feature of the phone, however if you were shown how to access some additional features, you will be able to use it more effectively. Meditation is the same. You can stumble through it, however when shown some specific methods, you will quickly begin to reap the benefits. Its where true transformation happens!
If you are new to meditation it can be daunting and may be a bit scary to begin, so here’s a simple way to begin. It only takes 5 minutes to do and is very effective in helping reduce your stress levels:
1. Find a quiet place, maybe your bedroom or a quiet space at work. Sit comfortably up with your spine erect.
2. Close your eyes, bring your awareness to your heart center (mid-chest) and breathe normally here.
3. Take three deep breaths and every time consciously relaxing all parts of your body
4. As you become more relaxed, tense your feet for 3 seconds, then releasing the tension.
5. Repeat this process for your calves, thighs, hips & stomach muscles, chest and back muscles, arms, neck and face/head muscles.
6. Take another deep breath, releasing any remaining tension in the body.
7. Now follow your breath normally in and out of your lungs…do this for as long as you can. This can be for a few minutes up to 5 minutes. (it’s best to have some type of timer which you can set for your desired timeframe)
8. When your timer goes, slowly bring your attention to your hands and feet and open your eyes when ready.
9. Congratulations…you’ve just meditated, and more importantly, you’ve given you mind and body a well-earned break from the constant movement of your life.