Is meditation for you?
I know that for many of you meditation brings forth images of sitting in abnormal positions and concentrating on being calm and relaxed for extended periods of time. That alone can put you off from this practice, which is as ancient as civilization itself and yet has re-emerged in the last 40 years or so.
So I’m here to let you know that meditation can be highly beneficial for you and can take any form you wish. It has become more conveniently adaptive according to your busy life style.
A client who had been complaining of headaches for years came in to see me last month. She was on medication, which had proved to be somewhat ineffective. Asking how she was, I received a response of “Oh I’m fine now! No headaches because I’ve been meditating regularly.”
She had downloaded the app Headspace on her phone and was using the meditation guidelines to quiet her mind for 10 minutes a day. And that’s all it took for her headaches to subside. Impressive.
We are all so used to stress being present in our lives that I feel we underestimate some of the potential corrosive aspects of unrealistic and high expectations of ourselves. Not only in the work place but at home also. A new baby arriving. A second child being born. A difficult deadline at work. An abusive boss. A sense of needing to be perfect. A troubled relationship. A parent fading in strength and function. An illness of any kind. The list goes on and on!
All meditation starts with the breath (see previous blog). Next it’s important to be physically comfortable. Just keep your spine as straight and aligned as possible. Then it’s simply a question of gently removing your attention from the outside world. So it’s important to be in as quiet an environment as possible. Turn your phone off – unless you are using a mobile meditation app!
Begin to breathe deeper, slower and more regular than usual and just notice what is going on in your mind. This is the biggest challenge of ALL meditators. It’s not just you!
Changing our relationship to the ‘monkey mind’ which tends to wander and leap all over the place IS the practice.
I was talking to a good friend of mine in Arizona who has been practicing the art of meditation this year. “I used to find it so difficult to get my mind to be quiet at first” she said. “So I started to just stop everything I was doing for one minute. One minute”, she emphasized. Her method of stilling the mind by watching the breath worked very well for her. Her time span gradually increased over the weeks of her practice until now, she can feel and be much quieter for extended periods of time.
If you are completely new to meditation try one minute at a time and notice how you feel differently afterwards. Please feel free to ask me any questions or share your own methods.
The next blog will be about the proven medical benefits of meditation. Once we know the good it can do for us we often become more inspired to reap the benefits!