1. To start to truly like yourself.
Sitting in a quiet state and continually coming back to your breath without judgment, or having a goal to attain is like sitting with a stranger, or a long lost friend perhaps. Words are not exchanged; you are just sitting together to keep each other company. Even though you and this person you may barely know are in silence, you are forming a bond. Essentially it is a bond with your self. You are getting to know the you underneath your thoughts, the you that is always there underneath all your emotions. This bond that you are creating develops kindness towards your self and leads to taking better care of your self. You gain a better understanding of your limits, where old hurts lay, what gives you pleasure and what makes you tick. This new vested interest in you will bring about great change in your life.
2. It is mind training for emotional balance and inner peace.
We don’t need to train our minds to become more agitated, angry or upset. It is our nature to magnify our “problems” and it is easy to draw upon these emotions in our hectic lives. The qualities that you do want to develop require intention and focus; remaining calm under pressure, being resilient to criticism, letting go of worry, being able to listen without judgment, intense focus and a dedication to the welfare of others. These are the qualities that take mind training. The potential to develop them is in all of us but it has to be learned and practiced. As you would learn the piano, mind training of this nature takes time and perseverance. A meditation practice is a training ground for these qualities. It helps us focus, and to detach from outcomes, accepting what is. It develops a bigger perspective, helping us not sweat the small stuff. It trains us to stay in the moment and stop worrying about the past or future. It trains us to really see and listen to others without our own agendas getting in the way.
3. To Improve overall health.
There are many studies that show meditation affects our health in positive ways. It reduces stress and anxiety, improves cardiovascular health and promotes deep relaxation. Stress is at the root of all disease. To reduce stress is to reduce our susceptibility to developing a wide range of physiological and psychological health issues. When you meditate you slow down your breathing and normalize your blood pressure. You are more efficient at oxygenating your body through this deep controlled breathing. Your cortisol levels go down and your immune system improves. People who have developed a regular meditation practice find it easier to give up bad habits such as drinking and smoking. Meditation enhances overall mood and helps you have a clearer mind with the ability for intense focus. This promotes productivity and creativity.
How To Meditate
A meditation practice is hard to start and hard to stick to because we are a ‘doing’ culture and our egos don’t like the idea of just sitting and doing nothing for a period of time. You will give yourself a million excuses as to why mediation is pointless, boring and or too hard and you don’t have enough time before you create the habit of just sitting. But persevere. It is such simple practice yet will have profound effect on you life.
1. Start by committing to doing it everyday for 15 minutes. Pick a time of the day that is realistic to stick to and find a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed. Early in the morning is a great time if possible, as it will set a good tone for the whole day. Set a timer so you don’t need to check the clock in the middle of your meditation.
2.Find a comfortable seat. You don’t have to be cross legged or sit in any certain way just make sure you are comfortable and keep your back straight.
3. Turn your attention on you breath. A great way to do this is to focus on taking slow deep breaths. Controlling the exhale and inhale.
4. When you find that your mind has wondered and it will, keep coming back to your breath. You might have to do this 75 times in 5 minutes, the point is not to get rid of your thoughts but to be aware of them and to continually bring your focus back to your body. Your thoughts will then start to settle and become less frequent and you’ll become more alert and conscious. Afterwards this heightened sense of awareness will be carried into your day. Enjoy!