Now here’s a massive subject that is very close to my heart. There are so many different types of meditation to try and so many reasons to try it.
I think some people are put off by the image of long orange robes, or uncomfortable sitting postures. But none of those things are necessary. It is not just for monks and hippies, I promise! These days everyone from corporate bosses to prisoners are doing it. Through doing meditation they are achieving all sorts of wonderful things for themselves.
Meditation can be as simple as sitting still and quieting your mind wherever you are, or it can involve listening to a guided meditation. There are such things as walking and yoga meditations and so it goes on. The time allowed for meditation can be a little as just a few minutes, to days of silent retreat. It can be as big or as little a deal as you want it to be and even a few minutes can have a huge positive impact on your day.
Some people believe that unless you still your mind completely and don’t allow any thought you are not doing it right. Others are more flexible and allow imagination into the equation such as in guided meditations. I’m fairly convinced that only enlightened people can actually quiet their thoughts entirely for more than just a second or two. I aim slightly lower in my meditations.
I have been practicing for years now, and have a variety of tools in my repertoire. I do practice every day, but often only in 10 minute sessions. Sometimes I listen to a guided meditation and go on a journey in my minds’ eye – enjoying beautiful things and meeting people.
Other times I sit and chant a mantra silently in my mind to give part of my mind something to do, while the rest of my mind is calm and quiet.
The ultimate challenge for me is just to sit in stillness and just be with my breath.
The practice serves multiple purposes for me. It gives me some time, out of my “real” life to be still. Being not doing. Sitting still and at peace I can shut out all the thoughts that have been running wild in my head all day. It calms me and relaxes me. Separating me from all the attachments to things and actions and doing. I often come away with a fresh perspective and can approach things with a more positive attitude after a meditation.
The time is also useful because it allows me to pay attention to my thoughts. Really noticing the types of things that I say in my head. The way I talk to myself, and the way I think about the world in my subconscious. Paying attention in this way can be very enlightening, because I sometimes see patterns and I can see how I wind myself up about pointless things just from the words I use to myself.
If someone asked me for my suggestion as to what one change they should make in their life that was likely to make a positive difference I would recommend starting to meditate for just 10 minutes every day. It doesn’t even matter what type of meditation, and in fact it’s best to try a few different sorts at the start. Then choose 1 to stick with it for at least 3 months. I believe that this one thing would make a huge difference to a persons life!
What’s your favourite meditation technique? I’d love to know, so please comment below.