I hope you have dabbled a little in some relaxation and have begun to meditate. I also hope you came back to read more because you have discovered at least a little desire to meditate and learn more about it.
So, maybe you have found a place and a position that you are comfortable in. Hopefully you have learned how to control your breathing for relaxation, at least enough for a start.
The effort of focusing completely on our breathing takes our minds away from the distractions that constantly try to invade our mind and eliminate feelings that will lead to a time of calm. With repeated effort the ability to clear your mind, to think of nothing, does occur and the process of meditation takes on its own energy.
Our mind and our body can only tolerate so much stress, emotional reactions, anxiety, worry and even anticipation. Each and everyone of us reaches a saturation point and the results become uncomfortable at best; for some it may be unbearable, but for all of us it is unhealthy and detrimental to our well being and to the well being of those around us. We can not avoid these parts of our lives, we can not eliminate the feelings, fears and anxiety that comes with the daily struggle to live our lives and do our jobs. However, we can takes steps to manage our concerns, worries and/or challenges with meditation.
Be assured, there is no right or wrong way to meditate. Just remember your goal is to relax and clear your mind.
Your time to meditate is your time – for you, and you deserve it. We all deserve it.
You can use music in your meditation or silence. You can use scent or lighting. You can repeat a word or phrase to help you concentrate and prevent distracting thoughts. I find that using texture helps me meditate, I have what they call a worry stone made out of malachite. It is a stone
with a small indentation that I rub with my thumb or finger as I relax. Yoga is a form of meditation that many people find useful. Find what works for you. The answer is inside you.
There is even research that tells us how meditation can help us deal with medical conditions too. Of course meditation is not a replacement for traditional medical treatment but it may be a useful addition to your other treatment. It has been known to help with anxiety disorders, asthma, binge eating, cancer, depression, heart disease, high blood pressure, pain, sleep disorders ( and thus fatigue ) and even substance abuse. Please do talk to your doctor about using meditation and the pros and cons of it if you have any of these conditions or other health problems. If nothing else, meditation can help you deal with the stress and anxiety of these health problems.
So, you have your place and your comfortable position. You have even decided what tools help you relax, sounds, scents, an object a word……now you need to practice deep breathing to attain full relaxation. The technique of relaxed breathing involves deep, even-paced breathing. You use your diaphragm muscle to expand your lungs. The purpose is to slow your breathing, take in more oxygen, and reduce the use of shoulder, neck and upper chest muscles while breathing so that you breathe more efficiently, deep even breaths.
Focus all your attention on your breathing. Concentrate on feeling and listening to your breathing as you inhale and exhale through your nostrils. Breathe deeply and slowly. If your attention begins to wander, return your focus to your breathing.
While you are controlling and listening to your breathing, begin to focus on your body. Focus attention on different parts of your body. Become aware of your body’s various sensations, whether that’s tension, pain, warmth or coolness. Gradually work at relaxing your muscles and your limbs, all the while controlling your breathing, deep and even.
Some people combine walking and meditation and this is a healthy way to practice meditation. You start by slowing your pace and feeling your movement, so that you can focus on each motion of your legs or feet. Don’t focus on your destination or how soon you will get there. Concentrate on your legs and feet, maybe repeating the actions in words in your mind such as lift, move and place as you lift each foot, move your leg forward and place your foot on the ground, making the process your “mantra”. I have meditated while quietly riding a horse, using the slow rocking motion, the good smells of horse and leather and the place I’m in to all lull me into relaxation, slow breathing and clearing my mind.
It is common for your mind to wander during meditation, no matter how long you’ve been practicing meditation. If your attention wanders, slowly return to the object, count, sensation or movement you’re focusing on. You will get better and better at it and even a few minutes of uninterrupted meditation will benefit you in many ways.
Remember, there’s no right way or wrong way to meditate. Experiment, and you’ll find out what type of meditation works best for you and what you enjoy doing. Adapt meditation to your needs at the moment and even consider doing more than one type of mediation. Soon you will find that you can relax and do these things without conscious thought, letting your mind clear and your inner self will appear to you then and you will improve your life and your health and your entire well being. In turn, that will benefit those around you. When they ask you what you have been doing that makes you so able to deal with stress and makes you confident and look so rested and healthy, go ahead and share, teach them the benefits of meditation.
The next article will be two kinds of breathing exercises that can be used for meditation. Check back again!