I started to explore meditation some years ago and like many at first it sounded like the hardest thing to do. Especially if you’re someone who’s brain at times drives yourself crazy!
What I have grown to understand is that meditation is as individual as the sound of your own voice. It is an exploration for ourselves to uncover what works best for us and there are many styles to choose from, to name a few that I’ve used:
- Guided Meditation
- Mindfulness Meditation
- Mantra Meditation
There are a number of different practices out there and most would fit in one of the above categories.
Meditation allows you to direct your focus inwardly on yourself, this can be confronting to some however developing this connection with your self allows better understand how you operate daily a key to self mastery.
During meditation it is common to have a thought, sense or knowing that could otherwise be described as a ‘penny dropping moment’. This moment can have you see another path to take or decision to make in a given area of your life, freeing up the energy you exerted thinking about it before.
In addition to this some will describe the feeling post meditation as a ‘system reboot’. As you give yourself the chance to let go of thoughts or feelings surrounding that may have previously consumed a lot of your attention. This is an ideal outcome for anyone who lives a busy life as these moments of serenity can be few and far between otherwise.
Where do I start?
For anyone looking to start meditating the first thing to understand is that meditation does not have to look a specific way. If you find your mind going around in circles as you tell yourself “Dammit stop thinking!!! Oh wait I’m thinking… Dammit stop thinking!! Argh!!” Just know this is perfectly ok, move your focus to an ambient noise or the guided audio till your mind calms. I still have this during meditations and it will probably never go away, over time you learn how to guide yourself back to your meditation.
What I would suggest to do is to search for guided meditations, these are GREAT to start with as your mind doesn’t tend to wonder as much with your focus on the instructions being given. Or diving straight into non guided consider starting with ~5 minutes then building on the time as your concentration level grows. From a timer perspective, I love the app ‘Insight Timer’ on the iPhone.
How often should I meditate?
There is no rule to this and it’s quite possible to meditate anywhere even in the pockets of your day. Myself personally I enjoy starting my day with a 15 min meditation as I find its a great kick start for the day. At times if it’s a challenging day I might look to go for a walk at lunch and sit in the park for a quick 1-2 min mediation. Another great time to meditate is of course before bed as this allows you to process the day’s activities allowing your subconscious to manage other elements whilst you sleep.
Again, like the different styles of meditation it is a personal preference and finding what works for you. No matter what you choose however there is power in the consistency of daily meditation.
What to look for when you meditate?
Take notice of any thoughts, feelings and emotions that are surrounding an event in your life that has your focus. Start to notice how your body reacts to the thoughts around this event and what emotions are associated. Then the key is to allow these thoughts and feelings to pass, consider during your meditation becoming an observer of yourself. Taking this position allows you to step out of the stream of emotions. Doing this give you access to greater clarity to see the situation with out the impact of the clouded view of the emotions, leading to the ability to see it as it is ultimately to unlock it. It is this aspect that has brought me the greatest impact in my own life since starting daily meditation.
So give it a go, explore different styles and find something that works for you.