Before we get into the simple steps of meditation, it is important to understand it’s benefits.
Meditation can reduce your stress, enhance your attention, elevate your mood, improve your memory, and control your emotional responses.
It allows you to observe your thoughts and actions so that you can have less knee-jerk reactions.
Many meditators experience better sleep, increased productivity, and an overall sense of well being.
Humans tend to carry around a lot of tension physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Meditation is an ancient practice that has been extensively researched and has been found to have profound effects on the body and mind.
Searching PubMed for meditation studies will bring back over 5,000 results.
Meditation has been clinically found to helpful with overcoming anxiety and depression.
This is because meditation produces global effects on the whole body and increases our awareness.
The best way to experience the benefits of meditation is to actually try it for yourself.
The first thing to learn about meditation is that it should be fun process.
The purpose of meditation isn’t to become a great meditator, but to become great at life.
Remember to keep a playful attitude and have patience with yourself.
There are many different types of meditations: Silent, Guided, Walking, Sitting, Laying Down to name a few.
There are mediations that focus on gratitude, joy, forgiveness, love and many more.
I prefer Silent meditation because you can do it anywhere, anytime, without any guidance or electronic devices.
However, please note that if silent meditation is not working for you, you can start by try other types like guided meditation.
3 Major Insights Through Meditation:
1. Suffering – Suffering is an unavoidable part of the human experience. Attachment is the root of all suffering.
2. Impermanence – Everything in life is temporary and change is the only constant. Regardless of the situation, this too shall pass.
3. Non-Self – Your ego is an illusion. Learn to see that you are the observer of your thoughts, not your thoughts.
Meditation creates the opportunity for you to transcend the duality of our material world.
To quiet the chatter in your mind.
Your goal is to make friends with this chatter.
And the way you do that is through directing your focus to your breath.
You can meditate for 1 minute, 10 minutes or even 60 minutes.
Some monks meditate for hours each day.
7 Steps To Silent Meditation
1. Find a comfortable place to sit. You can cross your feet, or sit in a chair. The important part is that your spine is upright, and your back isn’t slouched over.
2. Slowly close your eyes and focus your attention on your breath.
3. As you inhale, imagine the air above your lips traveling through your nostrils, chest, all the way down filling up your belly.
4. Hold the air in your belly for 3-4 seconds, then slowly release the air and imagine it gently touching your lips as you exhale.
5. As you finish exhaling, wait for 3-4 seconds, and begin inhaling again as per step 3 above.
6. If you find yourself being carried away by a thought, smile internally, and ask the chatter in your mind to bring the focus back on your breath.
7. Repeat steps 3-6 for as long as you can.
Remember to have fun with the process and congratulate yourself with every completed meditation.
The idea is to build a consistent habit of meditation every day.
Usually the best times to meditate are in the morning after you wake up, and at night time before you go to sleep.
You can also install popular meditation apps on your phone like Headspace or Calm if you prefer to try guided meditation.
The goal of meditation is not to shut off your thoughts or get upset when you have them.
If you find yourself having a lot of thoughts, that’s ok and normal.
You can visualize these thoughts as clouds passing by.
Don’t let the clouds carry away your focus.
Let the clouds pass you by and continue to focus your attention on your breath.
It takes practice and persistence to build this skill and make it a habit, just like any other skill in life.
However, you can make it a habit in as little as 30 days.
Meditation allows you to become more aware of your own thoughts, habits, and reactions to things in your environment and your own mind.
Studies show that in less than 90 days, participants who mediated daily exhibited thickening of their prefrontal cortex.
The prefrontal cortex is the area responsible for complex thinking, attention, and personality.
Modern science is only now beginning to understand the profound impact ancient practices like meditation can have on the human experience.