By Katie S.
What is meditation?
As defined by google, meditation is “the action or practice of meditating”
To get a deeper meaning, I had to do some digging (I clicked on the next link down the list, dug real deep). According to FreeMeditation, “meditation is a state of thoughtless awareness”. And according to this site, is very hard to achieve. Apparently, what most of us have been doing (or at least me) is not really meditation
(add that to my growing list of misconceptions). Along with this “state of thoughtless awareness”, it also mentions that this “is a state of profound, deep peace that occurs when the mind is calm and silent (that doesn’t happen nearly enough for most of us, if at all), yet completely alert (now that sounds like an oxymoron to me, or maybe I’m doing one of those two things wrong).
How do you meditate?
Question of the day! Being that I am a novice to meditation (I’m only 21 so I’m pretty much a novice in everything) now, as I mentioned before, this is not an easy task, so getting it on the first try (though I fully subscribe to beginners’ luck) is very unlikely. There is a clear, chronological, list of steps to take (I know how much everyone loves following directions):
Step 1: Start small (maybe very small for some of us). Maybe a couple of minutes sitting still and being calm a day (might be pushing it for some of us).
But this is the most important part. Doing it on a daily basis will help you make it a habit (this one’s a good habit, which makes it even harder) and if you can do it every day, you will start to feel the awesome effects of meditation.
Step 2: First things first. It’s best to not put the hard stuff off till the end of the day, so practicing your meditation in the morning will give you the best chance at being successful. Some sites even suggest having some green tea or exercising before or after your practice (why not try and create a few more good habits while you’re at it).
Step 3: Don’t sweat the little stuff. You know when you start a new thing, like yoga or running (this is all from personal experience) and you buy all the newest gadgets and equipment cause you’re just so pumped!
Ya, don’t do that.
You don’t need the best cushion, or the greatest mat or shoes (most people don’t wear shoes while meditating but to each his own) or whatever the sales guy at the sports store is selling you. You just need you, yourself, and you, and a nice, quiet space.
Step 4: Focus.
Most people think that when you meditate, your mind needs to be clear. Imagine your mind is like a white board, and every time a thought comes across it, you just wipe it off (another misconception). It’s ok to let your mind wander a bit, just remember to reel it in and focus on one thing.
Step 5: Rinse and Repeat. Commit to the practice. Whoever said practice makes perfect (if I had a quarter… you know the rest) hit the nail on the head because if you want to get the most out of meditation (or any good habit) you must commit. Half committing will only help you succeed in wasting your time and efforts. Be purposeful and mindful in your practice and it will show.
Should I be meditating?
Meditation is seen as one of the most effective forms of stress relief (which we all need; let’s be real). And it’s been known to cure insomnia, rejuvenate, increase your spiritual connection, and your fulfillment of life.
That’s a lot of good stuff. Granted I have no firsthand experience of any of this (I need to form better habits apparently). Meditation has been practiced and mastered for thousands of years and is proven to have many great effects.
Try it for yourself and see!
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