MEDITATION: HOW IT CAN HEAL YOUR LIFE
Creating a meditation practice isn’t as hard as you think, and it can truly heal your life. Meditation is a process; it is a journey; be kind to yourself; be open to the process; have no expectations other than not giving up on yourself. Making the world a better place begins with making you better!
What is meditation? Meditation can be defined as a process of training our minds to “sit still”. To be free from thoughts, and when thoughts, emotions/feelings or sounds arise, to simply acknowledge them as objects, while going back to breathing – in and out…
You can focus on a mantra, or simply the breath. Because there are so many different practices of meditation, and definitions, not all agreed upon, it is important if you have never tried meditation, to educate yourself a little bit before starting. I believe it is also helpful when you find a meditative tradition that resonates with you. No one style is better than the other, so it will be important for you to trust yourself and your senses when starting.
Meditation can be practiced by any religion, culture or belief system. If you think of meditation as a way to become more mindful, internally peaceful and conscious of how you interact with others, you have already mastered the idea! Meditation is a powerful grounding technique, that can provide much needed relief from stress, anxiety and despair. If you set a simple goal of trying to meditate each day for 10 minutes for 30 days, this journey will become a habit you won’t want to break.
What type of meditation do I choose? Find something that resonates with you. It can be daunting to do a google search or an Amazon book search on Meditation and become so overwhelmed that you don’t know where to start. One of the quickest ways to avoid becoming overwhelmed for beginners, is to simply go to YouTube and search “meditation”. Here you will find pretty much anything you want. You can even filter it further to things such as: Mindfulness meditation; Vipassana Meditation; 10-minute meditations; Meditation for stress; Meditation for anxiety, you get the idea. This is a good start, but let’s visit a few major categories, just so you have a little bit more information if you are just starting. Each of these types of meditation also have different techniques within their own domains. Again, none is better than the other, so feel free to experience several types before settling on what works for you, and start small, such as 10 minutes a day!
Mindfulness Meditation: Originating from Buddhist teachings, mindfulness or “open mind” meditation is a great step to learning how your mind works. I think of this as “watching my mind” as an observer. All thoughts are allowed to cross through the mind, then the focus is brought back to your breath. This is a very non-judgmental process, as all meditation practices, and helps you learn how your mind actually works. This is a great technique for reducing stress, reducing impatience, Headaches/Migraines, you name it, this can help. You can use this technique with a guided meditation. Guided meditations I like if I find myself getting too distracted. This simply means there is someone guiding you through the meditation at key points throughout the session. When you find your mind wandering acknowledge the thought, the sound, the feeling etc., say “hello” feeling, thought or sound, and let it pass you by, then go back to the breath…in…and out…feel the breath go in your lungs; feel the breath go out…In essence, with Mindfulness Meditation, you are training your mind to be “present” by using your breath as the anchor.
Focused Meditation: Trying to retrain the mind by stopping the thoughts through focus. I find this very familiar to mindfulness practice. You also will anchor yourself with an object, such as breathing, when you notice your mind wander. Many Buddhists practitioners for the most part, will tell you this is the same essentials as mindfulness meditation, Vipassana, etc.
Transcendental Meditation (TM): Oftentimes called the simplest, most natural form of meditation. People that practice this type refer to this as effortless. There is typically no philosophy attached to this kind of practice. This is a silent technique, whereby you close your eyes…and go deep where it is quiet. Oftentimes described as being beneath an ocean. It is quiet and still beneath the roughness of the ocean. There are some fabulous TM YouTube videos that instruct you in this type of meditation. TM allows the mind to experience the “source of thought”, with no emphasis on “training” the brain or concentration, or necessarily, stopping thoughts.
With TM the use of mantras or a sound is common.
Tune in next month where the blog topic will be:
“How your Religion Can Help You, or Enslave You; It’s Your Choice”
Adrienne has been a Registered Nurse for over 25 years with expertise in critical care nursing. She currently is a Reiki Practitioner in her spare time, and works as a Nurse Paralegal full-time. She has been practicing Reiki since 2014.