Meditation = contemplation, thought, thinking, musing, pondering, consideration,reflection, deliberation, rumination, reverie, relaxing
Meditation is to the mind is as exercise to the body and like exercise there are various forms to target specific areas and mental skills.
It is not easy for a person to sit for hours on end and think of nothing or empty their mind, but there are some tips to ease into the practice.
This technique involves focus on a single point for example your breathing. Take a breath, repeat a mantra, focus on the flame of a candle, listen to a repetitive sound or count something repetitively. Single focusing the mind is a challenge and you might try starting for a shorter, fixed period of time and then work up to longer periods.
If you feel your mind wandering refocus your awareness on the object. Rather than allowing random thoughts to overtake you, let them go and in so doing improve your concentration.
Mindfulness encourages the user to observe their thoughts as they float through the brain, the intention being to be aware of them but not to engage them or judge them. Through this experience you can see the patterns that your thoughts and feelings tend to move in and as you become more aware of your tendency to see each thought as pleasant or unpleasant, good or bad you can develop an inner balance and avoid that tendency.
The practice of both of these methods involves stillness. Other techniques include the cultivation of compassion or seeing negative events and refocusing them in a positive light.
The objective of meditation is to achieve the relaxation response, a response that causes a reduction in the activity of the sympathetic nervous system.
Short-term benefits to the nervous system:
- slowed respiratory rate
- less anxiety
- lower cortisol levels
- feeling of well-being
- less stress
- deeper relaxation
- lowered blood pressure
- improved circulation
- lower heart rate
- less perspiration
Research also shows positive effects on brain and immune function among meditators. It also provides a feeling of liberation from attachment to things we can’t control, like external circumstances or strong internal emotions. It also frees us from needlessly follows desires or clinging to experiences and produces calmness of mind and a sense of inner balance.
1. Set up an area that inspires and relaxes you.
2. Sit or lie comfortably in the space.
3. Close your eyes.
4. Breathe naturally. Do not try to control the breath.
5. Observe how your body moves with each inhalation and exhalation. Sense the movement of your body. Feel your shoulders, chest, ribs, belly. If your mind wanders turn your attention back to your breath. Try to do this for 2–3 minutes to start and continue for a little longer each time.