The Basics of Meditation
If one of your new year resolutions includes taking on a meditation practice, then this is for you. Meditation symbolizes a stillness of the mind, a feeling of balance and overall peace. Meditation is the mental process involving focused attention or calm awareness. Our minds are very much occupied with the vast activities that occur in our daily lives. Our senses are pulled in many directions which oftentimes lead to frustration, confusion, chaos, anxiety and loss of control.
Stilling the mind or meditating is the best way to redirect your senses into a proper operating capacity.
This practice (meditation and stilling the mind) is a process and takes time and practice to master. Be gentle and patient with yourself when attempting to meditate.
It is very natural and normal for the mind to wander when meditating. Don’t be alarmed or frustrated. When you notice that your mind has wandered simply, redirect your focus to the stillness of the mind. This can be done by reconnecting to the breath.
Benefits of Meditation or Stilling the Mind:
- Become more connected to yourself, others and the environment
- Reduces stress and anxiety
- Decrease in pain and discomfort in the body
- Clearer thoughts
- Being more relaxed
- More effective thinking
- Emotional balance
- Sense of peace and calm
How to Meditate
- Choose a quiet and peaceful space.
- Wear something comfortable.
- Position yourself in a comfortable position (sitting or lying down).
- Consciously release the mind from all external thoughts.
- Close your eyes.
- Visualize yourself in your most peace and happy place (on the beach, fishing, at the park, your bed, on a mountain, etc.). Physically see yourself in your mind at that place.
- Connect with your breathing. Take deep inhalation – filling the chest and belly. Release with deep exhalation – totally emptying the chest and belly.
- As you are breathing count each breathe as you take it starting with 60 and counting backwards. (The purpose of counting backwards is because it takes more effort to count backwards than forward. This will help keep the mind focused.
- While counting continue to visualize yourself at your happy and peaceful place.
- When you finish counting take a minute with the eyes closed and notice how calm and peaceful you are.
- You might have to start out with the number 30 and work your way up to 60, then 100, then maybe 500.