When was the last time you stopped and took a few deep breaths? Was it because you were stressed, worried or anxious about something? Maybe it was because you had run up the stairs too fast… Have you ever stopped longer than those few deep breaths, long enough to completely clear your mind? In today’s day and age, we are always on the go. This is not a new phenomenon. However, slowly awareness is beginning to develop of the vital and crucial significance that taking time out for one is.
Meditation is taking still time to turn to the inner self and acknowledge how your body is feeling. Once we enter the meditative state our mind is cleared and relaxed. Someone once said to me, meditating is like a state of sleep but sitting up. When we sleep, we reach this deep state of relaxation and recovery, but what if we can do this mindfully? It has vast benefits for our body and mind.
In my personal experience, meditation has changed my life. But it has been subtle and developed overtime. I will admit that I go through fazes where I am more committed than other times. It is natural to find yourself slip in and out of practice as your step into this new growth. As any new task you have to learn it. It takes time until it becomes second nature. I know that when I am taking time out to meditate, my decision-making has more clarity during the days, my dreams are calmer at nights and I have an overwhelming sense of confidence in dealing with challenges or obstacles thrown my way. The times I am busy, stressed and not having space to myself, I get the exact polar opposite feelings; cloudy thoughts, anxiety and inability to make clear, confident decisions. Many people also find it unleashes a deep sense of creativity within their thoughts, which are expressed through hobbies or work. How beautiful!
This brings me to my next question; Space. Why are people scared of space and stillness? Being alone has become so foreign and such a frightening concept for so many people. At the end of the day, you are truly only left with your own personal consciousness, so why not take time out to nurture what lies deep within your skin and bones? When you can find bliss and enjoyment from being in the company of your own mind that’s when you know you have conquered true happiness. Your friends enjoy your own company, why can’t you enjoy it too? Space is a beautiful thing, which allows you time to recoup, recharge and gather your feelings, visions and ambitions. This is generally what scares people off, but when you start mediating - you find clarity and peace in these thoughts.
How do you meditate? There are many different practices. People suit different styles and it is very important you find what works for you. Don’t be hard on yourself either. It takes time and practice. You are training your mind to stop thinking… Have we ever been taught to consciously do that in our life? No. So we are re-training the way our mind operates. That is not always an easy task!
Always start with the breath. This connects each one of us to our core. Following each breath in and out is the perfect way to begin calming yourself. Feel your breath reaching the deepest part of your stomach.
Personally, I have a mantra; “Om Namah Shivaya.” This is a Hindu mantra, which means ‘turn to the inner self.’ I sit upright in a comfortable position with my legs crossed or stretched outright. Occasionally I will lie flat on my bed, ensuring my body is not crossed over in any way. I repeat the mantra in my mind, close my eyes and focus my attention on my third eye. This helps to keep me focused. I sometimes place my hands on my stomach to remind me of my breath when I find my thoughts trailing off.
I recommended doing research into different meditation techniques to see what seems comfortable for you. Sometimes listening to a chant or mantra can help you stay centered. Some other types of meditation styles to look at are Kundalini, Transcendental and Zen. There are some Apps available now to train you, I have used Smiling Mind, which is great for beginners.
Namaste and happy meditating.