Meditation often creates an image of a person sitting in the lotus position, levitating in a cloud of incense. Spiritual development has always been and will continue, but how do we practise meditation in a way that suits our busy lifestyles in the fast-paced 21st century, and how do we benefit?
There is much reading material now available both at an esoteric and intellectual level. Daniel Goleman, for example, has opened the mindset and led many to acknowledge the importance of emotional and spiritual (now social) intelligence in the corporate world, and how IQ alone is no longer adequate a measure of intelligence.
What about the rest of us? How can meditation help us achieve general wellbeing, calmness and the brilliance, which sits within us all? And how do we discern and choose from all the available information and products?
Who should learn to meditate?
Meditation is recommended for anyone who wishes to enjoy deeper peace, greater freedom, improved health and mastery of life.
Why should you meditate?
Meditation is one of the most powerful tools to restore harmony and gain access to the bodies' inner intelligence.
What are the benefits of meditation?
The mind becomes quiet allowing the body to gain the deep rest necessary to release stress and fatigue. Meditation is often used and recommended to manage stress and other external triggers that create inner emotional disturbance. Meditation opens the pathway to intuitive insight, creativity and nurtures self empowerment.
Will I need to change my lifestyle?
Meditation is for people of every age, culture and religion, and does not require specific beliefs. The only change is to make time to meditate regularly.
Meditation enables you to create new attitudes and responses to life, giving a clear understanding of yourself. Meditation is the process of rediscovering, enjoying and using the positive qualities already latent within you.
Like any skill, meditation requires practice to achieve positive and satisfying results. And by doing a little every day, it soon becomes a natural and easy habit that generously rewards you for the effort it involves.
Here are the first steps to get you started
- Make a regular appointment with yourself for 10 to 20 minutes each morning and or evening.
- Find a quiet place. Soft light and gentle music can create an appropriate atmosphere.
- Sit comfortably upright on the floor, in a chair or in a position that you are most comfortable, including lying down.
- Close your eyes.
- Slowly withdraw your attention from all sights and sounds by gently focusing on the in breath and the out breath.
- Become the observer of your own thoughts.
- Don't try to stop thinking, just be the observer. Acknowledge but don't judge or get carried away with your own thoughts, just watch. When you become aware your focus has shifted from the breath, gently acknowledge the thought and then return to your focus.
- Gradually the thoughts will slow down and you will begin to feel more peaceful.
- Gently close your meditation and slowly return your mind and body to full external awareness, wiggling the fingers and toes to increase the blood flow, taking a full-body stretch and several deep breaths.
- Be gentle with yourself.
There are many variations to the above "first steps" as there are many techniques and practices. As you become more comfortable with practising meditation you may wish to vary or expand the "first steps".
Mary MacGrotty is a qualified and passionate energy wellness practitioner with more than 20 years experience providing meditation, energy wellness and spiritual development consultations, workshops for private and corporate clients, and hosting wellness conferences. Mary may be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org for any queries.