Why Should I Meditate?
Meditation is the best way to mentally reduce stress and develop an air of peace and tranquillity. Find your balance and read on!
Meditation is the art of silencing the mind. When the mind is silent, concentration is increased and we experience inner peace in the midst of worldly turmoil. This elusive inner peace is what attracts so many people to meditation and is a quality everyone can benefit from.
What are the Benefits of Meditation?
I don't recall when I first starting meditating, however, I can easily recall the benefits of over 6 years. Not everyone agrees that spending time in silence, doing nothing is the best use of our time. However, nothing quite centers me after a chaotic day where I feel pulled in multiple directions like 15 minutes to myself to meditate, and sit in silence with nothing but my tangled thoughts. Especially, with conflicting thoughts and the overwhelming sensation that I don't know what to do or I feel that I am struggling to be focused on my priorities. Meditation allows us the space to be with yourself and be present to your world.
Now that is not to say that every time I meditate it is without a struggle to control my mind. Sometimes, it is and other times it feels effortless. There are many different types (over 7 distinguishable methods) of meditation. However, in this article, I will only be focusing on the benefits.
Why Meditate? Balance
These are some of the benefits of meditation:
- Improved Concentration: A clear mind makes you more productive, especially in creative disciplines like writing.
- Less Susceptible & Reactionary: Do you allow yourself to be reactive or upset by little things? It is the nature of the human mind to magnify small things into serious problems, that is to say, to make mountains out of molehills. Meditation enables us to detach. It can enable us to live in the present of here and now, rather than worry unnecessarily about the past or future. Worrying is a state of mind that is self-inflicted by us due to a perceived threat. When we look beyond, we can become present to the bigger picture of life and not be influenced by meaningless things.
- Improved Health: Numerous studies have been completed over recent years pointing to the health benefits of meditation. Meditation has been proven to reduce stress levels and alleviate anxiety. From the result of stress reduction, many benefits correlate from a stress free life.
- Self-Awareness: Meditation enables us to have a deeper understanding of our inner self, our nature and our place in the world. Through meditation, it is possible that we can gain a better understanding of our life's purpose.
But, I don't have the time to meditate!
Like myself, you might have perfected the art of being too busy, being busy. I get it, you are probably reading this right now in line for coffee or perhaps while you put a load of laundry in. It seems like we as humans love using the excuse of "I'm just too busy". That's exactly why you NEED to meditate. Carving out 30 minutes of your day frankly is easy. What's worse? You know it and I know it. Maybe that means 30 minutes less TV or waking up a bit earlier every morning.
Meditation requires an investment of time, but clearing the mind makes the rest of the day more productive. Let's face it - nothing is better than that feeling of inner peace and then carrying that state of mind throughout the day. For best results, meditate twice a day, once in the morning and once at lunchtime. Try it! You might just find it's time well spent.
okay, so how to meditate?
Like anything worthwhile, meditation requires practice. To get the most from meditation you need to do it every day. This requires a place and time where you will not be disturbed. Here are a few tips for a beginner and again, this is a general guide.
- Sit with a straight back. Don’t try to meditate lying down because you are likely to fall asleep. Meditation brings relaxation and peace but at the same time this is a dynamic peace. Meditation is quite different than the relaxation of sleep. When we really meditate, we are fully alert and conscious. Our sense of awareness is heightened. Afterwards, you’ll have a positive feeling for the world and a renewed sense of dynamism.
- Don’t eat before meditating. After a heavy meal, your body will be lethargic with digestion. Most likely, this will only encourage a nap that much more.
- It is not necessary to meditate in the lotus posture. It is fine to meditate in a chair, as long as the back is straight. Find where and what works best for you to start.
- When you start, it's okay that your mind wanders and thinks about your day. Be present to that and gradually move your mind towards one thing at a time, and then eventually to nothing at all but the presence of the space you are in.
- It is good to meditate early in the morning and once in the early afternoon. It doesn't make much sense to meditate before bed because you have already been impacted by the day. I feel it is more important to be awake and not sleepy, I meditate at 6.30am in order for my mind to rise with the sun.
Mindfulness Sunrise (A quick guide to meditation)
One Pointed Concentration
However you learn to meditate, you must learn to concentrate on one thing at a time. Usually, the mind tries to hold several different thoughts and ideas at once. When you sit down to meditate for the first time, you realize how cluttered the mind is. Mediation teachers have described the mind as a “mad monkey”. However, the mind can be tamed and forced to concentrate on a single thought.
One helpful technique is concentrating on a candle flame. Narrow your gaze to the small tip and block out all other thoughts. When you get distracted, go back to focusing on the candle flame. You can also use other objects like a small dot or flower. The important thing is that you concentrate only on one thing at a time.
Credit to the author:
Check out www.pickthebrain.com where this article has been gathered from.
Tejvan Pettinger is a member of the Sri Chinmoy Meditation Centre. He lives in Oxford where he works as a teacher. He also offers meditation classes as a community service and updates a blog at Sri Chinmoy Inspiration, a collection of articles on meditation and spirituality.