Here’s What You Need To Know & Why It Matters
Are you curious to how meditation can benefit you? Or have you always wanted to meditate but you don’t really know how or where to begin? If that’s you, you’re in the right place. And even if that isn’t you, you’re welcome here, too.
NTdR? (No Time, didn’t Read?) — In short, meditation is simply a practice of awareness; where you sit with & notice how all over the place thoughts really are.Meditation is a practice where the “goal” is to help improve our ability to notice things within & outside of ourselves. It also helps us to become conscious regarding our thoughts, flowing in and out.
Meditation Reconnects You to You
While meditating, we often (in most cases) close our eyes to what’s going on around us. From an outsiders perspective, that may seem like an act of self indulgence & selfishness. They may think that concentrating on yourself & forgetting about the existence of life outside of you is wrong. They may also feel that with so many problems, worries, & concerns existing all over, that sitting in silence doesn’t serve any good deeds to bettering the world.
Here’s a different perspective–
The first stage of meditation is to acknowledge that you are living in this moment. You are living life by making wise decisions to create a happier, healthier and more fulfilling life. You take lead by first making the most of your present life so you can spread happiness to those around you. Meditation in the early stage is to gain awareness of your body and let your senses guide you to peace and tranquility.
Meditation reconnects us to reality. It helps to center us, to find peace, so that we can then transcend peace to those around us. So I don’t think meditation is selfish, but rather selfless.
How to meditate, where, when, and why?
Goal— Before meditating, take a moment to notice your surroundings (become aware of your current experience). Cultivate a sense of knowing; a general awareness of patterns. What kind of sounds can you hear? What kind of thoughts are you having? What do you see? How do you feel? What is your intention for the meditation practice? What are you hoping to achieve?
Duration— How long do you plan to meditate? 5 min? 10 min? 20? an hour? Create a time limit and then set a timer for yourself.
Mindset—-try let go of striving to be perfect or master at meditation and just see how it goes.
When you’re distracted, be kind to yourself. Whenever you noticed your thoughts escaped you, just gently return your attn back to something in the present moment (like your breathe) without judging yourself.
Try to keep an open mindset of sensations, thoughts, experiences.
Be curious like a scientist. If a thought arises & distracts you, observe the thought. With kindness, you may think to respond to such distracted thoughts by saying, “Wow I have this thought again. What is it saying?
Let go of black n white thinking. There is no right or wrong way to do this.
If you find that you’re distracted a lot, that’s ok because you have an opportunity to do what’s called redirection (purposefully shifting your attention away from distraction).
If you find that you’re able to focus for a long time… that’s what’s we call sustain attention.
Either way, you’re not doing anything wrong. Remember it’s a practice.
Posture —You want to be seated or positioned comfortably. If you’re seated (whether on a chair or on the ground), allow yourself to find a posture that provides you with a sense of centeredness, strength, dignity. Allow your shoulders to drop & relax, eyes to close or left half open with a soft gaze.
You want to be in an alert position–which side note— just proves to show that meditation isn’t about relaxation.
Autonomy —-You are in choice here. You are in control. You have the power to stop your practice whenever u want. Understand that you have the freedom to do so.
When your mind wanders, remember that this is normal. It’s what the mind does.
Notice if any pain is present. And then become present with it. Instead of immediately reshifting your position, so you don’t feel it, what would it be like to cultivate curiosity? Observe the impulse to get rid of the pain. If the pain is too much, see if you can sway away from the feeling, & shift your present moment awareness to the breathe.
Non-acceptance — When we struggle to sit with what arises (whether it be thoughts, feelings, sensations, etc), that tells us we still have things to address & work out within ourselves. When we instead judge the moment & try to escape it without doing the inner work to heal, then healing will be impossible.
“You cannot give away what you don’t own. Own up to whatever your experience brings to you, so that you can freely let it go.”
Acceptance = Is willingness or can also be considered acknowledgment. Acceptance doesn’t mean you throw in the towel. This doesn’t mean, ‘if you think you can’t do something, accept it’– that would be giving u rather than accepting. Acceptance refers to your experience from moment to moment.
By acknowledging your experience (a feeling, a sensation, a thought) & by going into it, you will notice that the experience changes. Even with physical pain– try experimenting by actually feeling it. But remember, you’re not looking to get rid of the feeling. You’re looking to acknowledge this sensation, feeling, or thought WITHOUT trying to change it at all. Pure acceptance of it, just as it is.
The Monkey Mind (Thoughts are messy)
Thoughts raid our minds on a constant basis. The mind is always on go…jumping back and forth, thinking of things we still have to do in the future and/or thinking of things from the past. This can be referred as what is known to be — the monkey mind
Once you begin meditating, you’ll quickly be introduced to the monkey mind, noticing just how scattered thoughts really are. This is normal. The brain just needs to be trained & focused in grounded awareness. This can be learned by coming back to the body & the breathe every time you notice the monkey mind trying to distract you away or when you notice your thoughts have wandered.
Questions to Reflect on
To cultivate a stronger relationship with yourself, ask yourself certain questions whenever a particular thought, feeling, sensation arises. Some examples of questions you may like to consider can be–
1. What is going on right now? What are these thoughts? Sensations?
2. Once you become aware, see if you can be present with it, without trying to change it. How did you feel when your mind wandered? What did you do when your mind wandered? What did you do when this negative feeling came up? How did you react?
3. Is there something about this experience that you also recognize in your daily life? Or how can this experience help you in your daily life?