What comes to mind when you think of the word Meditation?
Monks ommming on a mountain top?
Meditation, I feel, is misunderstood.
For a long time, I misunderstood what it is.
Quite simply, Meditation is an intentional state of focus.
As I tell my meditation students - it's an opportunity to take a break from the Monkey Mind and it's ongoing judging, planning, remembering, and worrying.
If you want to start meditating, here are 3 simple ways you can.
1. Observing your Breath.
The first way to meditate is right under your nose: following your breath.
Without changing how you're breathing in any way, simply follow your breathing as you breathe in, and breathe out.
Once you've finished reading this paragraph, take a break from reading this for the next 60 seconds and follow your breath.
Notice when you are inhaling.
Notice when you are exhaling.
Notice if you are breathing through your mouth or your nose or maybe a combination.
Notice when your mind wanders and begins to think.
When it does (and it will) return to your breath.
This is a simple Breath Meditation.
Try it now.
2. Observing sounds.
A second way to meditate, or a second 'gateway' which is another way of thinking about it, is Sound.
Once again, read how this is done before experiencing it for yourself.
Pay attention to the sounds you can hear.
If you are inside a room, notice what sounds you can hear both inside the room, and outside.
Pay attention to any quieter moments or moments of silence.
Your mind will try and label what you hear.
''Birds singing'' and ''traffic'', for example.
Listen without labelling.
Allow the sounds to keep you into the present moment.
This is a simple Sound Meditation.
Try it now.
3. Observing the body.
A third way to meditate is through observing your body.
Again, read how this is done before trying it for your self.
Pay attention to your inner body.
Start by paying attention to the top of your head.
Notice if there's any tension, feeling or sensation in this part of your body.
Bring your attention down the body slowly.
Observe the energy of the body. If you feel heavy or light.
You can also pay attention to just one part of your body, like your hands.
This is a simple Body Meditation.
Give it a go now.
Awareness and thinking are two different functions of the brain.
Awareness is like a spotlight.
Awareness is being.
It helps you to become present through observation of your breath, sounds, or your body.
Thinking is a form of doing. A mental activity. Usually automatic but it purposeful also, for example when you are trying to solve a problem or writing a to-do list.
Thinking, obviously, is helpful. But as Alan Watts said, ''a person who thinks all the time has nothing to think about except thoughts. So he loses touch with reality, and lives in a world of illusion''.
Meditation is a powerful tool to shift from constant thinking (which by nature is repetitive and negative) to Awareness.
It's possible to meditate almost anywhere.
You can meditate whilst walking and whilst sitting or laying down.
If you're starting out, I suggest beginning by meditating sitting on a chair.
Setting a timer for 2 minutes and practising one of the above meditations.
Over time, you can meditate for longer periods of time and play around with the many different types of meditation that exist as there are certainly more than the 3 above.
Enjoy (or should I say, Namaste) and let me know how you get on by leaving me a comment below.
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