Meditation is the practice of mindfulness, or the practice of training the mind to behave and perform in a certain way, to promote peace and well-being. With the hectic pace of modern life, many people become stressed and over-worked.
Meditation can help with this, as by training your mind in a certain way, you slowly become less stressed and more at peace with everything that is around you. There's a good reason why it has been practised for thousands of years!
You might be asking, why learn to meditate?
Well, the main purpose of meditation is to make our minds peaceful and calm, or simply put to be positively mindful.
This mental state helps us to promote mindfulness and starts to detach us from our problems and worries of life and as a result, we are happier!
I don't think I need to go into why happiness is a good thing!
Modern meditation is a more modern look on the practice, with more focus on the de-stressing of one's mind, rather than the spiritual associations that you can choose to have with it; which makes it more adaptable to modern culture and more relevant in your life!
There are many ways to modernly meditate, so I am going to explain some of the simplest ways to start you off!
With these techniques, feel free to sit however you want. Whether it be a certain yoga position or just cross-legged. It really does not matter!
If you wish to sit (which is highly recommended), this cushion should help to support potentially achy area's, and associating an object with the practice will make it easier to move your mind from busy to calm.
Time is also your choice, you can meditate for minutes at a time, or several hours. I recommend a minimum of 5 minutes, this will move your mind from rushed to in the moment; any less and the entire session is futile.
Close your eyes and focus on your breathing, taking mental notes of the inhale and exhale as each breath comes and goes. You can count these as 1 and 0, in and out, it’s up to you!
At first, your mind will be busy, and we might even feel that meditation is just making our mind busier; but we are just becoming more aware of how our mind is.
Don't worry if you consciously control your breath while doing this; I did for the first 60 or so sessions, but over time you will train yourself just to observe rather than control.
This will seem like an impossible task, but trust me. It gets easier.
Close your eyes and imagine a calm sky. This is your mind. Your mind is just a sky, where clouds are your thoughts that pass across it.
With each thought that comes to your mind, picture a cloud passing across your sky and focus on the overall sky rather than each individual cloud.
This way of meditating is particularly useful if you are struggling with the breath observation as it allows you to let go of the mental thoughts of breath and focus on something completely different while still observing mindfulness.
This can also work with any other type of visualisation, like cars in a city, or waves on a beach.
Close your eyes and pick a starting position on your body, usually the toes or head. Concentrate on whatever sensations or feelings you can feel in that area or if you cannot feel anything, focus on not feeling.
Do not attempt to find any feelings, just observe the general area. Make a conscious effort to calm that part of your body, taking mental notes of each body part, and move upwards/down the body, repeating the calming process at each muscle group/limb.
Meditation is certainly not some "cure" that will change your entire life after a couple of simple five-minute sessions, and it will certainly not make all your problems go away; but what it will do is allow you to have a more positive "in the moment" outlook on life, which will positively affect yourself and those around you.
Let me know how this works for you!