Am I meditating right? What is meditation?
Meditation is a highly focused and relaxed state of concentration where we can access more of our brain, increase our perspective, and access information beyond the limits of our active mind. The benefits of meditation have been empirically researched and proven to enhance memory, increase physical healing, treat/cure addiction, depression, anxiety, increase creativity, and the list goes on.
There are three major forms of meditative practice, and some overlap. Explore them all and notice which one speaks to you. For me, breath-work is most effective and easy to learn. I also enjoy studying the Yamas and Niyamas, Kabbalah or Reiki.
Below is a brief description of the types of meditation:
Concentration: focusing on an object (candle, picture), sound or word (mantra, music), breath-work (counting, even nostril breath, alternate nostril), movement (yoga asana, walking), or prayer (metta prayer and serenity prayer);
Mindfulness: a nonjudgmental/noncritical observation of thoughts, feelings or any physical sensations that arise;
Contemplation/spiritual/energetic: turning to higher source of wisdom (wise self, a power greater than self, your creator, source) for inspiration, answers and guidance, by stating the thought or question or setting the intention;
Gift yourself 15 minutes of meditation. We are all busy and we all have the same excuses: "I don't have time," "I don't know how," or "I have too much to do." Simplify your life to add 15 minutes of this ancient practice to your day. Follow these tips for meditating and you'll be on your way to bliss.
1. Begin your meditation with PMR. With any meditation practice, I highly suggest you include a Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR) exercise to relax and settle the active body. (Read any of my meditations on my website and soon to be published book for an easy PMR script).
2. Join or attend a guided meditation group in your community. It is best to work with a guide to learn how and ask questions. (We offer a community meditation group each week led by various teachers in the community. Come join us!)
3. Meditation can be done seated on a cushion, a chair, laying down or standing. You can lean on a wall or stack cushions under your legs. Some teachers encourage a straight spine. As you strengthen your meditation practice, you can explore the difference with a straight spine or a cross legged pose.
4. Eyes can be closed, slightly closed, or open depending on the type of meditation. Visualization may be best with eyes closed, while a meditation with music or nature may be best with eyes open.
5. Set aside the same time each day to meditate. Start with 5 minutes and gradually increase your time. Set a timer to keep focused. There are apps that you can download like "Insight timer" and many others. (Mornings are a wonderful time to meditate and sets the intention for your day!)
6. Empty your bladder and turn off electronic distractions.
7. Consider adding incense and essential oils as a wonderful way to enhance your meditation practice.
I hope you found this article helpful. Eventually you'll start to notice the benefits of your meditation. It takes time so be patient with yourself.
All are invited to join our weekly guided meditation group on Wednesday nights at 8 p.m. at 800 Kenilworth Drive, Suite 828, Towson, MD 21204. 443-803-3848
We'd love to hear from you:
Please share your comments or questions, or share your meditation mantras, prayers with our community.
Shanti shanti shanti.