Meditation is learning how to create more space between yourself and how you relate to your thoughts (because your thoughts don’t define you). It’s a practice in awareness and finding a healthy perspective. You’re not trying to eliminate your thoughts or feelings, you are learning how to observe them without judgement.
The action of taking your mind off auto-pilot - realizing you’re deep in thought and coming back to the present moment - stops the cycle of thoughts fuelling your emotions. Over time this develops into a place of quiet confidence and contentment.
How to Meditate
So, how do you begin to learn meditation? Very simply, you start with focusing on the breath. This is referred to as ‘mindfulness meditation’, which is a practice in awareness. All you have to do is close your eyes and focus on your breath. When you realize you have gotten lost in thought (this is awareness), simply come back to the breath. Here is an example of what a mindfulness meditation would look like:
Sit comfortably and take a few big deeps breaths- in through the nose and out through the mouth
Close your eyes and simply follow the natural rhythm of the breath. Where do you feel your breath? Is it in your chest? Or, in your stomach? Are they deep breaths or shallow? Use these little details to focus on as you meditate.
Try following your breath for just 3 minutes. Every time you realize you’ve become lost in thought come back to the present moment
So how did that feel? It’s perfectly normal, at any level, to experience feelings of restlessness, boredom or resistance. Meditation is a skill and therefore, needs to be developed over time.
What’s most important is that you remain consistent. Being able to find a few minutes everyday to meditate is more important than the duration of the meditation itself.
The more you stick with meditation the more benefits you will realize and the more you will understand how your mind thinks and feels. This understanding will allow you to take steps towards a happier and healthier life, with increased clarity, contentment and compassion.
Staying Mindful Post-Meditation
At the end of your meditation make sure to just sit still for a moment and your quality of mind. Make it a priority to carry that feeling of spaciousness and calm with you throughout the day. It’s so easy to just jump up and move on to the next task, so just be conscious of this!
A consistent meditation practice will allow your to pause, put things in perspective, and then choose how to move forward. As you move throughout the day it will provide a pocket of stillness amid all the outer chaos.