Meditate for Yourself and for the World
Many people associate meditation with a spiritual practice or with some advanced form of yoga. It is true mediation is an ancient practice founded in eastern philosophical schools. It has been incorporated into many different forms of spiritual practices from around the world. Its valued has also been discovered by the West which has led it to be used in many therapeutic settings with great results. There are many different forms of meditation prescribed by a variety of schools depending on results desired. Most meditation practices will offer the same tranquility of the mind, the difference being in the way it is practiced.
Meditation offers a way to clear the mind from all that may be creating stress, stagnated perceptions, or the sense of overburdened thinking. Meditation is the practice of allowing the mind to be at peace in order to allow a reset to take place. To enter into a state of resilience to a have a reprieve from the hectic workings of the mind and busy events of life. Like most things when we stop long enough to take a step back our perception of the situation shifts. Practicing the opportunity to let the mind do this is helpful, even beyond the immediate moment. Meditation has the ability to build a collective response within the mind that allows a state of peace to be accessed even during high stress situations.
Consistent practice is useful because it trains the mind to be calm. This practice helps to shield the body as well, creating a means to release stress mentally before it enters into the body. Many health aliments are thought to be generated by excessive stress that triggers a type of hardening within the physical body in response. Meditation allows a release of emotional stressors that can trigger health issues, making it a great practice for everyone.
Interestingly, research has determined that a consistent practice of mediation actually alters the structures within the brain. This seems to suggest a consistent practice may shift the way our brains respond. It is not known how this might serve us consciously. However, many practitioners attest to finding an easier time focusing on tasks, memorizing data and learning new skills. Perhaps it is the discipline of focused attention or the relaxation that is found within mediation that accounts for these reports, or it may be a hidden potential that becomes activated through the practice.
Ideally, it is best to set a specific time to practice. For beginners I suggest starting with 4 minutes of silence, in the morning before you begin your day and another 4 minutes before you go to sleep. This will allow the habit to form, easily fulfilling a sense of completion with a target that can be effortlessly achieved. Build up the practice to 6 minutes, 8 minutes, 12 minutes and finally 15 minutes sessions. Basic meditation begins with eyes closed seated comfortably, the spine erect with body and mind relaxed. Place the mental focus on the breathing to allow the mind to grow still. Set a timer to allow yourself the freedom to truly let go. When the chime sounds you are done for session. Building up the sessions in small increments supports greater success. Consistency is the key. Make the commitment and stick to it. If time is an issue, set a smaller goal for a shorter meditation session to allow for a solid practice.
How to create a meditation practice
Choose a specific place to practice.
Set a specific time to practice. Dedicate to practice for a minimum of 5 or 10 minutes daily to start.
Set a timer for the chosen amount of time to allow a deeper practice.
Sit with spine straight in a comfortable position to be able to remain still and not move the body during the practice. Use bolsters or blanket as props, if needed.
Close the eyes gently. Breathe in deeply through the nose and out through the mouth.
Focus on breathing without allowing the mind to entertain thoughts. Allow the mind to be empty and the body relaxed to enter into a spacious silence.
When finished give gratitude to the Infinite Intelligence within the practice.
Be consistent and keep practicing. Extend with small increments of time.