If you’re keen to try meditation, having heard how popular and beneficial it can be, here is a list of things you’ll need to help you get started:
Small list, isn’t it? Surprisingly, you don’t need to wrap yourself up in a pair of curtains. You don’t need to get into the lotus position. You don’t need a fancy yoga mat or a book of mantras. As long as you’ve got a couple of minutes to spare and you’re still breathing, you’ve got everything you need to start meditating right now.
Seriously, here’s what you really need to be able to meditate:
- 5 or 10 minutes of free time
- The willingness to try it
- Somewhere quiet you can concentrate
Don’t get hung up on the word “meditation” – it just means allowing yourself to experience a little peace. To practice it yourself, you only need to sit down or lie down and focus on your breathing. Try this simple exercise to see how easy it can be:
- Sit/lie down in a comfortable place
- Breathe in and out slowly and deeply
- Count each “in” breath and “out” breath
- If your mind wanders, start counting over again
That’s all there is to it. Meditation can be as simple as focusing on something (in this case your own breath) and relaxing into the moment. You could just as easily focus on the light fixture above your head. Or you could close your eyes and focus on an image in your mind. Or you could go for a walk and focus on your feet hitting the ground. It doesn’t matter where you are or what you focus on, though, because with this kind of meditation, it’s the focusing that’s important.
Slow Down and Smell the Flowers
Meditation helps you to slow your mind down. In a world where so many things are vying for your attention throughout the day, your brain gets overloaded with stuff. That makes it hard to give your attention to any one thing in particular and hard to take stock of what’s going on around you.
There are two things you need to remember about meditation. The first thing is that it’s really just another way to take a quick break, to give yourself some time out from the hectic pace of life. And everybody needs that now and then.
The second thing to remember is that when you switch off from the busy, noisy life around you, your mind will start to wander. Thoughts and feelings will come floating up into your brain. Let them come. You can’t clear your mind, as some suggest, because that’s impossible. Instead, keep returning to whatever it is you’re focusing on.
And remember this crucial fact: how you feel when you’re meditating isn’t really the goal of the exercise – it’s how you feel afterwards that counts. People who meditate on a regular basis will tell you they feel more centered, more balanced, more connected to the world around them. They’re able to focus with more intensity, which makes them more productive. They feel happy and content because they’ve had the time to chill out and put their lives into perspective.
Try it yourself for a couple of weeks to see what a difference it can make to your world.
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