Meditation is an incredibly beneficial practice. Here’s everything you need to know about meditation, mindfulness and everything in between.
The habit of meditating is a profound ability I was introduced to 2 years ago.
I’ll give you my opinion on it today and give you the run down on how to do it yourself.
I’m not some spiritual woo-woo guy. I’m more of a practical dude, so I’m interested in the practical ramifications of meditation.
I have done it consistently for 20 minutes every day for the last 2 years now and I’ve learned a lot about both the practice of meditation and the manifold of benefits it can have for the mind and body.
Meditation is the habit of for 5, 10, 20 minutes a day, doing nothing.
Meditating is about not thinking about the future, the past, purely resting your awareness in the present moment.
On first hearing the term ‘meditation’ you may have a stereotype in your mind. This stereotype may be that meditation is something you do at a temple with monks. Mediation is an act you can do while sitting at a coffee shop, while you’re on the train to work, while you’re walking; do you see what I’m getting at?
Meditation is a practice you can do anywhere.
Well, why do it? What’s the logic behind it?
It can reduce stress in your life and allow you to relax.
By practicing mindful meditation this state of mind transfers to every moment in your life and every experience brought to you.
Those few brief moments of meditating allow you to have a greater grounding and feeling of presence throughout your experiences.
As a result, the time needed is little in retrospect to the profound rewards you gain.
A Harvard Study has actually shown us that meditation changes the physical wiring of your brain over a matter of only 3 weeks. Meditation creates a greater capacity for focus and happiness.
Something interesting to point out is that people who meditate regularly have fewer temptations towards acts of short term gratification (for example, sugar cravings, smoking) and this means less desire for the unneeded.
Meditation may reduce your blood pressure and increase your resting metabolic rate.
An interesting indirect benefit of meditation is that it can be utilized as a useful tool for getting fitter and building muscle.
Indeed, some of my favorite benefits of meditation are hard to define in words. You begin to understand yourself better, the longer you do it the greater level of self-awareness you cultivate.
Now I will give you the steps needed to start right away.
First, I’d like to be clear on what I mean by thinking about nothing because this may sound silly to the newbie.
When you are meditating and you will have thoughts race through your head at first. Why? Because we live in a distracted environment, phones, busy schedules, etc, so to take the time to be with oneself is a shock to the system.
These thoughts could be “how well am I doing” or “I’m kind of hungry right now”, anything at all.
I want you to let these go and anytime a thought comes into your mind, rather than analyzing it and chasing it like a pit bull.
Try to watch your thoughts float by like a cloud.
Sounds kind of funny, but hear me out.
You have to almost force yourself to leave your conscious thought process and view your thoughts in the third person. This must be done without judgment. This concept is referred to as mindfulness.
I would recommend starting with 1-3 minutes per day because it’s better to start slow. Starting slow teaches to you turn discipline into a habit rather than having meditation just be another sporadic attempt at something new.
It would be best to have a certain time of day when you do it, instead of a specific time; the morning is great! Try to wake up early so you have time to fit meditation in.
It can help to have a trigger to go along with it; this could be your cup of joe in the morning. Most people tend to do it upon first waking up, or just before bed, which is also great.
Find somewhere peaceful and preferably quiet. This is why first thing in the morning works great for most.
If you need some music to relax, something like this works great.
Now to begin – focus on your breathing.
Listen and feel your breath as it comes through your nose. Follow it, pretend your breath is an animated object, walk behind it, see where it’s going. Try to follow it through every stage of its entry into your lungs, first from the air coming in through your nose, down your body.
Try to get a sense for how it fills you with energy and vitality. Again on the exhale, follow it out of your body as you push it out towards the world.
You are trying grounding yourself so close to the present moment that over time this act becomes second nature. A state of consciousness you can tap into anytime.
Mindful Meditation can truly lead to physical rewiring of the brain. Tom Ireland wrote a really thought-provoking article on this topic on Scientific America.
Our brains never stop working.
To conclude, becoming proficient at meditation allows your conscious thought processes to rest for a brief moment in time allowing you to let go of your ego.
Give it a go. You’re not going to become some hippy. You’ll just live a more grounded, present life, as a more spiritually aware human.
There really are no downsides to meditation.
Let me know how it goes and share your thoughts on meditation down below. I’ve made a video on this topic which you may be interested in.