“If every 8 year old in the world is taught meditation, we will eliminate violence from the world within one generation.”
Do you ever get that feeling that life is just overwhelming? Your mind is constantly filled with the chatter of thoughts, pressures, stress and obligations. You seem to always be either beating yourself up over what happened yesterday, or worrying about what is going to happen tomorrow. This can lead to feeling disconnected, empty and being out of sync with your life’s purpose and direction. You are unable to appreciate the now and the beauty and splendour of the magical moments that are happening all around you.
The good news is that you can find that elusive place of peace, joy and stillness. However in order to do that you must be willing to break-free from the mind and surrender to the soul. A willingness to go to a place where there is no judgement, only truth, love and purity.
Meditation is the road to that place. While prayer gives us the opportunity to speak to God, meditation is the act of listening to God. Meditation has been practiced for centuries and is an important component of numerous religious traditions and beliefs including Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism. In its simplest form meditation is a discipline that involves turning the mind and attention inward, focusing on a single thought, image, object or feeling. It involves a conscious effort to self-regulate and quiet the mind in order to find meaning, purpose, connectivity and direction.
Meditation can help you manage stress, improve your ability to focus, deal with grief, fight off disease and find solutions to everyday problems. Even more important meditation will allow you to connect to the infinite power of the universe (God). Let’s take a look at some of these benefits in more detail:
Meditation releases physical stress, reduces anxiety, muscle tension, slows blood flow, increases energy and reduces blood pressure.
Meditation enables the brain to work with clarity and focus. By using meditation one can bring calm resulting in the reduction of negative thinking, all-or-nothing thinking and catastrophic thinking.
Meditation can help remove emotions such as anger, resentment, and selfishness, allowing for experiences of forgiveness, acceptance, and tolerance. It can be said that through meditation you will begin to experience thinking from the heart versus thinking from the mind.
Meditation if often called the silent prayer. Through meditation you can hear the voice of God. You can connect to that part of you that is God’s image and likeness. As Psalms 139:13 states “for you created my in most being”. That part of you that is governed without judgement or fear. That part of you that holds your internal truth. By stilling the mind, meditation has the ability to remove the ego (the mind) allowing this connection to occur.
Developing meditation techniques
The word meditation sometimes scares people as they think it is a very complex process reserved for people from the East. As I mentioned earlier meditation is a practice that has been done by people of all religions and backgrounds for centuries. The idea of meditation is to reclaim the silence within. In such silence, you can meet your real self, the real you.
Meditation should be a daily practice done the first thing in the morning before the chaos of your life kicks in. Try the following meditations and enjoy the experience of finding your inner peace.
Sit in an upright position with your hands comfortably on your lap. Close your eyes and feel your tongue, mouth, jaw and eyes relax. Next focus on relaxing your face and body. Allow yourself to breath natural for a time and then begin to slow your breath. Feel the breath enter through your nose filling your lungs and expanding the chest. Then slowly release your breath. Continue focusing on your breath for as long as you wish to meditate. It is impossible to think and focus on breathing at the same time.
When you have settled down comfortably, eyes closed, focus on your breath allowing it to slow. Become aware of your thoughts and distractions as they chase each other in your mind. With each breath slowly dissolve each thought. Allow all your concerns and worries, stresses and issues, fall away with every breath. With every breath imagine that you are exhaling all disturbing thoughts and feelings, surrendering them to a greater Source. With every inhalation imagine you are breathing in blessings and peace. Imagine your body filling with light and love and experience the calm and stillness of the universe.
When you have found stillness and centred your breath, allow yourself to bring into being the intention of your meditation. If you are experiencing a negative emotion with your ‘life situation’ reflect on the emotion and find the appropriate antidote for you to contemplate. If you are feeling angry the antidote and energy you wish to focus on would be forgiveness. If you are feeling conflict or resistance to something try contemplating acceptance. If you are feeling stressed and worried you may wish to meditate on the sensation of surrender and trust. By meditating on positive emotions and thoughts you will begin to vibrate a more positive state of being transcending your problems and allowing your mind to align itself with solutions.
You will notice benefits from meditation after spending as little as five minutes twice a day on your practice. However the more you do it and the longer you do it for, the greater the benefit and more profound the impact.After around a week of regular practice you will notice how active your mind is and begin to get a handle on those distracting thoughts. Within three weeks meditation will become easier and you will find more mental clarity and start to feel the physical benefits as well. Once you make it part of your everyday life, your problem solving skills will improve, you will experience a greater sense of awareness and be more connected to the present moment.