What is Meditation and How to Do It?

Image by Matteo Di Iorio

 

Human life is riddled with tons of thoughts that range from a spectrum of positive, neutral, and negative. More often than not, it is our thoughts and emotions that give colour and vibrancy to our lives. However, we should be mindful about our thoughts too, and mindfulness meditation is the best tool for the job!

What is Meditation?

People view meditation in different ways. At its core, meditation is training in an awareness that leads to a healthier sense of perspective. It’s not about trying to tune your feelings or thoughts off. It’s about learning how to observe all of them with no judgment, which could eventually, start to have a better understanding of them.

The Benefits of Meditation

With the popularity of meditation on the rise, lots of people are beginning to look more into its benefits. We’ll introduce you to a couple of them here, so you’d be able to familiarise yourself with them.

Increases Self-Awareness – Since meditation is focused on learning how to not judge your thoughts or feelings, it helps those who practice it become more self-aware.
Stress Reduction – Stress is a constant in our lives, especially in the modern time we live in now. A lot of folks are learning mindfulness meditation to reduce stress and lead a more comfortable life.
Helps Mitigate Anxiety – Less stress means less anxiety, which makes living in such a hectic life be more manageable.
Improves Sleep – Mindfulness-based meditations work like counting sheep, capable of minimising the noise of anxious thoughts that keep people up at night.
Prolongs Attention Span – Focused-attention meditation aids in increasing the endurance and strength of your attention span.

How to Meditate

Meditation is a simple, yet difficult, task to successfully perform. There are steps that you can take to make sure that you can have a proper meditation.

1) Find a place where you can sit on which you feel that it’s quiet and calm.
2) Time limits are important here and beginners should start with a 10-minute time limit.
3) Sit either cross-legged or on a chair and feel every sensation in your body.
4) Follow and time yourself to track your breath as you inhale and exhale.
5) When you notice that your mind has wandered, refocus your attention to your breathing.
6) Don’t be too hard on yourself if you catch your mind wandering off.
7) Once you feel like you’re done or once the alarm goes off, simply open your eyes.

Using Meditation to Tame the Mind

Our minds are capable of figuring out complex puzzles, giving us brilliant ideas, and thinking for everyone’s welfare. However, it is also capable of terrifying, negative, and debilitating thoughts that if left unchecked, could become the biggest source of our bane. To tame the mind is to gain mastery over it and here are 3 steps that’ll help you subdue it while meditating:

Step 1: Pay very careful, yet non-judgmental attention to the contents of consciousness that are in the present moment—listen to the sounds, feel the many sensations, uncover emotions and thoughts—but never spend too much time getting lost in thought.

Step 2: Confront that voice in your head that is mostly negative. However, do not argue or battle with it. Approach it with understanding and kindness. Observe it. Feel it. Listen to it. Give it attention. And then let it go. Accept the fact that our minds are constantly thinking every single second and that the best way to keep it from running all over the place is being mindful about it.

Step 3: Acknowledge that most of the time, the negative voice in your head is simply just noise. It is not “who you are” or “what you are thinking”. Like Sam Harris, a best-selling author, said during an interview with Dan Harris, author of 10 Percent Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works, “The self that we all think we have riding around inside our heads is an illusion—and one that can disappear when examined closely.”

Meditation can be used to acquire both physical and mental benefits. Anyone can perform mindfulness meditation at any time of the day. It is a relaxing, mindful, and beneficial practice that everyone should definitely try.