Meditators swear by the practice’s ability to bring enduring positive change into their lives.
There are numerous studies that show the scientific benefits of meditating to our brains, our bodies and our lives. Regular meditation is able to touch on and assist our creativity, our trauma, everyday relationships and so much more.
As meditation becomes more of a mainstream topic, we are witnessing it's benefits everywhere.
If you haven't yet stepped onto the meditation bandwagon, we encourage you to do so! Be inspired by World Meditation Day and run through these simple steps to start practising.
Meditation is you. It's simply sitting with yourself without distraction, in stillness and a moment to just 'be'. Without needing anything else from the outside world.
The key to learning how to meditate and developing a successful meditation practice is finding the right fit for you. There are so many different types of meditation to choose from – guided, unguided, insight (Vipassana), focused attention, loving kindess (metta), and more. In order to figure out what form of meditation works best for you, try a few different types and note which feels the most comfortable and doable. As a quick introduction to meditation, you can follow these six simple steps to begin one type of meditation technique called mantra meditation.
We promise you, it's easy, simple, with effects that will continue to change your life the more you do it!
1. Choose your mantra.
A mantra is a word or phrase that you silently repeat to yourself during meditation. The purpose of the mantra is to give you something to put your attention on other than your thoughts. You may use any phrase you like. Some people like to use words like "Peace" or "Love".
2. Find a comfortable place to be.
Create a sacred space in your home where you can regularly meditate undisturbed. The goal is to sit as upright as possible while still remaining comfortable. We all have different anatomies and you want your meditation experience to be enjoyable, so make your comfort a priority. Meditation can be practiced anywhere, as long as you’re comfortable.
3. Take some deep breaths.
Try taking a few cleansing breaths by inhaling slowly through your nose and exhaling out of your mouth. Be aware of your breath. The speed, the motion, how your body relates to the breath, where you are tense and where you are relaxed. This is your moment to tune down, reconnect and come into your body. Feel it all.
4. Begin repeating your mantra.
The repetition of your mantra is soft, gentle, and relaxed. There is no need to force it. The mantra does not need to correlate with the breath, though some people prefer to do so. As your meditation continues, allow the breath to fall away into its own rhythm. The repetition of your mantra should be almost effortless, flowing as naturally as waves on a shoreline.
5. Do not try and stop your thoughts or empty your mind.
As you continue with this meditative process, you will inevitably find that you drift away from the mantra. It is human nature and normal for the mind to wander. Do not try and stop your thoughts or "empty your mind." Whenever you become aware that your attention has drifted away from your mantra to thoughts simply return to silently repeating the mantra.
6. Close your meditation.
After approximately 20 to 30 minutes, you may stop repeating your mantra and continue sitting with your eyes closed. Be sure to spend a few minutes relaxing with your eyes closed before resuming activity. These are pressure moments where you can enjoy your post meditation feeling, awareness and prepare for what life has in store next.
"Please, when you practice meditation, don’t make any effort. Allow yourself to be like a pebble at rest. The pebble is resting at the bottom of a river, and the pebble does not have to do anything. While you are a walking, you are resting. While you were sitting, you are resting."
- Thich Nhat Hanh, Zen Master, global spiritual leader, poet and peace activist
Image ID: a black and white photograph of three stones resting in a line with a white line drawn through, and connecting them all.