Practicing meditation could be one of the smartest decisions you ever make.
What Is Meditation?
It’s the practice and process of paying attention and focusing your awareness. In mindfulness meditation, we practice the art of paying attention to ourselves. We sit, quietly focussing on the in and out-breath and when the mind wanders we build the muscles of attention and mindfulness by practicing returning to the breath.
The reason we are focusing on our breath is to practice being in the present moment. It’s so easy to allow the mind to wander or get caught up on other thoughts so the idea behind mindfulness seems simple! The practice, like anything, takes patience but when you start, it won’t be long before you see and feel the benefits. Anchoring ourselves into the present moment enables us to catch up and check in with ourselves, which has a ridiculous amount of benefits.
The Benefits of Meditation
- Helps you understand yourself, your patterns and your pain
- Stops worrying and overthinking
- Reduces anxiety & Stress
- Improves coping skills and controls reactivity
- Improves connections and relationships
- Improves focus
- Improves Creativity
- Creates Openness
- Creates inner peace & strength
- Curates appreciation and gratefulness
- increases positive feelings and actions toward yourself and others.
- Provides an antidote to numbness and distraction.
Renowned yoga and meditation teacher Michelle Bartolo recounts how this practice connects us to all the bodies we carry mentally, emotionally & physically & beyond. The Meditation Institute states that when you meditate, a number of desirable things begin to happen, slowly, at first, and deepening over time.
1. Focus Your Awareness,
When you can focus your awareness, you gain more power. When you focus your mind, you concentrate better. When you concentrate better, you perform better. You can accomplish more, whether in the classroom, in the boardroom, or in the athletic arena. Whatever you do, you can do it more effectively when you meditate.
2. Release Your Senses
You start to enjoy your senses more fully. Although people sometimes view or use meditation as an ascetic experience to control their senses, meditation also can enhance your senses in ways that are profoundly sensual. Anything that you enjoy — food, sex, music, art, massage, and so on — is greatly enhanced by meditation. When you pay attention to something, it’s a lot more enjoyable. Also, you don’t need as much of it to get the same degree of pleasure, so you are more likely to enjoy without excess.
When you keep a wall around your heart to armor and protect it from pain, you also diminish your capacity to feel pleasure. When your life is in a continual rush, you may miss exquisite pleasures that exist from moment to moment. Attention spans get shorter. The need for stimulation continually increases just to feel anything. Meditation increases awareness and sensitivity; as such, it can be an antidote to numbness and distraction.
3. experience inner peace, joy, and wellbeing
When your mind quiets down, you experience an inner sense of peace, joy, and well-being. Dean Ornish, MD of the institute says, ‘When I first learned to meditate and began getting glimpses of inner peace, this experience changed my life. It redefined and reframed my experience. Before, I thought peace of mind came from getting and doing; now, I understand that it comes from being. It is our true nature to be peaceful until we disturb it. This is a radically different concept of where our happiness and our well-being come from. In one of life’s great paradoxes, not being aware of this truth, we often end up disturbing our inner peace while striving to get or to do what we think will bring that same peace to us.”
4. experience higher consciousness
Fourth, you may directly experience and become more aware of the transcendent interconnectedness that already exists. You may have a direct experience of God or the universal Self, whatever name you give to this experience. Meditation is simple in concept but difficult to master. Fortunately, you don’t have to master meditation to benefit from it. You just have to practice. No one ever really masters it completely, but even a few steps down that road can make a meaningful difference. It is the process of meditation that makes it so beneficial, not how well you perform.
Meditation is one of the places where the spiritual and scientific worlds agree. Twenty minutes of meditation is equivalent to 4-5 hours of deep sleep and we all know how important sleep is. It also reduces the inflammation response caused by stress and in turn decreases the levels of the stress hormone, cortisol which can disrupt sleep, promote depression and anxiety, increase blood pressure, and contribute to fatigue and cloudy thinking
The National Library of Medicine states that inflammatory chemicals called cytokines, which are released in response to stress can affect mood, leading to depression. A review of several studies suggests meditation may also reduce depression by decreasing levels of these inflammatory chemicals.
Watch: the scientific power of meditation
Too Many Distractions?
Many people I speak to see the benefits of meditation but still don’t do it, It’s like me and the gym. I know it’s good for me, yet I still won’t go. (Dealing with that).
But somehow, developing a stronger understanding of myself, and allowing a pathway to me leading my best life, is much more appealing.
I remember reading this quote “‘Silence isn’t empty – its full of answers.” when I started my meditation journey and it chimed like Big Ben on acid. I was constantly distracting myself!
With family, work, social life, TV, music, you name it. I would create roles for myself that were totally unnecessary. I’d make myself necessary, somewhere, somehow. To fill up the time. Sound familiar?
Ask Yourself These Questions
- Why do we feel we need to fill up our time?
- What have we filled up our time with and why? Make a list!
- Is there anything that shouldn’t be on my list? Or anything that makes me sign with dread!?
When I started to meditate, I regained a healthy and flexible control over what entered my life and what didn’t. I can’t tell you how much I crossed off my list![Shakes head. Rolls eyes.]
At first, it felt alien to me. There was a co-dependency that had formed and I had completely relied upon these attachments I had created. Then it felt empty; ‘What have I got, if I haven’t got….. ?” But that was exactly where I was supposed to be. Ready to be filled with only what would serve me and in turn, serve others.
It was a hard and sticky task. Stopping myself thinking a certain way, learning to focus on the right things, but I got there and I am so incredibly grateful I did the work. Now, and I am no expert, it is a pleasure to make the time for myself. A gift. I think of it like I’m hanging out with my soulmate and get pangs of wanting to sit quietly as if I am ignoring my favourite person in the room, if I haven’t checked in.
How to Meditate
Meditation is something everyone can do! Create an area at home that feels amazing. Use your favourite candle, add in some healing crystals and your favourite comfy blanket…Let’s do this!
- Find place to sit that feels calm and quiet and comfortable. You can sit in a chair with your feet on the floor, you can sit loosely cross-legged, you can kneel or even lay down. Just make sure you are stable and in a position you can stay in for a while.
- It can help to choose a short time, such as five or ten minutes and set a gentle sounding timer.
- Close your eyes and start to breath in and out. Follow the sensation of your breath and connect with it deeply.
- Notice when your mind wanders. Your attention will leave the breath and wander to other places, so when you notice that happening simply return your attention to your breath. Don’t judge yourself or worry about this! Practice makes you better!
- When you’re ready, gently open your eyes. Take a moment to notice how your body feels. Notice your thoughts and emotions.
.May the practice of meditation bring you the peace, health, and happiness you deserve.
Would you like to start a 21 Day Meditation Challenge On WhatsApp with us this month?
The commitment is simply 21 days of short daily meditations alongside a small task that you have 24 hours to complete. You can do this at home, in your own time.
You will require a ritual mindset, your phone with WhatsApp downloaded, a pair of headphones, and a notebook.
It’s a wonderfully fulfilling practice and a beautiful way to start or enhance your meditation journey.
We start on Monday, January 10th, 2022 so please send us your number before 7th January 2022.
Simply email us or DM us on Facebook or Insta and you will be added you to the group.