You do not have to be a monk or mystic to use a simple meditation technique to enjoy its benefits. You don’t even have to be in a special place to practice it. You could even try it in your own living room, basically anywhere.
Although there are many different approaches to meditation, the fundamental principles remain the same. The most important among these principles is removing obstructive, negative, and wandering thoughts and fantasies and calming or quiet the mind with a deep sense of focus. This clears the mind of debris and prepares it for a higher quality of the activity.
The negative thoughts you have, and we all do– those of noisy neighbors, bossy office mates, that parking ticket you got, and unwanted spam– are said to contribute to the ‘polluting’ of the mind, and shutting them out is allows for the ‘cleansing’ of the mind so that it may focus on deeper, more meaningful thoughts.
Some practitioners even shut out all sensory input – no sights, no sounds, and nothing to touch – and try to detach themselves from the commotion around them.
You may now focus on a deep, profound thought if this is your goal. It may seem deafening at first since we are all too accustomed to constantly hearing and seeing things, but as you continue this exercise, you will find yourself becoming more aware of everything around you.
If you find the meditating positions you see on television threatening – those with impossibly arched backs and painful-looking contortions – you need not worry. The principle here is to be in a comfortable position conducive to concentration. This may be while sitting cross-legged, standing, lying down, and even walking.
If the position allows you to relax and focus, then that would be a good starting point. While sitting or standing, the back should be straight but not tense or tight. In other positions, the only no-no is slouching and falling asleep.
Loose, comfortable clothes help a lot in the process since tight-fitting clothes tend to choke you up and make you feel tense.
The place you perform meditation should have a soothing atmosphere. It may be in your living room, or bedroom, or any place you feel comfortable. You might want an exercise mat if you plan to take on the more challenging positions (if you feel more focused doing so, and if the contortionist in you is screaming for release).
You may want to have the place arranged so that it is soothing to your senses.
Silence helps most people relax and meditate so that you may want a quiet, isolated area far from the phone’s ringing or the humming of the washing machine. Pleasing scents also help in that regard, so stocking up on aromatic candles isn’t such a bad idea either.
The monks you see on television making those monotonous sounds are actually performing their mantra. This, in simple terms, is a short creed, a simple sound which, for these practitioners, holds a mystic value.
You do not need to perform such; however, it would pay to note that focusing on repeated actions such as breathing and humming helps the practitioner enter a higher consciousness state.
The principle here is a focus. You could also try focusing on a certain object like a burning candle while keeping your eyes open again, just focus.
One sample routine would be to – while in a meditative state – silently name every part of your body and focusing your consciousness on that part. While doing this, you should be aware of any tension on any part of your body. Mentally visualize releasing this tension. It works wonders.
In all, a meditation technique is a relatively risk-free practice, and its benefits are well worth the effort (or non-effort – remember we’re relaxing).
Studies have shown that meditation does bring about beneficial physiologic effects to the body. And there has been a growing consensus in the medical community to study the effects of such further. Meditation is simple. It does not have to be difficult or complicated…remember focus for at least 15 minutes inwardly…listen to your own breathing, that my friend is the beginning of meditation as you quiet the chatter of your mind.
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To your success
Coach Lionel Sanabria