Meditation is a mind and body practice that has a long history of use for increasing calmness and physical relaxation, improving psychological balance, coping with illness, and enhancing overall health and well-being.
Meditation is a beautiful way to promote deep relaxation and a quiet mind. One does not acquire this immediately; instead, a daily practice builds on the benefits and creates an impactful form of relaxation. Meditation is a way to train your mind and add the reduction of stress in your life.
Reports are indicating that more and more people are practicing meditation.
When I say meditate to people, they think of the traditional style of meditation of sitting in silence either with a mantra or watching your breath.
There is no one way to meditate; instead, it is time that you are quietly with yourself or with your higher power. People write, walk, and pray in meditation. Many people have a special place they meditate daily, yet you can meditate anywhere. When I commuted to New York City either via train or bus, I would use this time to close my eyes and take deeps breaths and use my mantra. Since many people sleep while commuting, by closing my eyes, no one knows what I am doing.
There are essential elements that all meditation have in common:
History goes back 1500 BCE and earlier, and the beginning is believed to start in India. Historically Taoist in China and Buddhists in India have incorporated meditation into their religions. Japan discovered Zen and brought this practice back to the country. As years moved forward, the practice of meditation was developed into many different religions.
Many meditation movements both in the East and West evolved and developed their way to meditate. In the 1970 Mindfulness Meditation was founded in the US, to help people who had physical ailments. Transcendental Meditation, also known as TM, was brought to the US by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. He taught thousands of people in his world tours and trained many people to trained others in TM. I took TM in the late 1960s, and to this day, still do this form of meditation.
There are many meditation groups all over the world – yoga studios, colleges, corporate wellness programs, meet-ups, retreats, and spiritual centers.
People have created numerous excuses for why they cannot meditate. If you want to add health and well-being in your life, it may be helpful to view your resistance to it. Studies have shown that there is moderate evidence that meditation reduces anxiety, depression, and pain. There is an indication that meditation provides structural changes in the brain. So given this information, think about your reasons for not doing meditation:
There are so many different types of meditation, and you can find one that fits into your lifestyle or interest. Meditation is coupled with your breath, and becoming aware of your breath is a strong foundation in your practice. Meditation provides you with a tool to master your emotions and reduce internal stress.
To maintain a meditation practice, you need to find one that is simple and resonates with you. You want to create and maintain a simple action that slows your mind down, helps quiet your energy, and provides for you a sacred space to be with yourself.
If you decide you start meditating, start where you are at the moment. What does this mean? We all have images of meditators sitting for hours, buddhas in the making, and we are just starting, so how could we ever get there. Just starting is the perfect place to be. For someone who has meditated previously, let go and resume your meditation as a beginner, with no judgment around your practice.
Practice and acceptance are ingredients of successful meditation.
Practice, we know, is the act of doing it. Acceptance is being fully present, the best you can be. If you can sit for 3-5 minutes every day, then allow yourself to be fully present with what you can do at the moment. If your mind is like a monkey, swinging from one thought to another, accept it and tell your mind “thinking” with no judgment. The heart of meditation is compassion. One can train oneself in compassion, one day at a time, allowing you to be exactly where you are in the moment.
Set the area for your meditation. For some people, they just sit quietly and meditate. Others light candles and have a unique altar where they put images, items from the earth, or statues of spiritual leaders. Ideally, you meditate around the same time, and you create a quiet space to give your energy to meditation.
After you finish your meditation, you either raised your eyes or open them and take a little time to notice your surroundings, how your body feels, and how you feel overall. Allow yourself to gather information about your experience as you become aware of the value of your meditation practice.
Some research is showing how meditation is physically changing the brain and could potentially help to improve many health problems and promote healthy behaviors.
Meditation generally is safe for healthy people. People with physical limitations probably won’t practice movement meditation, though they can participate in other types of meditation.
NOTE: Before starting any meditation practice, why not have a conversation with your health care provider. Meditation is not a replacement for your health care provider, rather a tool to support your physical and emotional well-being.
If you have a meditation instructor, let them know of any physical limitations.
Meditation helps you become more aware of your thoughts, feelings, how you feel physically, people in your life, and overall how you are reacting to what is occurring in your daily life. It helps you learn to respond to situations in your life, reducing reactions, which only add more stress for you.
In its simplicity, it is powerful. A daily practice over time changes many parts of your life. You find yourself creating more well-being in your life, feeling more confident, listening to your intuition around what is best for you, and finding a spiritual space within you.
Can you today take 5 minutes to sit quietly with yourself. When thoughts bombard you, say, without judgment, “I’m thinking.” Then quietly go back to your quiet time.
If sitting doesn’t interest you, can you take a 10-minute meditation walk where you mindful of nature around you, how your body is moving, your spirit, and honor just where you are in the moment?
Meditation is a topic for all women to include with the other group members. Find out who is meditating, what kind, who is not, and why not, and discuss how meditation can add to one’s well-being.
“To fully enjoy the ‘richness’ of our lives, we need to stop long enough to visit with ourselves.”
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