I remember the first time I ever tried meditation. I had gone to the only place I know to find everything, Google, and found a quick technique to meditate. The post said I look for a calm place, preferably silent and serene; so I sat in my campus bedsitter, I was usually by myself there. Then I was to close my eyes and try silence my thoughts then slowly in equal intervals count from 1 to whatever number I could get to without loosing my concentration, all this and still was supposed to take deep breaths. It seemed so complicated as I read the instructions but I was very idle that day so I decided to try it out.
Meditation is a practice where an individual uses a technique – such as mindfulness, or focusing the mind on a particular object, thought or activity – to train attention and awareness thus achieving a mentally clear and emotionally calm and stable state. Meditation is a practice that you progressively grow into as you continue to set out time for it. It may seem complicated in the beginning but with time you are able to create your own style and enjoy its benefits. Before I go further, I think it is a good time to also define mindfulness; it’s paying attention in a certain way to a particular thing, here in relation to meditation, the thing would be your thoughts and emotions. Meditation to many may seem impossible because we think we need our minds to be blank to make it work. There is absolutely no way to stop your mind from thinking. Trying to do that will either get you thinking even more or having a massive headache. We can however focus our minds on certain things helping us clear our minds, focus our attention and eliminate jumbled up thoughts that may be crowding up our minds.
There are a variety of types of meditation depending on what you may want to work on, and you do not have to stick to one. All these self care habits are fluid and dynamic. There is a whole lot of benefits to meditation that span across all boards and I’m here to tell you why it is so important to add this ancient practice to your regular routine. First and according to me one of the most important is that it brings with it the feeling of calm and peace. The world is a busy place and if you are not mindful of your days you may find yourself feeling like a rogue rollercoaster. Taking a few minutes a day to ground yourself and letting the world move in slow motion helps you focus more on the things that really matter to you and helps you deal with the feeling of being overwhelmed. Meditation has been proven to be a simple and fast way to reduce stress and to be honest a lot of us experience internal and external stress everyday. Meditation can help us clear the cloud and find working solutions to the things that are bringing us stress by gaining new perspective on these situations. During meditation we could also build skills to manage stress because once you know the root cause of a problem it is easier to deal with it.
There’s a beautiful balance that exists once you accept your past traumas and are hopeful about the future without the need to control the outcome. You get to keep your focus in the moment thus making you a lot more productive. It also helps you better understand yourself thus increasing self awareness. There is no limit to your self awareness and the more you uncover, the more there is to discover and learn about yourself. I have come to really enjoy doing this through meditation because of the calm and harmony that I find as I carry out this practice, I must say it is really beautiful. Self awareness is an esteem booster in so many ways especially because it helps you see all your good qualities and strengths, this without blinding you from the few weaknesses that you may have. Knowing both sides of the coin is extreme power. Originally, meditation was used to help deepen understanding of the sacred and mystical forces of life, this I believe is the reason why it helps us tap into our deeper selves so well. There is a level of consciousness that we achieve when we let our minds freely leap out of our ordinary routines.
Meditation really improves your imagination and creativity. I think with a calm mind, we are able to silence all the noise and get to see life from an entirely different perspective. It makes us more open minded to the possibility of there being more to life than we see everyday. We get to experience life in our minds and for whatever talent you may possess, you get to venture deeper into levels that you may never have known existed. Even for those of us who really don’t know our talents or passions; those who wonder where their lives are going or seeking motivation or inspiration, this sacred practice has been seen to produce very positive results in these areas. Tapping into your inner being also helps you attain higher levels of tolerance with others, compassion towards those around us and the general attitude of loving and kindness. We get to realize that we are all different and it is the differences that make the world beautiful.
So on that day, as I sat there, my eyes closed counting my numbers, 1.. 2.. 3.. 4… I didn’t notice it but at some point, I barely got to ten, I lost count and my mind started to roam. I wish I could remember what was on my mind. But it felt calm and peaceful in there. Then I caught myself thinking so I went back to the counting. Again, I stopped to count and thought through some issues that were in my mind. The problems seemed clearer because I was dealing with them one at a time. Every time I caught myself thinking, I stopped and started counting all over again. I just kept repeating this for a while till I felt more calm, maybe 15 minutes later, then I stopped. I do remember feeling great afterward and I knew I had to do this again. Nowadays, I use calming music or sometimes I sit in the serene outdoors and get this wonderful me time. Sometimes I just lay in bed and do a 5 minute meditation before I sleep, other times it’s just a few deep breaths as I recite my mantras in my mind.
There is a whole range of benefits that arise from meditation and I have enjoyed them for a while now and I really recommend it to anyone and everyone. It doesn’t matter where you are in your journey, it doesn’t matter if the advantages I have stated above relate to you or not. I’m pretty sure there is something to discover in your mind. Join me next time as I take you through how to start and maintain a helpful meditation practice. Until then, spread peace, love and unity to those around you. And don’t worry, we are all in this together and some days will be better than others but always remember not to give up on either day!