Meditation is something I stumbled upon about six years ago. I was back home from traveling and I was overwhelmed with what the next step in my life would be.
I started taking Yoga and it became the place where I would meditate, not really because I wanted to, but because I had to. As soon as my thoughts would wander to what I should do with my life, I would fall out of the pose.
Through four hours of yoga a week I learned the incredible power of the mind and body. Slowly but surely I began to incorporate meditation in my day outside of yoga class. Knowing how instrumental meditation has been in my own life I want to offer at least an introduction to it today, but before we dive into the benefits of meditation and various ways to do it, let me give you a simple definition of what it is.
Meditation is a way of training the mind into a state of consciousness or awareness.
If you’ve parked your car in the garage and suddenly realized you don’t remember driving home, you’ve experienced being unconscious. Sadly, this is the same state of mind many people live the majority of their days. Meditation is a way to make ourselves aware. No only does this awareness help us identify with who we really are, it helps us find our connection to Source, which is our connection to everything else.
Benefits of Meditation
The list is literally a mile long! Physiological benefits include lowered blood pressure, improved immune response as well as a relaxed nervous system. Psychological benefits include confidence, improved relationships and increased productivity. Spiritual benefits such as peace of mind, enjoying the present moment and wisdom are just the tip of the iceberg. I recommend that you read the 100 benefits outlined in this article.
Types of Meditation
There is no end to the different ways you can mediate. Last summer I found myself having a difficult time meditating. I was living in downtown San Diego and there was never a moment of silence. Three in the morning or three in the afternoon were the same, fire trucks, sirens, cars honking, music playing – I was surrounded by noise. I found my “regular” routine wasn’t cutting it.
Thankfully the advice from a friend helped me get back on track. She reminded me there is no wrong way to meditate. In fact she encouraged me to make my day a meditation. I really wasn’t sure how I was going to make the leap from zero meditation to an entire day of it! Especially because I was exceptionally sick of being in San Diego. All I could do was count the days until we were out of there. She went on to explain that if I took each part of my day and did it fully aware and with love, my day would become a meditation and it would be just what I needed to transition to the next chapter in my life. I decided to give it a shot, so whether I was making breakfast or doing work for clients I was fully aware and conscious of all the details of that particular activity. Day by day, my mind became more focused and peaceful.
Another type of meditation I have found helpful is to sit in bed for five or ten minutes after I wake up. I take deep breaths and I notice my body I as breathe. When I feel like I’ve got my body, mind and spirit all together, I get up and start my day.
One more that I recently was introduced to is what I call the floating meditation. I lay down with my eyes closed and I see my body floating up off the bed. Then floating up to the ceiling and then up to the top of our building. I imagine the view and float higher until I’m on a cloud. I can feel the breeze blow over me and the sun kiss my cheeks. I float over the ocean and smell the salt water and watch the fish swim. And then I slowly float back to my building, back to my room and back into my body.
There is no right or wrong way to meditate and I’m hoping these “guidelines” will encourage you to find what works for you.
Time: There is no set amount of time you need to meditate. I found taking one minute to take five deep breaths resets my mindset and often times my day. Sometimes I’ve set the clock on the oven so I can meditate for twenty minutes. Right now I’m not on a strict time schedule so I’m done when I’m done.
Position: It’s not necessary to be sitting in the lotus position with your eyes closed to meditate. You can sit, you can lay down, you can be on a walk, you can be just about anywhere.
Music: You may find music (preferably without words) is helpful to your experience.
Guided Mediation: There are many different types of guided meditations you can purchase that can be helpful, especially when first starting out.
Here is a great video that perfectly illustrates just how simple it can be to include meditation in our lives.
One last tip…
If you are finding it difficult to find the time or silence your thoughts, get out in nature. Become an observer of all that is outside. Take in the smells, the sounds, the colors. Touch the trees, walk barefoot, sit on the ground. Being outside has an incredible way of helping us find our center.
The only wrong way to meditate is to not do it at all. OM
Hungry for More, Monique Alvarez p.s. If there are typos, spelling or grammar mistakes in this post don’t worry about. Those are the kinds of things I’ve worried about for FAR too long. It’s time to just get it out and who cares if it’s not perfect, it’s from the heart!