Many people have the wrong notion about what meditation is really about. Sitting quietly in a corner or in a darkened room doesn’t always equate to meditation. I do this a lot. I mean the ‘lying-in-a-darkened-room-all-alone’ thing. With the doors locked of course.
What normally happens is this: I shut the door. Draw the blinds close. Lie on the bed on my back with my hands by my side (where my hands are doesn’t really matter though). And just ‘meditate’. Be assured that the neurons in my brain are in overdrive. Furiously trying to keep up with the direction of my thoughts. The things I am mulling on? Well, perhaps how to increase my bank balance or reduce my monthly expenses (which sometimes is the same thing); or how to handle the dire situation I find my love life in. Sometimes, beads of sweat pop out on my forehead and I’d casually use a finger to flick them off. That is not meditation. That is just thinking about my problems which is the exact opposite of meditation.
Basically meditation is meant to relax you. The whole subject of meditation is so huge I could spend a month writing or talking about it. One reason Yoga is so awesome is that it combines some of the benefits of low impact exercises with the spiritual benefits of meditation. It is worth repeating that, locking yourself in a room; thinking about your problems is pretty far from meditation. The best you can get from that is early onset of wrinkles as the frown on your face empathizes with the severity of your problems, and high blood pressure.
I am going to condense the whole subject of meditation into a two-part series. Today, we would look at the subject in general, while tomorrow we take a condensed look at the benefits of it.
What is Meditation
There is a whole body of material out there that seeks to define what meditation is. Frankly, it is easier to point out what isn’t meditation. Instead of getting bogged down in definitions, it is far better to just meditate. But in a nutshell, it is a whole series of discipline where an individual trains the mind to consciously behave in a certain way for the benefit of the spiritual, mental and physiological benefit of the person. And if you want to reduce the size of that nutshell further, you can condense the definition of meditation as the training or exercise of the mind.
Like I said, in a nutshell. So that is just a simplistic definition. However the whole process involves a set of methodical disciplines that require dedication for results to be achieved.
The reasons to take up meditation is almost exactly linked to the benefits. While tomorrow’s piece would look at the benefits in details, we would look at some of the reasons for meditating in general.
You want to start meditating because you need a handle on how to control the turmoil of everyday living. Seriously, life is such a rat race we most times forget that calming down and taking things easy won’t be the end for us. Just the act of calming down, taking a deep breath, and exhaling slowly helps you gain a new perspective on yourself; your problems; and life in general. And with the new awareness, you become a better person. A better you would of course be of great benefit to your friends and family. Again, in our now famous nutshell, the ‘why’ is basically to make you a better person and improve the quality of your life.
How to Meditate
This is the point where you might start waving a white flag in surrender. But anything good never comes easy. So if you’ve made up mind mind to do it, don’t surrender.
Like everything else, to get the most from meditation, you have to practice everyday. And when you finally know how to do it properly, you need to have a daily schedule.
Some of the basic ground rules include;
1.Don’t eat before you start; eating will make your body lazy
2.The Lotus position is not necessary. You can meditate while sitting down on a comfortable chair.
3.Make sure you back is erect and straight, following the curve of your spine.
4.Don’t do it while lying down or you may fall asleep.
5.The best time of the day to meditate is in the mornings. Always make sure you adhere to a fixed time everyday. As you get better, your body becomes attuned to the new schedule.
You can check here to get a more comprehensive info on how to go about starting it.
So, what are your thoughts on the whole idea of meditation? I know people who scoff at it saying it is linked to the strange religious practices of far East Asia. Do you feel that way too? Or you think, like I do, that it is just plain old misconception?