A lot of people ‘try’ meditation. There are so many good things you hear about it, that one time or another quite a few of us have sat down and tried to concentrate on our breathe, quietening our minds. Its difficult – is an understatement.
But even 10-15 minutes of meditation a day can make a huge difference. Research studies suggests meditation brings about a change in brain activity where your nerves calm down, stress levels fall and emotional centres’ cortical thickness increases. Read more about the benefits in this Forbes articles here.
All of these are documented proofs of the positive effect meditation can have. I personally am also a convert after experiencing its effects in a Sahaja Yoga Meditation class.
After many failures previously and almost having given up on meditation, I decided to give it one last try and found a meditation centre close to my home in Gurgaon, India. After the session, I felt myself completely relaxed and even the crazy traffic on the road did not bother me. I was relaxed, aware, in the moment and completely calm. Needless to say I went back for a few more sessions until I became confident of continuing it on my own.
Try these methods to see if you make progress:
- Use instructional cd, tape OR meditate as part of a group: Guided meditation will help you channel your energy and help you control your thoughts better than what you can do alone. Once you feel the positive energy and experience it wholly you will not be able to stay away from it.
Ideally, you should search for a meditation centre close to where you live or work and mark a day/ time in your calendar to start this practise. Sahaja Yoga also have international centres – http://www.sahajayoga.org. They also have audio and video to guide you through meditation, which I have personally not tried, but if you do please share your experience with us.
- Do not think: This is easier said than done. Your mind is processing an insane number of thoughts per second and you will realise its vast expense when you try to quieten it. You will notice frustration creeping up on you. ‘Why am I doing this’, ‘I could be eating/ checking mails/ getting ready in this time’, ‘I will get late for work today for sure’, etc etc.
The trick is to keep shushing (is that even a word?!, I mean shhh’ ing) your mind. It personally works great for me. It reminds me of school when the teacher kept shushing (it is a word now) us until there was pin drop silence. Yup, treat your mind like a noisy school kid and tell it to just keep quiet for a few minutes. Does it work for you?
- Stretch: Before you start meditation, stretch your muscles as this will break your body’s flow making it alert yet relaxed. I do a couple of Surya Namaskars (Sun Salutation Poses in Yoga) before sitting down to meditate.
- Focus on the blank space in your head: Some suggest focusing on your breathe but it has never worked for me. I find myself taking deeper breathes and then it just disintegrates to thoughts about how my breathing is so shallow, etc etc. Instead I bring my focus to the top of my head and concentrate on being thoughtless.
- Lie down, cross your legs, sit on a chair- it really does not matter what posture you take as long as you ensure that during these 10 minutes you will not be disturbed. Not by a phone call, message beeps, ringing doorbell, shouting kids and everything else. You have to find those 10 minutes of peace. It is best done early morning, which brings us to-
- Make it a ritual: See this as a long term investment and schedule it in your day. Only with regular practice you will be able to unlock your mind. Bit by bit you will get better at it. You will start by making your mind thoughtless only for a few seconds. You would have to work everyday to make it last longer and experience its full benefits. You will feel yourself becoming more understanding, compassionate and well, just happy.
I hope this has inspired some of you to give it another try. If you want to read about what happens when you meditate and the various energy channels and centres in your body, freemeditation . com also has some great articles to get you started- read more here.