The popularity of meditation is increasing as more people discover its benefits. As a key practice that fosters Mindfulness, Meditation is a habitual process of training your mind to focus and redirect your thoughts. It is an approach to training the mind, similar to the way that fitness is an approach to training the body. The practice enables us to become friends with stillness and silence. The easiest way to begin meditating is by sitting still and focusing on the breath.
Here Are Some Science-Based Benefits of Meditation:
- Reduces Stress
- Lessens Anxiety
- Promotes Emotional and Physical Health
- Enhances Self-Awareness
- Generates Kindness
- Improves Sleep
- Facilitates Healthier Responses to Life’s Challenges
Although scientific studies reveal the many benefits of meditation, the true purpose of the practice is to be in the NOW. To put it as an Eastern philosopher may say, the goal of meditation is no goal. It’s simply to be present.
Meditation is something everyone can do to improve their mental, physical, emotional and spiritual health. You can do it anywhere, without special equipment or memberships. Meditation is a great way to improve your quality of life even if you only have a few minutes to do it each day. To achieve its benefits consistency is key!
P.S. Your mind WILL wander. You will have many thoughts. This is normal. Shutting down the mind is virtually impossible. And, this is OK! Don't fight yourself to clear your mind, just casually observe whatever thoughts come your way. When you catch your mind wandering, just GENTLY bring yourself back to your breath without any judgments. Don't give up. Know that the only bad meditation is the one left undone!
1. Sit comfortably with back straight. It is perfectly fine to sit in a chair where one's back is comfortably supported.
2. Choose a word / phrase or mantra or simply focus on your breathing. And set a timer for 20 minutes.
3. Sitting comfortably with eyes closed, settle and silently introduce a word, mantra or simply notice your breath.
4. When you notice yourself wandering in thought or when distracted by feelings, bodily sensations, images or reflections, ever so gently return to your word / phrase, mantra or breath WITHOUT ANY JUDGMENTS.
5. At the end of your meditation, remain in silence for a few moments before opening your eyes and returning to your day's activity.
That’s it. Meditation is that simple!
It is ideal to strive for a 20 minute sitting each day, preferably, first thing in the morning but it can be done anytime throughout the day (but not too close to bedtime).
The ideal may be a bit too much for newbies to meditation. It is suggested that one start off slowly; perhaps 5 to 10 minutes once a day and work up to 20 minutes over time.
Eventually, you want to commit to 20 minutes once a day ~ every day ~ in order to reap the full benefits of the practice.
*** The more advanced folks, strive for two 20 minute sessions a day. One in the morning and one in the later afternoon or early evening hours of the day.
“Why do we meditate? We meditate because this world of ours has not been able to fulfill us. The so-called peace that we feel in our day-to-day life is five minutes of peace after ten hours of anxiety, worry and frustration. We are constantly at the mercy of the negative forces that are all around us: jealousy, fear, doubt, worry, anxiety and despair. These forces are like monkeys. When they get tired of biting us and take rest for a few minutes, then we say that we are enjoying peace. But this is not real peace at all, and the next moment they will attack us again.”
“It is only through meditation that we can get lasting peace, divine peace. If we meditate soulfully in the morning and receive peace for only one minute, that one minute of peace will permeate our whole day. And when we have a meditation of the highest order, then we can get really abiding peace, light and delight. We need meditation because we want to grow in light and fulfill ourselves in light. If this is our aspiration, if this is our thirst, then meditation is the only way.”
”If we feel that we are satisfied with what we have and what we are, then there is no need for us to enter into the field of meditation. The reason we enter into meditation is because we have an inner hunger. We feel that within us there is something luminous, something vast, something divine. We feel that we need this thing very badly; only right now we do not have access to it. Our inner hunger comes from our spiritual need.”
~ Sri Chinmoy, Indian Spiritual Leader
"Why meditate? Sometimes I wonder why we need to ask this question. Nobody who admires a talented artist, or pianist and would like to become one would say, “Why should I train? Why don’t I just go on stage and play Mozart?” However, when it comes to the basic human qualities that we might admire and hope to acquire—altruism, inner strength, inner freedom to deal with whatever comes our way, emotional balance, not being swayed by hatred and craving and jealousy— we think that they come up just because we want them to, without any training. Or we think that they are fixed, permanent, and that we can’t change them. It is absurd to think that we do not need training to nourish these kinds of positive qualities.
We have the potential to be more kind, to practice mindfulness, and to experience well-being, but we only use a small fraction of the potential we have. So that’s what meditation is about: to cultivate the qualities that we have the potential for but that remain dormant, latent, unused, and to develop them to the best of our own potential."
~ Matthieu Ricard
“Quiet the mind and the soul will speak.”
”Prayer is speaking to the Universe; Meditation is listening to her.”
”Meditation slows down your thoughts so you can rest in the space between them.”
”Meditation...because some questions cannot be answered by Google.”
”Breathe in the good shit! Breathe out the bullshit.”
”If you want to conquer the anxiety of life, live in the moment, live in the breath.”
”You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes a day, unless you are busy. Then you should sit for an hour.”
”Only in my deep meditation do I come to know who I truly am.”
”To earn the trust of your meditation, you have to visit it everyday. It’s like having a puppy.”
”The practice of meditation is one of the most effective means for developing clear and accurate thinking.”
”Meditation is power! Enter chaos from a place of inner stillness and your stillness becomes a chaos destroyer!”
"Silence is a source of great strength.”
" To sit and watch as life passes by is an art lost in time. Only available to the very young and the very old, this gift is what makes the
elderly and very young children wise. "
"In the West, it is said, "don't just sit there, do something." In the East, it is said, "don't just do something, sit there."
" Meditation is the art of listening to your soul. To breathe in good intentions and exhale the worries of the day. To sit in silence, is to
attain peace. "
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