The advantages of meditation are plentiful. According to one recent article, there are 76 different benefits to meditation. Now that’s a lot of advantages! The thing is, it could have a million advantages and that wouldn’t make any difference if you didn’t actually know how to meditate.
And the truth is, very few of us do know how to meditate. I don’t know if it’s because our modern lifestyle, or that as people we are just naturally disposed towards it, but a lot of people who are beginners and try meditating give up because they don’t have the right mindset. That’s a shame – especially considering how useful it is.
For that reason, here I’ll detail five different ways that you can get into the right mindset for meditation, so that you can succeed and make the benefits of meditation part of your life, or even simply feel more present and meditative while moving throughout your day.
1. 1-Minute Meditation
Many of us come from an achievement-oriented culture. From when we’re young, people ask us what we want to be when we grow up (thereby insinuating who we are as children isn’t enough). People often talk about what they will do when they're rich or famous. We’re always trying to get fit, or healthy, or motivated. That’s fine and having aspirations is good, but you don’t want to take any baggage of discontentment with where you currently are, with you into your mediation.
Mediation isn’t about where you’re going, but where you are and if you spend your time trying to reach nirvana, or perfect peace of mind, or anything else, then you’re missing the benefits of the present and – in effect – self sabotaging your meditation, because of your trying to achieve something.
For that reason, I suggest the one minute meditation for beginners who are just getting started. For just a minute a day, sit and focus on your breathing, or your mantra, or clearing your mind. There are many different techniques, so experiment to find one you like, and practice doing it for just one minute each day. Do this every day, for one month, as we all have one minute to spare! You can make this minute longer, if you want to, but make sure you do that minute. By aiming for that, you can leave any obsession with achievement behind.
2. More Mindful Moments in Everyday Life
Meditation leads to mindfulness and mindfulness which leads to meditation. What is mindfulness? Well, it’s a lot of things but to summarize it shortly, it’s awareness of where you are and what you’re feeling, right now in the present moment.
So do that. Become more aware of where you are and what you’re doing. That means really stopping and focusing on your surroundings, or what you’re feeling, what your eyes are seeing, or what you’re doing. You do not have to sit in a specific position and close your eyes for this practice.
So if you’re eating an apple, what does that apple taste like? How does the wind feel breathing through your hair? What are the smells around you?
A great exercise is to set your alarm for a few times throughout the day and whenever it goes off, use it as a reminder to stop and become aware for a moment. If somebody else is talking, then let everything go, and focus entirely on what they’re saying. If you’re working on your computer, take a moment to focus on your posture, or your breathing. Remember, this is not about judging what you’re doing as good or bad. Instead, it’s about actually experiencing your life.
You don’t need yoga pants to meditate. Nor do you need dreadlocks, or a mat, or special music. You can do it on the bus. You can do it during your lunch break. In effect, these moments of mindfulness, can easily lead to meditation and are their own form of meditation. When you engage in one of those moments you can savor in your experiences more. There are a lot of ways to do this (as many ways as there are of meditating, really).
3. Focus on Your Senses
Follow a specific smell, sound, taste, or feeling. Filter everything else out to the best of your ability and let one sense become your entire focus. This can be quite difficult, but it's all about practice and not getting caught up on doing it perfectly. For example, focus solely on sounds for 1-minute. Your other senses will still be there, but put a majority of your focus into what your ears are hearing at this particular moment. If you're eating, what are the flavors you’re experiencing? Not just the dominating flavor, but also the flavors underneath. These are just two examples of how focusing on your senses can put you into a more present and meditative state of mind.
4. Grab your Phone Less
The smartphone has become the go-to time filler for most of us. The moment we feel even a hint of boredom, we grab for the phone. The thing is, boredom is good for us. It is in this time that we can practice our mindfulness, have good ideas come to us, or have our little mini-meditations. We can use our phones less.
So, to help yourself become more successful at meditating, become aware of when you’re grabbing for your smartphone when you don’t need to (i.e. because you just want to fill time) and instead use those moments to focus on your surroundings and yourself, like mentioned above.
This will both have the added bonus of teaching you how to meditate, as well as helping you learn to resist your immediate impulses – which is something we can all use.
5. Put Reminders Everywhere
Finally (and most importantly) life is going to try to get in the way. It always does with good intentions. You might start off well, meditate for a week or two, then something happens and ends up dominating your life for a while and before you know it, you forgot your intention to meditate.
Help yourself remember! Put up post-its with your intentions everywhere. Make it the background on your smartphone. Put a sticker on your computer, write it on the white board, write it on your book mark. In short, put a reminder to meditate or stop and be more present, everywhere. These reminders are like signposts, pulling you back from your forgetfulness and guiding you onto the road of successfully learning how to meditate and be present. Then all you have to do is follow them once you see them!
By Leah Thurber
Leah Thurber writes content for OkDissertations company and practices guest post writing in spare time. This incredible woman likes to write about new marketing trends, content marketing strategies, social media, education, lifestyle and career. You can follow her on Twitter @leahjthurber.
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