BY PRIYA ALI
Meditation is a word that is commonly used or, shall I say commonly misused. It is often used to reference sitting cross legged for hours, chanting “aum” or some other word, with your eyes closed and your mind emptied and thoughtless. It has been closely linked to epiphanies which are frequently referred to as “ah ha moments”. Meditation has been declared to be an activity that creates relaxation, calm and peacefulness.
Over the years in my practice, I have had many clients profess or confess that they cannot meditate. They will tell me they simply are unable to clear, quiet or silence their minds and stop their thoughts. Once their mind is tuned into something else, they deemed themselves, meditative failures.
The science behind meditation comes from the change in your physiological state. When you are sitting and meditating, you will change your breathing your pace, your inner self talk and your posture, all of which will impact your physiological state of being. By sitting in silence, possibly postured like a yogi, you are opening yourself up to a receptive state.
Meditation allows you to turn down the volume on all the external stimuli surrounding you and be able to hear the noise and racquet of your voice that is playing its subconscious message through a deeper level. Breathing is a big part of most meditative practices. To get started, just start breathing in and out consistently at the same pace and focus on being present with your body and your being.
For beginners, I recommend starting with a three to five minute daily practice where you focus on your breathing and just allow your thoughts to come and go. If you find that once you position yourself and begin your meditative practice, that you are still thinking about the grocery list, or your upcoming presentation at work, just allow the thoughts to come and go.
Letting go of resistance and the need to control your thoughts is one of the most effective ways to begin a successful meditative practice. As with any new practice or habit, consistency is key, so you are encouraged to engage in your meditation through a daily routine. Freeing yourself of any expectations of how it should feel, or what type of results the practice should yield will lead you to more ease as you will not be judging yourself for being right or wrong in the way you are doing it. Be at ease with whatever does or doesn’t happen for you and remember this is likely one of the only areas in life where being thoughtless is a positive thing.