Meditation pertains to a state of relaxation of body and focus of mind. Those who practice meditation say they notice an increase in focus, concentration, attention, along with a more positive outlook.
The practice of meditation is most often considered a part of spirituality and other mystic disciplines. One of the benefits is that you do not need any special equipment or place to practice meditation.
The fundamental principles of meditation are the same, the ways in which it can be done are many. The most important, and often most difficult, part is calming your mind and avoiding following any wandering, distracting thoughts.
It's the negative thoughts that pollute the mind. By learning to shut them out you can find peace and balance in a hectic day. Learning to quiet your mind allows you to focus on deeper, more helpful thoughts empowering you to enjoy more of life.
Here are some tips on helping you begin practicing the art of meditation.
First, put on some comfortable clothes. Tight fitting pants and restrictive clothing will probably be more of a distraction. Find something to wear that allows you to sit without worrying about being pinched or dropped.
Next, you can play some nice, soothing instrumental music. If you listen to anything with lyrics while you meditate you will most likely find yourself beginning to sing along in your head which is not going to help you focus.
Some people find it helps to have a candle or some object to gaze upon to help them focus. Others prefer to close their eyes to help block out any things that might interfere with their mental relaxation.
Sit in a comfortable position. It may help to put a pillow under your bottom to help you sit up straight and balanced. You can also lay in bed or on the couch if you know you will stay wake through your meditation time. The important thing is that the position allows you to relax as you focus.
The location or place can be helpful as well. Choose a place in your home that is free from distraction. A place that is comfortable and pleasant both in temperature and appearance. There are some who decorate a special part of a room just for the purpose of meditation.
Turn off the television and the ringer on your cell phone. You may want to set the timer on your phone so you will know when it's time to stop without looking every minute to see how long it's been. If this is a new practice for you simple set it for 5 minutes and begin to build your skills in meditation. As you improve your ability to focus and quiet your mind you can prolong the time you practice meditating.
Now that you're ready what do you do?
There are two common methods for meditation. One is focusing on your breath. This is often a technique taught in Mindfulness training. You simply focus on the breath as you inhale through your nose and exhale gently through your mouth. Focus on the sensation of the breath as it enters your body. Picture it as it travels to your lungs bringing life and then see it in your mind as it leaves your body.
Anytime an outside thought pops into your mind, acknowledge it but do not act upon it, simply return your focus to your breath for the time you've set.
The other popular method is that of visualizing a healing beam of light touching down upon your head that brings a wave of relaxation and peace to your mind and body. Allow it to scan gently through your body beginning at your head and gradually moving all the way through to the tips of your toes. If you notice any tension or stress you feel in your body simply picture that healing beam dissolving away the tension and stress.
There is really no risk to practicing meditation. It requires no physical effort or special equipment. If you have any mobility issues simply sit in a chair that gives you the support you need to feel safe and comfortable.
It has been shown that meditation reduces stress and is beneficial in other ways such as improving a person's outlook on life. It's easy to do and yet challenging because you are learning to relax and control your thoughts at the same time. Take 5 minutes a day and practice meditating for a week or two. You can do it for free and the benefits you receive could greatly enhance your life!