Even with all the screen time meditation has enjoyed on the big screen these days, a huge number of people in general are still skeptical about what it can do.
And even today, a huge number of people who meditate still get ridiculed by their peers. Painting them in the picture of gurus sitting on flying carpets.
While all these are just fun and just a little social banter, meditation is really starting to get the respect it deserves in the modern world. And more and more people are starting to believe that the world is not all made up of tangible matter, but also all-connected by intangible forces that science is too young to understand.
The universe exist as one.
The overwhelming odds are that you have attempted to mediate at some point in life even if you have always been a fierce nonbeliever.
You might not be aware of it. But in the past when you have managed to consciously calm your mind, narrow your focus, and block out all the “noise” as if they don’t exist, you are definitely doing something resembling meditation.
How did meditation come about?
Meditation has been in practice for thousands of years. And because we often see them being practiced by kung-fu masters for inner peace, monks for enlightenment, spiritual leaders for zen and metaphysical practitioners for divine intervention, it is somehow inscribed into our minds that it originate from the East.
The accuracy of it’s origin is up to debate.
But as the decades went by, and as more and more Asian culture get exposure in the western world, meditation is slowly getting widespread acceptance. And still growing.
What can meditation do for you?
On the surface, meditation will help you calm your mind and relax you body. This is pretty much enough positives for someone trying to manage the excessive stress modern society has put on our shoulders.
But there is even more substance in it below the surface.
New-age philosophy has put meditation right at the forefront of happiness.
It is now generally acknowledged as one of the corner stones of inner peace, gratification, contentment, consciousness and sub-consciousness, etc. And this is without mentioning various religions that are throwing their weight at it.
With practice, meditation is known to dissipate stress, promote a tenseless mind, relax muscles, that effectively results in you feeling rejuvenated, rested, and reinvigorated.
How difficult is it to meditate?
It might seem like meditating is just sitting down and closing you eyes. But surely you cannot imagine that it is as easy as this.
This is because the work that is done is… in your head.
Most people should have little problem with maintaining a clear mind for a few seconds. But it can astound you to learn that about 98% of people generally cannot focus on “emptiness” for as much as 30 seconds!
This means that the real challenge, the part where almost everybody fails, is sustaining such a mental state of Nothingness for an extended period of time.
- This can be tough in the modern digitized world where:
- You get an instant message ever other minute
- You favorite drama is showing on prime time in 15 minutes
- The mega annual sale on Amazon kicks-off in 20 minutes
However these distractions should not discourage you. Practice makes perfect. You’ll never get to a higher level unless you start with the first step.
If you stick with it, you could soon experience positive results faster than you expect.
Who know… you could be a natural a it.
- Find a quiet place that you feel comfortable with
- Put your mobile devices in silent mode and leave them in another room
- Get in a comfortable sitting position (using a chair is optional)
- Focus on a though, word, sound, object, or just emptiness
- Maintain the focus and embrace it
Start with a few minutes and slowly progress towards as much as 30 minutes. If you are able to do this for 30 minutes, you are ready for more advanced levels of meditation (which is not discussed here).
To double up on your fight against anxiety, incorporate breathing exercises like breath-counting while you meditate.
The mantra method
A mantra is a word that is repeated perpetually. This word can sometimes take the form of a sound. Applying a mantra into meditation helps you focus better and block out distractions.
The mantra method of mediating is made popular by the countless clips in movies and online of Buddhist monks praying or meditating while mumbling their mantras with their lips.
Here how to adopt it.
- Find a quiet spot in the house
- Sit on either the floor or a chair
- Start doing deep breathing exercises while emptying your mind
- Without moving, feel your body and identify areas experiencing tension
- Focus on breathing and begin repeating or chanting your mantra
- Make use of timing and rhythm for smoother execution
I personally find that it works better when the chanting is not done silently in your head. Do it with a soft volume while moving your lips.
I get it. We all live busy lives centered around work and other commitments. And just when we get home thinking that it’s time to relax, the responsibilities of being a parent might just tip the stress scale into overload.
Granted. You might not be able to set aside 30 minutes each day solely for meditation.
But remember that doing a little of it is better than not at all. You can always squeeze it in somewhere even if it’s not the ideal manner to do it.
- In the subway
- On the bus
- On the cab
- A minute in the car after you’ve parked
- In the hair salon
- A minute at the table after you’ve finished lunch
The truth is that there are many ways and opportunities to meditate within each day. If you live a stressful lifestyle, these mini-breaks might just make a huge difference to how well you keep stress in check.