We know that meditation is a key to managing stress. Yet many of us do not believe that it is for us or will actually work for us. By mindful meditation we can consciously direct our focus, tame our restless and confused minds, and lessen our grief and stress.
Meditation is relaxation for the mind. It is finding a single point of focus and maintaining it for a period of time, letting our thoughts and constant head chatter drift away. A little like turning off the outboard motor, we can let the thrashing waters settle to a glassy clearness that lets us see the depths below.
Start your practice with say five to ten minutes per day. You can stay with this time if you wish, or once you are comfortable meditating for a short time you may work your way up to fifteen, twenty, thirty minutes or an hour or longer each day.
Your single point of focus can be on your breath (as in mindful breathing). Or, you can meditate focusing on a candle flame; a vibrational body scan (as in Vipassana meditation); or you can focus on something that is calming or has a spiritual significance for you.
If you want to sit cross-legged on the floor, chanting a mantra while sandalwood incense burns, well you can. But you don’t have to. You can meditate just about anywhere, sitting, standing, lying down or even while you are walking.
When starting out it is suggested that you find a comfortable supportive location where you will not get disturbed. Make sure the room or area is a comfortable temperature and you are wearing comfortable clothing. Perhaps you can set up a special ‘quiet space’ somewhere, where you can go in peace. Place some objects around that are of special significance to you. If the cross-legged pose is not for you, sit on a good supportive chair, with your feet flat on the floor and your back straight and supported. Perhaps you can have some running water (I have a wonderful little water fountain that some say sounds like a dripping tap, but I just love it) and candles.
Schedule your mindful meditation and relaxation practice into your day. First thing in the morning before the hype up for the day is a good time.
See Mindfulness for a Mindful Breathing Exercise to build into a Meditation. Work your way up to maintaining your meditation for 15 to 20 minutes. See if you can maintain a meditation for up to 60 minutes. First thing in the morning is a good way to start the day.
Any meditation will require some practice time and discipline. However, the results can well change your life.
Mindfulness and meditation is learning to experience life fully as it unfolds moment by moment. Dr Jon Kabat-Zinn says that meditation is not about running away, or manipulating mental states. It is an invitation to wake up, experience the fullness of your life, transform your relationship with your problems, your fears and any pain and stress in your life so that they do not wind up controlling you and eroding the quality of your life and your creativity.
We often look forward to a holiday or a time in the future when we can relax in a special place. I want you to develop Your Special Space in your imagination. A space that is of significance and is special to you. A space where you can go to at any time to enjoy and relax. This space is to be yours alone. It is to be somewhere you feel safe, comfortable, peaceful, loved, loving and supported.