One of my favourite old Zen sayings is this:
‘You should sit in meditation for 20 minutes a day, unless you’re too busy…then you should sit for an hour.’
But, how do you meditate? What is meditation? What are the benefits of sitting for 20 minutes or an hour a day? And doesn’t it take a few classes or lessons to learn how to meditate?
Meditation is defined as thinking deeply about something. But, in truth, it is the art of thinking deeply about nothing. Meditation is something which anyone can do, and isn’t just consigned to the Buddhist monks or specialist yoga classes.
Meditation can help with a variety of ailments, and is particularly helpful to calm nerves and anxiety. It also teaches us to breathe properly. Most of us have forgotten how to breathe correctly and have learnt to breathe in an unnatural way. The natural way to breathe is through our diaphragm, blowing our stomach out rather than raising our shoulders when we breathe. Just like babies do.
When we breathe properly it allows all of our organs and body systems to function normally, taking the stress off these systems, and allowing adequate amounts of oxygen to run through our body. With correct breathing our circulation system functions properly, allowing all of our internal organs to get the right amount of nutrients. Meditation allows our bodies to take a break from our bad breathing habits and chill out for a moment or two.
Meditation also gives the mind a break, and to be frank, how often do we ever get to do that with our busy lifestyles, other than when we sleep. To give your mind a break each day is to strengthen your mind. It allows your brain to dispel all of the ‘little stuff’, like worries and to-do lists, and decreases stress and anxiety in the process. It incorporates the practice of mindfulness as we become focused on our breathing and forget anything from the past or the future.
So, how do you meditate?
The act of meditation is easy. It does, admittedly, take practice to get it right, but through daily meditation you can quickly learn how to do it properly.
First off, find a quiet space to meditate. If you are surrounded by people throughout the day and have to kids to wake up to and put to bed, then you’re probably best to wake up 20 minutes earlier to meditate or to meditate just before bedtime. I set my phone to ‘do not disturb’, but set the alarm clock for 20 minutes. This way you can meditate in peace, but know when your 20-minute session is done.
You don’t need any fancy get-up gear or yoga mats to meditate. You can just sit on the floor in a cross-legged position or even in a chair. The main positional note that you’ll need to remember is to sit up straight to allow universal energy to run up and down your spine.
The actual act of meditation requires you to breathe through your diaphragm. This can take a large chunk of the 20 minutes to get right if you’ve been particularly busy or stressed. But, keep persevering and it’ll sort itself out. At the start of the session your breathing may be hurried or irregular. This is nothing to worry about, and don’t beat yourself up about it, as it will slow down and become regular as you continue on.
Breathing correctly is the main focus of meditation when you are starting out. Focus on breathing through your diaphragm or blowing your stomach up like a balloon, and then slowly releasing. The tricky part of meditation is to stop thinking about anything else other than breathing correctly. The ‘little stuff’ can creep into your thoughts unexpectedly. If you catch yourself thinking about the washing, picking up the kids from school or the fight you had with your best friend, then pretend to put these thoughts in a bubble, let them float away into the air and then go back to focusing on your breathing.
After your mediation session, you can get up and get back to your day, feeling refreshed, energised and breathing correctly.
Meditation sounds simpler than what it is, but regular meditation will yield amazing results. You’ll find yourself to be more focused, less stressed, and breathing correctly throughout the day, meaning that your body and mind will thank you for the break from the busy world around you. You may also find that you’ll have amazing insight into situations or problems that you may have had as the answer unexpectedly comes to you.
So, go on and give it a try. You may find that your self-imposed meditation sessions become longer and thoroughly enjoyable as you become more and more practiced. Everyone can benefit from this this truly wonderful gift of meditation.
About the Author:
Kimberly is an international psychic, clairvoyant, tarot reader and past life specialist from Auckland, New Zealand. Her site thechannelling.co.nz, helps thousands of people a month find a bit of spiritual enlightenment, love and acceptance.
Connect with Kimberley to find out more about psychic work and spiritual development