Meditation seems a lot harder than it is. It doesn’t have to be difficult and there really is no right way or wrong way to do it. There are several different types of meditation–mental, emotional and physical. This article focuses on a form of structured mental meditation that relaxes the body and mind.
Here are a few successful ingredients for a satisfying meditation:
- Find a quiet space where you won’t be interrupted. True, you can meditate for 5 seconds sitting at a red light in the car and get something out of it. But, especially if you’re just starting out, it’s best to have some space and time to yourself where you have a better chance of fully relaxing your mind, find more.
- Get comfortable. Don’t lie down in bed – you’ll probably fall asleep (although meditation can be done at bedtime right before falling asleep. It can be a good way of relaxing your body and mind). Find a chair or meditation cushion where your body can be erect, but relaxed.
- Choose something to listen to. That might be silence, the crickets chirping outside, a thunderstorm or peaceful and uplifting music. Having something to listen to helps to focus your attention and keep active thoughts from invading your consciousness.
- Focus your thought on your breath. Meditation can be as simple as that. Feel your body inhale, then exhale. Make them deep, long breaths that fill the bottom of your lungs and expand your abdomen.
- Every time your mind wanders, bring it back to your breath. Again. And again. And again. Let thoughts come to you, don’t chase after them. When worries come, let them go and focus on your breath. When doubts arise, or thoughts of stresses in your life invade your concentration, just go back to your breath. Think: inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale.
You can meditate for as long as you can maintain your focus — or for only a few minutes. Generally, with practice, it becomes easier to get into and stay in a meditative mode and time can pass without you realizing it.
Just focusing on your breath may not seem very complex or something you’d consider satisfying. However, simply sitting in silence with yourself and allowing your mind and body to relax and to switch off from the worries in your life will help your mind focus better during the times when it is active and “on.”
There are deeper levels you can go to in meditation, such as learning to feel connected with the universal energy that makes up all life. But focusing on the breath is a great start.