What is meditation? What are the benefits? And how do you do it? Find the answers to these questions in Andrea Kwiatkowski‘s beginner’s guide to meditation!
What Is Meditation?
Meditation is an ancient discipline involving contemplation while focusing the mind on a thought or object. It can help you to understand yourself more as a whole person. Its practices have been used as part of religious traditions focusing outwardly on awareness of posture, breath and mental control and inwardly for a spiritual search. Buddhism is best known for it’s teaching on meditation and takes various forms such as zen.
Through a deeper understanding of who you are over time a deeper awareness develops in all areas of your life bringing about a capacity to notice every event in your life as it happens. Meditation brings awareness in heart and mind that will make life richer and more fulfilled. It promotes physical relaxation and calm, increased energy and sharpened concentration.
- Create the right environment to practice, warm, clean and naturally lit.
- Be comfortable either using a chair or cushion to sit. Avoid distractions where possible – try the phone off the hook.
- 5 mins daily is a good start as is first thing in the morning.
Start by becoming relaxed, count your breath from one to ten and then start again at one as you inhale, two as you exhale and so on.
Moving on to meditation means crossing a threshold from one state of mind to another. As you continue your breathing and become calmer use a symbol such as a door to allow your transition of crossing over. Your mind naturally will wander and become a chattering monkey as you progress. Try to focus back to the breath, be patient it happens to everyone.
Coming Out Of Meditation
Release your concentration and note anything down to remember. Keeping a journal is a good idea, each session will bring changes some almost invisible but over time they will become apparent.In reality you are making progress all the time.
What Is A Symbol?
A symbol has a meaning without using words and each culture has its own ones. Try to visualize your own one that is significant to you. Common ones used in meditation are a candle, a deity or a mandala.
Through meditation begins the process of change. As you appreciate your own needs and abilities you are more likely to choose activities that support your development. These choices occur in the food that we eat. Has your food been produced in ways that are harmful to animals or the environment? Do you choose fatty foods or cigarettes and alcohol that may be harmful to you?
Meditation helps you take positive life choices and decisions including:
- Setting your goals for your future
- Living life to the full
- Making each moment of your life meaningful
If you wait for tomorrow to start something new you may never do it so let each moment be mindful and fulfilled.
Thinking positively contributes to your spiritual growth, emotional wellbeing and physical energy. Our ability to think clearer and reassess our values and goals. Regular meditation practice will help you to find these things out and to see the bigger picture.
This post was shared by Andrea Kwiatkowski, an Advanced Jivamukti certified teacher. She also teaches Yin yoga and Restorative yoga. Andrea is known for her deep philosophical message in her class, interweaving the teachings from the scriptures and making them practical for everyday living. She lives and teaches in Cambridge and runs retreats and workshops in the UK and abroad.