Imagine being able to stay calm when all you want to do is throw a chair across the room. Imagine being able to breathe when you are burdened with the workload. Imagine being able to have control over your thoughts and your actions. Imagine having control over yourself. Having that sort of power could make such magnificent changes in your life. So the question is how do you get that power? Well, the answer may sound easy, but the time and effort should be put in for you to be able to control the chaotic energy. That is meditation.
Meditation isn’t just yoga or some breathing exercise. It goes much deeper than that. Meditation is a technique for changing one’s mind. Buddhist meditation methods inspire and cultivate focus, insight, mental positivity, and a peaceful vision of things in their true form. By investing in a specific meditation exercise, you can think about your mind’s behaviours practised favourite can and routines, as well as develop new, more optimistic forms of being. These nurturing, concentrated states of mind will intensify into deeply relaxed and stimulated states of mind with daily effort and persistence. Such encounters have the potential to change people and contribute to new perspectives on life.
Why should you meditate?
Now that we have a better understanding of what meditation is, let’s look into why you should meditate in detail.
- Achieve inner peace: Imagine your mind and body as a house. The more dirty and unorganized it is, the more suffocating and uncomfortable it becomes to live in. So, you try to clear the mess up. Similarly, mediation helps you clear out your mind, body, and spirit. It is highly beneficial in every aspect. In a single day, we collect a great deal of material. And if we aren’t aware of it, our subconscious mind collects all of the information about its environment. Having consistency in your mind will help you with a variety of things, like increasing your willpower, speeding up your decision-making process, and also increasing your intellect.
- Become more aware of the present: You are much more aware of the surroundings once you are grounded. You let go of what has been in the past and what could be in the future. People that are not there are often preoccupied with a variety of other issues. They are too preoccupied with their emotions in the current moment to work at their full potential. You get to live entirely in the present time while you meditate. This allows you to respond more quickly to the circumstances that surround you. Being more concentrated, effective, responsive, and receptive are all part of it. Living in the current moment allows you to make the most of the moment in your life.
- Increased consciousness: Meditation is a valuable method for leading a conscious life. You feel more connected to your surroundings, the people around you, and the world around you as you meditate. You become even more aware of the interconnectedness of all things. Long-term meditation allows you to lose lower states of consciousness and begin vibrating at a higher frequency of intensity. Fear, rage, desire, and pride no longer have control over certain thoughts and actions. Instead, you reach stages of confidence, neutrality, motivation, and beyond in the present moment.
- Better clarity: Meditation allows you to gain control over your emotions, inner feelings, and self-awareness. There are two types of thoughts: those that you consciously participate in and those that you are not aware of yet are still present. In an hour, the ordinary mind (those who don’t meditate) takes up just a handful of the thousands of thought threads that pass through it. A focused mind, on the other side, picks up a lot more information. You get more self-aware the more you meditate. You become even more aware of your thoughts, how you think, how you feel, and what you desire. This clarity will help you make better decisions and live a more fulfilling life. You can be easily manipulated by various external forces if you don’t have this clarity.
Meditation can be done in one of three ways:
- Concentration is the act of maintaining one’s concentration on a single object, whether internal or external (focused attention meditation).
- Observation entails paying attention to whatever is most prominent of the own experience without being fixated on one issue in particular (open-monitoring meditation).
- Awareness is allowing consciousness to stay current, undistracted, and uninvolved in either concentrating or observing.
Meditation also has the following characteristics:
- Even if meditation is practiced in communities or groups, meditation is an independent activity.
- Often people meditate with their eyes closed, although this isn’t necessarily the case. Some examples are Zazen and Trataka, which are open-eye styles of meditation.
- Meditation typically entails a state of physical stillness. There are also ways to incorporate mindfulness into other practices, such as walking meditation.
Ways to make meditation a habit?
Now that you’ve understood why you should meditate. Here are the ways we suggest how you should do it and make it a habit.
1. Make up your mind
Get down to it and make it clear to yourself why you want to get into meditation. What is your reason? What do you want to achieve? How will you go on about it? These are the kind of questions that will help you understand better your reasons for meditation. With that sort of clarity, it will help you build the determination that you need to practice meditation. As mentioned earlier, it is a time taking process and not everyone can get it right in the first few tries. However, the motivation that you build for yourself will allow you to reach your goal at a much faster pace.
2. Take small steps
Now that you’ve finally decided you are going to meditate. Soon you will realize that meditation can be boring and much harder than you initially thought. Set yourself a target. You can even start as small as 2 minutes per day. With more practice and time, you will find 10 to 15 minutes doable. You will begin to see the positive changes and this could even drive you to challenge yourself to practice an hour or more of meditation daily. Soon, within a few months, you would feel like a fresh new person. You would be able to witness a much more positive outlook on yourself and your surroundings. After a point, you will soon see it hard to live without meditating at least once a day.
3. Set up your schedule
Although meditation can be done at any time of the day. It is essential to do it at the same time every day to make it a habit. If I had to recommend, I’d say mornings are the best time to meditate. Meditating in the morning will help you attain that peace of mind and start your day with a jolt of positivity. That positive feeling would last through the entire day and even help you cope with any sort of stress or difficulty that you encounter in your day. That sort of mental strength will guide you to act reasonably and calmly, help you take better decisions, and even spread a little joy to those around you. Thus, not only helping you but also pass on a happier note to others. However, understand that it is not mandatory to practice meditation in the morning only. It can be done at any time of the day based on your schedule.
4. Arrange your comfort zone
Find the one sport where you won’t find yourself distracted and is comfortable. You need to shift your entire focus into your current environment and the state of your mind. Thus, making it important to have a peaceful and comfortable environment. It could be on a table, your favorite chair, on a yoga mat, in the garden, or anywhere that you are guaranteed to have some peaceful time for yourself. Once you are able to divert your energy and focus on yourself, you can even start meditating in open spaces such as the park or the beach. Even if a few people walk by, it won’t distract you as easily as it would when you initially started.
5. Choose your method
When you think about meditation, you imagine a quiet room with you sitting in it deeply focused on your breathing. But here’s the thing, it’s not a one size fits all kind of situation. There are various methods of meditation. It is up to you to choose what works for you best. Ultimately they all serve the same purpose of letting you explore the inner you.
- Mindfulness Meditation: It is the most common form of meditation. In mindfulness meditation, you primarily focus on your breathing or an object. You observe the ideas and thoughts as they pass through your mind. You do not get involved in them, you don’t judge them, you just observe them. It makes you concentrate on your breathing and be aware of your thoughts at the same time.
- Focused Meditation: It is ideal for you if your mind wanders a lot and you just cannot focus. It incorporates the use of any of the 5 senses. Be it listening to the gong, counting mala beads, or staring at a candle. Anything that lets you stay focused.
- Spiritual Meditation: If you find praying in a quiet environment spiritual, like praying at a church, then spiritual meditation is for you. It is similar to praying, you take the silence around you and use it to form a deeper connection with god. To increase the spiritual experience it is prescribed to use incense sticks, sage oil, cedar oil, sandalwood oil, etc.
- Movement Meditation: It includes walking through the woods, gardening, or doing yoga. The entire point is to be able to focus on the one activity that you are doing and be able to do it with clear headspace. It could help you feel more peaceful and even help achieve contentment.
- Mantra Meditation: If you find focusing on breathing hard, then you should try out mantra meditation. Instead of focusing on your breathing, you ought to chant mantras. Most people repeat “Om” chants to clear their minds. After doing this for a while you will feel a heightened sense of awareness.
6. Make it convenient
You are meditating for yourself. Trying to set up hyper-unrealistic goals such as being able to meditate for 6 hours by the end of the week when you are a beginner could be problematic for you. It is better to break it down part by part. Try making it as easy as you can for yourself, because being able to attain that mental peace is a challenge in itself. From starting with simple breathing right after you wake up to having an app on your phone to remind you and guide you on how to go on about it. As long as you can push yourself without much hassle to start meditating, then you are off to a good start on improving yourself.
7. Negative consequences for missing a day
When something isn’t part of your routine, you tend to slack off. There will be the moment when you would want to skip a day because you aren’t feeling it or you would rather binge-watch a little on Netflix. If you intend to make it an everyday habit, then you need to be stern with yourself to be able to integrate it into your daily life. If at all you find yourself skipping a day, or not able to reach your set target, then you must face a small consequence. Perhaps not watch that one episode you were looking forward to or treat yourself to ice cream. The idea is to be able to understand and weigh out the importance of your achieving your goal. It is to build up that determination to get where you want to be. Until and unless you find yourself in an extremely difficult circumstance, try pushing yourself to practice meditation every day. You are only doing this to benefit you more than anything else in the world.
8. Track your progress
Just as your parents kept a record of your good behaviour as a child, you could keep a record of all times and goals achieved for meditation. This could even encourage you to keep moving forward as you see yourself achieving the small goals you set for yourself. From marking the days you meditated on a calendar to maintain a journal or a mediation log. Today, there are even apps to help you keep track of your daily achievements and goals. You would be able to have an idea of how to progress towards your goals as you work on them each day. For some, seeing all the positive logs could push them to try harder for themselves. It would highly aid in forming a habit as you are required to note down what was done for that particular day.
9. Reward your progress
Every achievement deserves an award. You could treat yourself differently each time you achieve your set target. Although the calm and peaceful mind is an award in itself, a little treat could even encourage you to set bigger goals for yourself. Ultimately the idea is for you to be able to integrate meditation into your day-to-day routine. Perhaps, within months of your practice, you won’t even see the need to reward yourself as you have been able to achieve something more than what a piece of (dark) chocolate could do! And that is the control over yourself and that sense of calmness within you. Although, to be able to reach there you would have to start somewhere. Plus, a little treat can be a positive influence on your journey to improving yourself. Just be sure that the reward does not distract you from achieving more in meditation or harm your health.
10. The goal is not to be perfect
Occasionally, you will find yourself distracted or won’t have the mental energy to focus on your breathing. It is important to tell yourself that it is normal to have bad days when you are trying to get better. No journey is ever smooth when there are bumps and speed breakers. Do not get angry at yourself or anything and tell yourself that it’s no magic. Feeling stressed out or even anxious is all part of life. Meditation does not help you get rid of these negative emotions but rather helps you deal with them. You would be defying the purpose of meditation if you find yourself losing your anger and going into a spiral of negative thoughts. Rather, tell yourself that not every day has to go perfectly and there is always another chance to get better at it. The drive to make it perfect could cause a lot of frustration. This is because exploring the inner you won’t always be easy. So understand that it is okay to have negative feelings, and it’s important to respond to those negative emotions adequately.
To finish it off, just try enjoying the process. Nothing good comes off easy, but being able to take it all as a learning experience could help you feel much better and even develop yourself as a person. If you can devote the time and effort to yourself and meditation and be able to make it a daily habit, you are going to achieve more than you can imagine. The sort of liberation that you achieve after meditation is exhilarating. It’s going to make you want more and more. The best part? It is very healthy for your mind, body, and soul. So there is nothing wrong with practising. So, rather than waiting for that motivation or need to meditate to come to you, start somewhere small and you will see yourself improve with time.