An exercise to relax, sitting cross legged and repeating OM, a selfish and self-absorbed activity, something that is only beneficial for really stressed out people, a way to discover more about who we are…
Whatever your ideas are of meditation, the aim of this article is to give you a clear, and clutter free account of what meditation really is.
What is meditation – in a nutshell? Being focused or fully absorbed in something.
This sounds vague I know but let me explain. I’ve split meditation into two main categories:
(for example, focusing your mind when you’re playing sport, reading a book or doing a guided visual meditation).
What are you choosing to meditate on?
Take a moment to observe your thoughts. What do you spend most of your time thinking, worrying, getting excited about? What are you focusing on for the majority of your time?
To some extent, we are all meditating – when you focus on a book you’re reading, it’s a form of meditation.
When you complain over and over again that you’re not happy about something, you’re meditating…
I believe that we are continuously shaping and constructing our lives by what we think about most.
So, in this respect, being mindful of your thoughts, will help you to realise what you are spending most of your time thinking, dreaming, talking… about. And as a result, live a happier, less stressful life. If, for example, you spend the majority of your life running around feeling stressed, you may seek out meditation exercises that help you to focus on being calmer.
(for example, meditation to reach a state of mind/being where only consciousness remains).
“Meditation is a state where only consciousness remains.” Osho
What will happen when you stop identifying with your thoughts, imagination, surroundings… for a moment and focus on your breath? What are you left with? What did Buddha really experience when he was meditating?
When people say that they’ve tried meditation and they haven’t ‘got it’, I believe what they mean is that they tried to focus on the breath but didn’t understand what specifically they were supposed to experience.
Before you start meditating, ask yourself this:
What you would like to get out of meditation and why you would like to meditate?
If you have no idea, go back and really grill yourself. Do you want to deal with anxiety? Do you want to reap the amazing health benefits? Or are you just curious?
Once you know why you’d like to meditate you can then seek out the right exercises, courses or programmes for you. We’re all different and there are thousands of approaches to meditation out there so being aware of why you’re doing it is the first step.
Why I got into meditation
I got interested in meditation because I wanted to experience first-hand, other states of being. And certainly as a teenager and in my early 20s, I was massively interested in the idea of ‘the self’. If you take away or stop identifying with all of your possessions, thoughts, opinions, likes/dislikes, then what do you have left? Are you still ‘you’ or is there another ‘self’ waiting to be discovered through meditation? Is there more to human nature than what we experience in day to day life?
P.S Remember this
Everyone has the ability to meditate. Meditation is NOT something designed only for Buddhist monks or the spiritual elite. Focusing on your breath for as little as five minutes a day or being mindful of your thoughts will improve your health when done regularly.
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