I’m the kind of person who knows many people but call a select few, friends. Even less are the amount of friends I have that practice meditation. So much so that I can only say I know of one friend, other than myself, that meditates and it’s really like finding a diamond in the ruff.
Meditation isn’t just for “hippies” and devote buddahists. You can meditate regardless of your religion or beliefs. Meditating is about clearing ones mind for a multitude of reasons and benefits. Meditation can help you to lower stress levels, think more clearly during the day, maintain control of your emotions, come to sound decisions, become one with source and your higher self, develop a stronger intuition, become more aware of your surroundings, sleep better at night, gain a sense of overall well being or happiness and many more benefits. It’s actually been said that among the top things that “successful” people do is read a lot of books, exercise and you guessed it, meditate.
It’s probably easy for people who don’t meditate and aren’t, initially, interested in meditating to dismiss all the claimed benefits of meditation but here’s some science to back it up. A Harvard affiliated Scientist and researcher, Sara Lazar, based out of Massachusetts General Hospital conducted 2 studies on meditation and the effects it can have on the brain over an 8-week time frame. During one of the experiments she had two control groups. One group of individuals were instructed and assisted in practicing meditative mindfulness every day for an average of 30 minutes a day. The second group did not partake in any meditative activities. Brain scans were taken of the individuals in both groups prior to and after the research was conducted. At the end of the 8 weeks, the second brain scan showed a change in each individual who was instructed to meditate every day. The gray matter (located in the hippocampus), which is responsible for focus, empathy, memory, anxiety and stress was more dense than the initial MR (magnetic reasonance) images. You can read more about the research conducted here. The research showcases that meditating has positive benefits on the brain and the person who partakes in it on a regular basis. Sara Lazar has noted in another article that she has been meditating for 20 years and plans on continuing to do so as she has found that it has had a positive impact on her life.
There are many misunderstandings of meditation that may prevent people for partaking in this awesome form of well being. Some of them include:
- You have to meditate for a specific amount of time.
Not exactly true. The prospect of sitting still for a long period of time, thinking of nothing sounds like a nap. But there is no specific time frame an individual must engage in mindfulness in order to “do it right.” Start off small with the time you think is best for you. Listen to your body. If you’re a goal getter, set a timer on your phone and see if you can meditate long enough without peeking to see how much longer you have.
- You have to sit Indian style on the floor when meditating.
Again untrue. You can sit in any upright position. Some even say you can lay down, which I wouldn’t personally do because you are more likely to fall asleep. You can sit on a chair with your feet on the floor and your palms facing upwards. You don’t even have to pinch your thumb and middle finger together as commonly believed. The very first time I meditated I was sitting upright on the bed with my back against the head board. I will always remember that moment because afterwards I felt so elevated and light.
- You shouldn’t be thinking of anything.
It’s not impossible but it is hard to think of absolutely nothing for any given amount of time. Especially when first beginning to meditate. We’re human, we think, and we think a lot. It’s natural. Instead of trying to create a blank space in your mind, try to focus on something specific. A popular one is to focus on your breathing. Inhale, exhale. You can also repeat affirmations in your mind while meditating. Focus on what you want to manifest in your life and feel good about it.
There’s so many ways you can mix it up. There’s even meditation groups you can join if you don’t want to start off alone. Regardless of how you kick it off, just make sure you are in a quiet place that is comfortable for sitting and not too cold. As I like to follow the people I aspire to be like in one form of another, I have found that all are fans of meditation and do so daily. Needless to say, I have more than enough reason to continue my journey in meditation. It’s been incredibly helpful to me, especially in being more patient and finding truth in all things without an emotional expectation or desire attached. Hopefully you’ve been inspired to try meditation.
Love and Life
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