People from all walks of life practice meditation. Age, sex and religious orientation do not matter. And the best part about meditation? It is simple.
Meditation is a way to find peace, to calm the mind, and to increase powers of focus and concentration. In some respects, meditation is the opposite of activity. So when we practice meditation, we attain balance. This is especially needed today with so many demands on our time; it is easy to get caught up in constant activity. So learning how to meditate can provide a way for us to rest and retreat, even for a short time, from our busy lives.
Find a peaceful room or corner in your home. Sitting upright in a chair (or cross-legged on the floor), hold the spine straight. Place your hands upturned at the juncture of the thigh and abdomen, shoulder blades back, chin level with the floor – this opens up the chest and allows for deep, rhythmic breathing. Most importantly, gently place the attention of the mind and the inward gaze of the eyes at the point between the eyebrows – the “third eye.” Should your attention wander from the “midspot,” during your meditation gently bring it back again and again. Now relax. Let go of all your thoughts, worries and cares.
A technique to help calm the mind is to watch the breath as it flows evenly in and evenly out. Do not try to control or regulate it, but just watch it flow. Yoga practitioners say that the mind and breath are inseparable: the condition of one reflects the condition of the other. As you watch the breath, you will note that it begins to slow down of its own accord; so too the mind becomes peaceful and calm.
When to Practice and How Long
The body has its own rhythms. Early in the morning, the body is waking up and getting ready for the day. Late at night before bed, it is preparing for sleep. Just before getting up and just before going to sleep are excellent times to meditate. In these “in-between” times, when we are waking and getting ready for sleep, our bodies are receptive, so meditating at those times is very beneficial. As it makes sense to take care of our bodies with exercise and the right foods, meditation can help focus the mind and quell the emotions.
In the beginning, it may be difficult to meditate more than a few minutes. If that is all you feel comfortable doing, then go with it. Practice will enable you to meditate longer. But even a few moments of meditation can yield big dividends.
Meditation can be an invaluable tool in life. It helps people remain calm during trying times. It helps one focus better on whatever one is doing. And it provides a calming “retreat” from all the stresses and strains of modern living.
Today knowledge of meditation is widespread and mainstream. Every organization, it seems, from corporations to churches is offering some sort of meditation. By practicing these simple instructions, you should have no fear about knowing what to do should you have the opportunity to participate. Give it a try!