Meditation Made Simple
Want to get into meditation? Want to know what the point or benefit of meditation even is? This post will help you understand meditation, its benefits, and some guidelines that will help you with your practice. This article coincides with the section of my book, realizing my Self in the psychiatric ward, (buy it here on Amazon) that pertains to self-love, inner peace & healing.
Intro to Mindfulness Meditation
Meditating is like lifting weights (but better) for a few reasons:
Reason 1: Gains
The primary reason anyone lifts weights is to gain muscle, so that they have more muscle outside of the gym, right? Well, the whole point of meditation is to strengthen your consciousness, so that you are more conscious and at peace outside of the yoga mat, so to speak.
Lifting weights = Muscle Gains
Meditation = Consciousness Gains
Remember, we do not meditate only for the sake of meditating, just like we do not lift weights only for the sake of lifting metal. We meditate because it will help us to be more conscious throughout our everyday life. Just like lifting weights helps us to be more physically fit in our daily life, meditating helps us to be more mentally and emotionally fit in our daily life.
Reason 2: Consistency is Key
If you want to get better at it, you are going to have to do it frequently. You cannot expect to make any gains in the gym if you are not disciplined with your weekly weight lifting routine. Similarly, you cannot expect to become more conscious or at peace if you are not disciplined with your meditation practice. Meditation has the upper hand here, because you do not need rest days to improve with your practice. All that matters is that you are disciplined and consistent. Meditating for five minutes every day is better than meditating for thirty minutes once a week. Remember, consistency is key.
Reason 3: Patience is Fundamental
These gains do not happen overnight: be patient with yourself. Remember, you have all the time in the world. Baby steps. The same way you cannot deadlift 300 pounds on your first try without previous weight training, you cannot meditate for very long without meditation practice.
Everyone is different; do what you can. When I first started practicing meditation, five minutes was my target because I could barely sit still for a single minute.
My recommendation is that you keep practicing and increasing the length of your meditation practice until you are able to meditate for thirty minutes. According to research, meditating for fifteen minutes every day is all you need to start truly noticing benefits; however, meditating for thirty minutes every day will completely change your life. I am speaking from experience.
I used to meditate for only fifteen minutes, which was nice. Once I started consistently meditating for thirty minutes, I hardly recognized myself. You do not need to meditate for longer than thirty minutes, especially if it feels forced.
Remember, be patient with yourself; listen to your body.
Reason 4: Supplements Help Gains
Supplementing your practice is not essential, but it makes a world of a difference. With building muscle, things like proper diet, rest, cardio, and stretching help tremendously.
With strengthening your consciousness, things like connecting with Nature (even just being outdoors is enough), breathing exercises, journaling, visualization, going for walks, and mindfully doing little activities like cooking or eating will help you substantially.
Remember, supplementing your practice, while not necessary, will aid you on your journey significantly.
Reason 5: Faith in Your Growth
Faith is fundamental. If you go to the gym with the mindset that you will not have a good workout and that you will not make any gains, then that is exactly what is going to happen. If you meditate with the belief that meditation does not work for you and that you will not be able to still your mind, then that is exactly what will happen.
The solution is simple: before every practice, no matter how long your session will be, remind yourself, “I know that this practice is going to help me. I know that I am more conscious with each meditation session. I can feel my mind becoming more still and silent with every practice.” Or something along those lines (you get the idea).
Remember, faith in yourself is fundamental.
Benefits of Meditation
With consistent practice, you will eventually enjoy at least one of the following benefits:
- You get lost in thought less easily; i.e., you are better at recognizing a thought when it appears and returning your focus to whatever you are doing
- Your mind becomes more silent and still throughout the day
- You feel more peaceful and joyous throughout the day
- You feel less stressed and physically healthier
- You sleep better
- You feel more energy to do the things you love
- You are more aware of your emotions as they arise, and you are better at returning your focus to the present moment, rather than getting lost in them (just like you do during meditation!)
Meditation also helps with recovering from burnout, as well as mental and emotional exhaustion. What’s more is that meditation helps with preventing and alleviating intense negative emotions such as anxiety and depression. In summary, meditation will help you to be happy with yourself, helping you to realize that you already have everything you need to feel content in life.
Here are some guidelines that will make your mindfulness meditation practice more effective and enjoyable:
- Sit somewhere not too high, not too low (you can sit on the ground, on a mat, or on a flat, solid surface, one that does not bend with your weight—you need to keep your back straight, and cushioned surfaces make this unnecessarily difficult and uncomfortable).
- Keep your spine and neck erect. This keeps your mind from getting drowsy and allows for energy to flow through you freely.
- Do a quick scan of your body for any tension: release it. Or as Jesus put it, “Before you enter the temple, forgive.” Remember, your body is a temple; before you enter, forgive: release any tension you might be holding onto. If you are angry at someone, let it go, at least for now—you can return to it after your meditation, after grounding yourself.
- It will help you tremendously if your environment is quiet and peaceful. While it is possible to meditate with construction noise and screaming kids, it is certainly not optimal, especially for beginners.
- Try to make sure you will be undisturbed for the entirety of your meditation practice (plus an additional five minutes). Do what you need to do (but do so kindly).
- Do your best to keep your eyes still, focused on a single point, even if it is with your eyelids shut. Keeping your eyes from wandering keeps your mind from drifting off. To put it simply, if you do not know where your eyes are, you are most likely not meditating. (This was the most difficult thing about meditation for me. Remember, be patient with yourself. You will get better at this with practice.)
Basically, practicing meditation every day will help you to be more mindful and conscious during your everyday life. Meditation will improve every area of your life. Meditation will also help you find inner peace and joy, helping you to be happy with yourself. (It is also a great way to beat anxiety and calm yourself down, wherever you are!) And by turning inward (through meditation), you will find inner guidance and receive wisdom from the Universe.
By following the guidelines above, you will see the best results from your practice!
Hope that helps!