I remember when I didn’t know what meditation really was.
“What am I actually supposed to do?” I wondered, as I sat dutifully in a position that was cutting off circulation to my feet.
My research at that time indicated I wasn’t supposed to do anything. Literally. Needless to say, I didn’t get it, and I didn’t do it very well. So I just didn’t do it at all. Eventually, though, I took the time to learn, practice, and understand. And everything changed.
What is Meditation?
Some believe meditation is emptying the mind of all thoughts by stopping endless mental chatter. Others believe it’s not emptying the mind, but training it to focus on one thought – concentration.
With so many different definitions, belief systems, and styles, there really is no right or wrong way to meditate. We’re each different and, therefore, must find their own unique way of calming the mind, while gently relaxing the body and spirit.
What does meditation feel like?
Have you ever driven your car home and been thinking so hard about something that you didn’t really remember driving? You didn’t recognize starting and stopping, turning the steering wheel left or right, or seeing a green or red light.
But you did.
You simply weren’t aware of seeing, feeling, or doing. Why? Because you were completely focused on an internal thought and everything else was operating by rote.
This is an example of single-pointed focus – a very common version of meditation that improves concentration and mental control.
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Tips for Starting a Meditation Practice
Meditation doesn’t have to be mystical, difficult, or time-consuming. These simple tips will start you on the road to being a calm, focused goddess.
Just 5 Minutes
It doesn’t take long to reap the benefits of meditation. Start with 5 minutes anywhere, anytime – in the car, before you go to sleep, during your lunch break, or while you’re cooking dinner. Setting a timer may help.
No phone, no one calling your name, no television/radio, no social media notifications, no screens of any kind.
In the shower, in the car, on the toilet. Every private moment is a perfect opportunity to meditate.
You don’t have to be in an unsupported seated lotus position to meditate. In fact, the more comfortable you are, the less likely you are to be distracted by discomfort or pain.
Slowly. Patiently. Deeply.
Give equal amounts of time and attention to both the inhalation and exhalation. Feel how your breathing affects your body – chest, shoulders, back.
Consciously relax parts of your body with every exhale.
The early practice of meditation is difficult because our mind wanders everywhere, thinking about everything.
Give your mind something to do by consciously paying attention to everything you hear. Then everything you smell. Everything you physically feel. Everything you see.
This is called Mindfulness Meditation and brings you into the “now”.
You don’t start piano lessons by playing a Beethoven sonata on the first day.
You start with learning the keys and finger positions. Then you practice scales and continue to grow from there. Meditation is the same.
Start with learning the basics and practice daily. Add something new after what you’ve learned has sunk in and becomes habit.
About the author: Althea is an international presenter, author, video producer, television personality, and the creator of numerous wellness programs for medical centers throughout the U.S.
Althea has been married to her college sweetheart, Maurice, for twenty-two years and they are the proud parents of two sons. Their house is the gathering spot for friends, family, and anyone needing a place to sit still and recharge.
Having lived in several different cities, they currently call Atlanta home.
Learn more about Althea and all the services she provides at: http://althealawtonthompson.com.