Wikipedia defines Meditation as a practice where an individual uses a technique – such as mindfulness, or focusing the mind on a particular object, thought, or activity – to train attention and awareness, and achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm and stable state. Scholars have found meditation difficult to define, as practices vary both between traditions and within them.
For many of us, our day is spent moving from one activity to another. We are either hurrying to meet an appointment or planning for a meeting. Phones, computers and the entire digital age tools also contribute to making it more difficult for us to detach from the world around us. Our fingers are always tapping, notifications always popping up and we keep getting distracted. Meditation helps us learn to be in the present.
Meditation is a practice that improves the mind, much like sports improves the body. The aim of meditation is to put you in better control of your mind. The mind is very powerful because as experience has shown, most actions are controlled by our state of our mind.
Meditation, depending on the type, aims to improve concentration, mindfulness, higher consciousness, etc.
The benefits of meditation include:
- developing mental discipline and willpower and can help you avoid triggers for unwanted impulses like addictions.
- reducing stress. Consistent practice teaches you to maintain calm in hectic situations thereby reducing stress.
- lessening anxiety owing to reduced stress.
- developing a stronger understanding of yourself thereby helping you grow into your best self.
- relaxing your body. A relaxed body is in a more peaceful place and can sleep easier and better. Meditation, therefore, reduces insomnia.
- improving physical health by reducing strain on the heart, helping prevent heart disease.
- checking depression and creates a more positive outlook on life.
Meditation requires commitment, time and discipline. No equipment is necessary, only a quiet place is needed. As you grow in practice, you will be able to meditate anywhere even in hectic situations. This gives you greater control over the situation. Also, like exercise, there are different types of meditation, each depending on your aim and most of them are intertwined.
- Love and Kindness Meditation also known as Metta meditation. Its goal is to cultivate an attitude of love and kindness toward everything, even a person's enemies and sources of stress.
- Mindfulness Meditation: Mindfulness is a form of meditation that urges practitioners to remain aware and present in the moment rather than dwelling on the past or dreading the future. Mindfulness encourages awareness of a person's existing surroundings. An important part of this practice is to be aware of things and events without judgment, that is, without pronouncing them either good or bad. For instance, rather than reflecting on the annoyance of a long wait, a practitioner will simply note the wait without judgment.
- Breath-awareness Meditation: The goal of this meditation is to focus only on breathing and to ignore other thoughts that enter the mind. Practitioners breathe slowly and deeply, counting their breaths or otherwise focusing on their breaths.
To enjoy the benefits of meditation, you can look up lessons on Youtube, download a meditation app or join a class/group around you. Why not start and tell us about your experience in the comment. We would love to hear from you.