Meditation and the joy in every moment
By: Ben Rogers, Edited by: Amy Osborne
Meditation has been described as “no mind” or “not thinking.” It is a stilling of the mind for a sustained period of time.
Mastering meditation can sometimes feel like coming home. You feel as if you have simple rediscovered something that has always been there. The door into tranquility that you know has already been within you is now opened.
For example, if you work in an office, are a musician, painter or another creative field, you likely know that in the midst of creation you are not thinking – but the work is simply flowing through you. Allowing this to happen is quite a challenge, which is why meditating and sitting down before work can be very helpful.
Your mind does not like to be switched off, it will constantly interrupt your meditation, demanding your attention.
Somewhere within each of our minds there is a sanctuary away from the noise and disruption of our own busy thought process. Meditation is about calming that chatter of your mind and rediscovering the calm and still space within yourself.
Breathing and meditation
Don’t forget to breath, that sounds very obvious, but it is a natural instinct for some people to hold their breath when concentrating. Don’t gasp for air, as you get into your meditation your breathing should become more gentle and rhythmic.
Posture for meditations
First imagine the top of your head is being pulled towards the top of the ceiling by an invisible string, so it feels as if your head is floating above your spine. Your chin is slightly lifted, perpendicular with the floor, to open and expand the heart and throat centers.
Relax your shoulders, drawing them back and down, and gently ease your chest (heart center) forward.
Focus and meditations
When you are ready, close your eyes and focus on your breathing, as it comes in and out through each nostril; this is one possible point of focus. This is where your attention can stay. Take several deep breaths and allow your diaphragm to lift, expanding the belly with each full inhalation. Three count inhalation, three count exhalation.
General tips for meditation
- Don’t think about the past or future – you are participating in the present moment
- Don’t strain, just breath
- Don’t have expectations – It may be amazing or just difficult the first, third, and thirty-fifth time you meditate. The practice is simply being with any experience that might arise.
- Don’t be disappointed – the benefits of meditation come with regular practice and persistence
Exercises for joy on the go
Whether you walking across your living room or across town, consciously slow your footsteps and pay attention to each sensation in your heel, the ball of your foot and then your toes when they make contact with the ground. (Walking Meditation) Notice how this simple practice relaxes your stride and your breath as your attention settles into the fullness of your present moment awareness as you go along with your day.
Observe your thoughts as you walk. What are you thinking about? Can you see a tree, person or car go past without internally labeling it? Practice moving though your surroundings without attaching thoughts, stories or judgments on what you see.
Exercise your heart (cardiac/circulatory system) whether it is bicycle riding, skating or dancing. Find an aerobic activity that brings you pleasure and you can joyfully commit to for half an hour or more during the day.
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could skip past the pain and fast forward to the bliss? The truth is to experience true contentment, we must be willing to feel all of our emotions, from despair to sadness. Our willingness to accept the moment, acknowledge the emotion and be willing to let that go is to find true peace.
Meditation is a tool that teaches us to meet ourselves (and others) where we are, and to be with whatever thoughts and feelings arise without attachment or judgement.
While the practice of meditation is profound, it is also quite simple to learn. There are many types of meditation, from walking meditation, contemplative writing, chanting or focusing on objects. But all forms of meditation begin with getting still and quite inside.
Join Amy for Meditation 101 at North Port Yoga to learn six methods of meditation to kick start your personal practice. firstname.lastname@example.org / www.northportyoga.org