You have probably all heard something about the benefits of meditation. It seems to be the only thing everyone can agree on right now. Meditation has forever been a part of religious practice, but is now taking root in science and medicine, and finding its way into many different walks of life. It can bring about clarity and peace, aid sleep, relieve pain, reduce symptoms of mental illness and stress, and improve cognitive functioning. Meditation is a way to quiet the mind, whilst also filling the heart.
Assuming that these benefits appeal to you somewhat, all that is left for you is to learn how to meditate. Ultimately, everything you truly know about meditation will come from your experiences when you practice. For now though you will need a way to access this state. Here is a simple step-by-step meditation guide that you can use right now, irregardless of your beliefs or culture:
Expert practitioners are able to meditate in the middle of a dual carriage way if they want to. For now it is recommended that you find a space that you deem suitable. This could be in your house, garden, or somewhere outside, but you should feel relaxed in the space. You should pick a time when you are likely to remain undisturbed, so that your mind can be sure that this experience is for you.
When you have chosen a space you can make it your own if you please. You could dim the lights, and light candles and incense if you are into that sort of thing. Sit in a comfortable position, ready to begin your meditation. Ancient practice puts emphasis on posture, for reasons of alignment, but for now you can sit or lie down, just how you please.
Feel Your Body
This is one of the most important parts of the meditation. You should begin to feel your body by becoming aware of it. You can do this by tensing each part of your body gently, and then relaxing. Begin with your toes individually, and then tense your whole foot. Work around your other foot, and then move onto your legs, each time tensing and then relaxing more deeply. Do this slowly and mindfully around your whole body.
This exercise helps you to meditate whilst recognizing and remaining rooted in your physical body. As you work around you are also relaxing all of your muscles, releasing tension that you didn’t even know you had. A relaxed body makes for a relaxed mind.
Focus On Your Breathing
Soft focus on the breath is one of the most fundamental meditation techniques, and it really does hold the key to the door. Become aware of your breath as it is now. Feel the rise and fall of your chest, and the air circulating into your lungs and around your body. The breath is the connecting force between you and the world; it is literally life.
Your focus on your breathing will still your thoughts. Whenever you feel distracted, by a thought or a noise, simply return your awareness gently back to your breath. (You don’t have to “stop thinking” or beat yourself up for a thought. Your mind will become still over time and with practice.) As your mind gradually becomes still your breath will deepen, and peace will perpetuate within you.
Breath in, and then breath out again. In, and out. The simple act of focusing on your breath will quickly envelope you in a powerful sense of peace. Sit in this peace for as little or as long as you feel is right. You should get a sense that you are filling up, like you are recharging. When you are fully recharged, you may drift naturally back towards your everyday consciousness.
Ground And Thank Yourself
Whenever the time feels right you can come back. The peace will come with you. Meditation does feel like a journey in some way; even though you do not physically go anywhere you may feel like you have traveled on an inner journey. You may also feel refreshed, and sometimes even reborn. Upon return you should thank yourself (and your preferred higher source of you have one) for the experience.
Then you should come back to your body and ground yourself. There are lots of fun ways to do this; you could jump up and down, eat a healthy snack, go for a walk, or bury your noise in some fresh earth. What is important is that you rekindle your connection with the world you inhabit and your body. This helps to Earth the sense of peace, helping you to carry it over into everyday life.