Meditation does not mean what most people think it means. Our impression of meditation is that it looks and feels foreign, perhaps even exotic. When most people think of meditation, images of Buddhist monks come to mind. It’s logical. While in the East, meditation has been practiced for centuries, the West has a bit of catching up to do. It’s still very new to us.
Our ideas of meditation aren’t just naïve, but also erroneous. Meditation isn’t sitting cross-legged wrapped in saffron or white fabrics, incense burning, and chanting or sitting motionless for hours. Meditation can be done in the comfort of your own home, even at the office.
Optimistic attitudes and healthier lifestyles have been achieved in five to ten minutes per day. Adding meditation to your routine isn’t just beneficial, it’s life-changing and life-saving.
Practice meditation by being mindful
There are simple ways to incorporate meditation into your regular schedule without having to go full force. Being mindful means paying attention to everything. Meditation is observation and can be found everywhere and in everything
Take the time to observe
The act of close observation is a style of meditation. By adding mindfulness to the day, we become more aware of what we do and how we do it. We are more conscious of how thoughts and products affect us. Meditation is taking the time to observe. And it starts with the breath.
Observe the breath
Literally, just observe the breath going in and out of your body. Notice how it fills your lungs. Notice how it animates your body without much effort. Feel how deep breathing relaxes your mind and body simultaneously. Feel how still you become with a few deep inhalations and slow, steady exhalations. Breathing builds mental stamina and reduces stress. For most, breathing is an introduction to other types of meditation.
Pay attention to how to do things, even down to the smallest details. Focus on how the toothbrush feels on your teeth, how the shower feels on your skin, and how your clothes feel as you slide them on your body. Getting ready for work is a perfect moment to be present with yourself. Just the act of being more present is meditation in motion.
Doing something as simple as drinking a cup of coffee or tea can be turned into a moment of meditation. Notice the colors and absorb the aromas. How does it feel as it hits your tongue and goes down your throat? And how do you feel upon drinking it? Small observations are acts of meditation.
- Even walking can be turned into a moment of mindfulness. Be totally present, study how your feet touch the ground, how your knees bend and muscles flex in order to propel you forward. Notice how you don’t even have to command your body to walk, it just sort of does it automatically. Being in awe of the human body is meditation in and of itself.
Shutdown the computer and listen to the sounds of your environment. Remove distractions and observe all sounds, even white noise. Sit still, even if the space is noisy, notice how your ears react to the sound. What sounds are more prominent and which are hidden behind other sounds? How do you react to these sounds?
Make it routine
Facilitate the practice just before getting out of bed in the morning or at the close of the day. It’s a way to seamlessly add meditation to our lives without rearranging our schedules too much. People have even reported receiving the benefits of mediation on their way to work, at the office, or during lunch breaks.
Cross-legged seated or lotus positions are favored. When it comes to this position, terms like chakras, sacred geometry, and the tree of life are conjured. Without delving too deep, just know that this position conjures heightened awareness and activates energy sources that exist within our very bodies. The most important element is to maintain a straight spine. Whether prostrate or sitting up, try to keep the spine in alignment, meaning the head in line with the entire spine all the way down to the tailbone. Thus, besides sitting in a cross-legged position, you could be laying doing, standing up, or sitting on a chair.
Closed eyes is ideal, but it’s not necessary. While some swear by this method, there is no rule that says you must close your eyes in order to meditate. Others favor gazing at the third eye or the tip of the nose. The reason relates to going inward, ignoring the physical world, and getting in touch with our true selves. It’s also about stimulating the pituitary gland which has been connected to enlightenment.
Tones, sounds, and music are recommended, but not mandatory. For those who are new, a few guided meditation sessions can help build a practice from zero knowledge. Tibetan singing bowls, Hz frequencies, binaural beats, and even nature sounds assist in reaching peaceful states. Some even prefer silence. A dark room is suggested, but not necessary. For beginners, calm spaces are more conducive to reaching a steady mental state. Meditation can really be done anywhere.