Meditation is one of the greatest gifts you can give to yourself. It promotes clarity, peace of mind , and relieves stress. For some however, meditation can be stress inducing by itself. That is why most people seem to think it lacks any benefit. Quieting the mind is no easy task, but with practice it is obtainable.
My first recommendation when getting started with meditation is to not treat it as a technique. This may seem contradictory at first, but it’s very important in understanding how it helps to quiet the mind . As humans, we are compelled and drawn towards “figuring things out”. Have you ever noticed how children constantly ask why? It’s because they want to understand whatever it is they are analyzing. If you attempt to create a technique to meditate, it may hinder you. This is especially true of those with analytical minds . When you label meditation as a set in stone technique it becomes more of an obligation, rather than a state of being.
My second recommendation is to not stress over meditation . As I said before when you treat something as a technique, there is always a potential for something to go wrong. If you don’t stress over meditation and allow whatever happens to happen, you will derive far greater benefits than an individual who has a main focus of “getting it perfect”. It may seem counter intuitive, but meditation is the absence of thought. One can not reach a state of peace if the mind is constantly debating whether or not the meditation is going well.
My third recommendation has to do with setting time aside for meditation . Many people fall into the trap of scheduling meditation and making it mandatory to do at least an hour of meditating. Do not fall into this trap. Yes, Buddhist monks meditate for very long periods of time, but their environment is conducive to the goal they are attempting to achieve. Do not make meditation an obligation; otherwise you will fall into habit and routine. It becomes one more stress inducing thing that you feel you have to do, and this mindset will not be in agreement with the idea behind meditation .
My fourth recommendation is this, be creative. Meditation does not have to be in the stereotypical lotus position, eyes closed, and mantra humming style. If it works, fantastic, but if it doesn’t don’t beat yourself up. I feel meditation is whatever brings you to higher states of awareness and promotes general well being. Take drawing or art for example, that state one achieves where ideas seem to flow freely from mind to paper could be described as active meditation . Another example is meditating on nature. Sit outside one day and just focus on your environment, notice every minute detail, but don’t analyze it, just perceive it as best you can through all your senses. Again do not get caught up in the whys and hows of meditation , instead find your own way.
Meditation is what one makes of it. If it is seen as a chore, then that is what it will be. If it is seen as a chance to quiet the mind and achieve happiness, then that is what it will be. Your perception of meditation is what creates your experience. Meditation is a chance to discover oneself and become aware. Find your own path and learn through experience. The greatest pleasure we can ever have in life is knowing who we are and what we stand for.