Silence; absolute, uninterrupted, completely focused silence.
For some, silence can be a terrifying. For others, it’s pure bliss. Silencing your mind to focus on one thing is essentially the goal of meditation. In our busy lives, most people can’t imagine actually sitting still for longer for than a few seconds, much less sitting still and doing absolutely nothing for an extended period of time.
We forget how important it is to take a moment to center our thoughts recharge. Meditation has been used for that and many other purposes for thousands of years, and there’s a good reason why this practice still hasn’t gone out of style.
Recent studies show that meditation helps you to become better focused, relieve stress and anxiety, come to new forms of self-realization and create better emotional stability, aid in sleep, as well as increase memory and creativity.
Even though there are multiple benefits, meditation can seem a bit intimidating for beginners. Of course it doesn’t have to be like what you see in the on TV: sitting cross-legged on the edge of a cliff, in front of a sunset chanting an endless stream of “ohms” while you wait for a divine revelation to hit you. However cool that sounds, you can go a much simpler route.
Meditation is a very personal experience, so the way you practice meditating may be different from others. Find what is comfortable for you; sitting, standing, morning, night, music, silence, lights on or off – go with what feels best to you.
If you are inexperienced, flipping your mind into a state of ’emptiness’ might not come naturally. The best way to get started is to think blank thoughts. It may sound strange, but focusing on a clear mind will in fact, help you clear your mind. Visualize a blank sheet of paper, a dark room or just pay close attention to your breathing. When I say visualize I mean really pay attention to the details of your…nothingness. How does it sound when your chest expands and you bring the cool air into your body? Notice how the air that you blow back out is a bit warmer, and how your nostrils might flair a bit. Keep your mind on these thoughts and if you notice that you’ve started to get distracted, bring your thoughts back to it.
Don’t get frustrated on your first try if you don’t feel like you can get it. Set realistic goals for yourself – it’s more than likely that you won’t be able to sit for hours with a clear mind. Start with a couple minutes and work your way up. Two minutes may not seem like long enough to meditate on anything, but you will be surprised how quickly your mind starts to wander to your grocery list, what you have to do for the day or that assignment you still haven’t started on for work.