Meditating is a practice recommended for everyone, but especially those of us with hectic, stressful lifestyles. Meditating is defined as an engagement in contemplation, especially of a spiritual or devotional nature used to focus the mind. It has been shown to relieve stress and promote overall good health, by simply reflecting upon our day and finding happiness within ourselves.
Our mind has varying levels of operation, known as brainwaves. As we pass through the different stages of our day, we enter various stages of brain wave activity. The brain uses this tool as one way to allow us time to rest our busy mind, and cope with all the pieces of information we’ve received, a way to kind of “mind file” for the day. Meditating can lead us into deep states of these brain waves, aiding in relaxation, higher brain function and cognitive abilities.
Modern alternative medicine and holistic healers believe in the power of the energy that flows through our bodies; this energy radiates from our mind as well. It is believed to be the chief form of transportation for our body’s nervous system to carry out communication. Breathing techniques, music, aromas, and candle therapy are all strategies of mediating we can use to reflect on our day, allowing our mind to rest and replenish itself for further use. But are these methods keeping us mentally fit? Yes! The great benefit in meditating, however, is the mind’s ability to transform itself into a vehicle for higher awareness. Meditating strengthens our minds to become aware that there is more to our being than just our physical activity. We have so much more potential locked away in our mind, resources that we never tap into until we have the chance to quiet the mind, quiet our surroundings and open the door to the possibilities we don’t examine on a day to day basis.
In a meditative state, thoughts that never have the opportunity to be heard during the bustle of the day are afforded the opportunity to come forward and be heard. Every step that we take is a step in some direction for our life. The opportunity to set our own destiny, develop our manifest of what we believe our life should be, are just some of the opportunities meditating provides. Every action we’ve ever taken started as a thought. The thought was then brought into reality by our action on that thought. So, are we able to produce new thoughts and new possibilities, in this time of quiet reflection?
It is in these small moments of creativity and higher conscious operation that our mind heals itself from the stresses of the everyday activities, and maintains a real level of healthy operation. Our mind is like our body, we don’t have to look unhealthy to be unhealthy, and sooner or later, the illnesses show.
Meditating and Meditation are not to be confused. Meditating is the action we do to achieve the state of meditation. Focusing on the breath, following a guided mediation recording, observing. flame are all things we do to bring our awareness back to when the mind wanders. Meditating is practice of focusing the mind. IT WILL WANDER!! It is designed to. The practice eventually leads to the state of meditation. This is the state that the magic happens. Sometimes it takes 30 seconds, other times you can meditate for an hour and continually bring your mind back to your focal point not quite reaching that flowing meditative state. Which is the point. Every time we catch the mind wandering and come back to our focus, it is like one rep in our set time of mediating. Sometimes we get in 5 or six reps, sometimes its more like 500 reps. At some point along the way, you realize many moments have passed and you did not have to remind yourself to keep your focus and a clarity or flow state sets in. This is meditation.
I am often told that meditating is hard, or that the mind wanders too much. Start with just 8 breaths. Breath in and out 8 times, focusing your attention on your breath. Count them. Feel the chest or belly rise and fall. If you lose count, start over. When you are able to get to 8 breaths without reminding your mind to focus, try for 12 or 16. You don't have to start by trying to meditate for 20 minutes. That is like running a 10k when you can't run around the block. It can take a little time and dedication, but I promise you it is worth it. It becomes a practice that you can come back to at any time. Even right now, come back to your breath, even if it's just one. We are always one breath away from our presence.