When I suggest to people to practice Meditation as a form of stress management to better cope with life, I often receive some interesting responses ranging from full acceptance, already curious and trying, skepticism, to resistance and fear. Comments range from “I can’t, I tried it, I failed, my mind won’t shut off, it’s boring, I don’t have time to sit still, I have my own rituals and it’s not part of my religion”. Certainly many religions incorporate some form of meditation practices, making Meditation part of your daily routine can have benefits. Where you sit on the scale with often depend on your experience with Meditation and finding the techniques that work for you.
Daily living can produce many stress reactions that lead us to feel off-balanced, overwhelmed, anxious, withdrawn, confused, lonely, hurt and angry, disconnected from self, overly focused, distracted and down. Incorporating some meditation techniques can help you to cope with the stress of daily living and move towards positive experiences. Benefits of Meditation allow you to; quiet the mind, shut off the busy chatter, provide clarity in your thoughts, improve focus, empty the mind, lessen stress reactions, reduce body pain, improve healing time, build awareness, enhance vibrancy, make you smile, encourage good health, create happy feelings, promote relaxation, increase connection to self, beat a joyful heart, and build awareness.
Meditation is a practice that allows you to build awareness or consciousness. Meditation helps you to connect: to your Self – inner, outer and higher, control the Mind – its thoughts and attitudes, strengthen the Body – its function, conditions and enhance movement, embrace Feelings – range of emotions from fear to love and bliss, energize the Spirit –to inspire and motivate you. The radar of sensations is sharpened so that the benefits can be received and experienced throughout the whole of you to feel awakened and alive.
The way I see it, meditation is a broad term that umbrellas several theories, methods, and approaches. “To Meditate” involves being able to be ‘Still’ within the body, in the mind, connected to the heart, and aware of your feelings, in tune with your sensations, and in sync with your spirit, and to express via actions. WOW that’s a lot. Yes. Blending all these elements together is how we already experience life every day and in every minute, either consciously or without awareness. By incorporating conscious meditation techniques, practices, and routines we can bring harmony to how our Mind, Body, Heart, Feelings and Spirit inter-relate and experience life around us and within us. In a connected state they can function with ease and support you to create a whole and balanced life cycle of positive experiences.
The purpose of meditation is to be able to enjoy the sensation of Oneness between Mind, Body, Heart, Feelings, and Spirit. The outcome is to find the stillness where you can experience with all your senses, peace, love, unity, relaxation, love, bliss, balance, acceptance, trust, calmness and happiness. Meditation as a practice is creating a pathway to this state of being.
There are many pathways you can choose to help you build consciousness in the Mind, Body, Heart, Feelings, and Spirit to create this state of peace. Finding the techniques that work best for you involves trial and lots of practice. Meditation can be formal with a structure like it is within many yoga practices and religious groups. Meditation can also be informal, relaxed and free flowing within the aspects of the day. Without realizing it, you are probably following some form of meditation practice either with or without some form of conscious awareness, structure or formal process. You may be mediating with intention, or not, but you can still feel the benefits. Either way, at the end of any experience, you should feel relaxed, at ease and a sense of calm and peace.
To most, our image of meditation is to sit cross legged on the floor, hands on knees eyes closed, chanting “OHMM”, for hours. This is but one technique; a traditional formal, yoga practice. Meditating can also be this: Flipping through a magazine and day dreaming about wearing that beautiful dress, eating great tasting fresh fruit, as you sit in your beautifully decorated home staring out at the natural vista outside your window, smelling the flowers and trees, on a warm summer breeze.
For those minutes that you stare at that picture you can feel the smile on your face, feel your skin warm, your heart beat slows down, the worries release from your chest and your mind slow down, and you can focus on the bird on the ledge. Day dreaming is an informal meditation technique. The affects have brought you the same benefits as a formal meditation and the senses of release, peace, calmness, and lightness are the same.
Whatever method, approach or technique you try and follow, know that you affect not just one part but all parts of your Mind, Body, Heart, Feeling, and Spirit state. No matter how small the practice, time limit given to it, or degree of complexity, you can do it and you will receive benefits. You just have to start – Meditating.