Taking a moment to take a step back from your busy schedule to sit down without having anything other to do then to simply be with yourself for ten, fifteen, twenty, thirty or more minutes each day, with your eyes closed, is something many of us struggle with. The very idea of sitting alone, being with your thoughts is strangely frightening for some. The quest for knowing oneself can seem daunting and so many of us will prefer to stay far away from the process of introspection and self-exploration through avoidance by constantly keeping ourselves busy.
I often hear people say that they cannot meditate. That this is not for them or that they tried but it didn’t work, or that they cannot empty their mind from thoughts. Clearly, many seem to have some misconceived understanding of what meditation is. For one: meditation is not about emptying one’s mind of thoughts. It doesn’t work that way. The natural state of the mind is to have thoughts. Therefore you will always experience thoughts coming and going through your mind. It is the frequency and quality of thoughts that will vary and sometimes you might have experiences of being thought free, even though that is not the goal. Becoming aware of thoughts without judging them is what meditation is.
Everyone can meditate because it is something natural within each of us. It is something that you deliberately tap into and practice. It will not just happen to you and nothing negative can happen as a result of practising meditation. It cannot trigger anything emotional within oneself if it is not already there to begin with. The benefits of regular daily meditation are numerous and many studies have shown how it reduces stress, improves concentration, encourages a healthy lifestyle, increases happiness, slows ageing, increases self-awareness and has many physiological advantages for the heart, the immune system and our overall hormones responsible for our mood and quality of thoughts.
The more one meditates the better quality of life one experiences. There are many ways of initiating oneself to meditate. Some will repeat a sound, or a word silently in their mind; others will count from to 1 to 6 on each inhale and exhale; others will listen to music or a melody in the background or focus their attention on specific sounds whether birds chirping, or the sound of their breath as a point of focus to help attain a deeper level where none of these techniques are even required. These are only various strategies to get you started, even guided meditations.
Whether you are struggling from various stresses, have reached burnout, or are experiencing anxieties or depression or some trauma, then meditation will be very helpful when combined with cognitive behavioural therapy. In fact, yoga is a wonderful practice to discover and is a great mind and body re-connector.