The Art of Meditation
Have you ever considered trying meditation but found your mind wandering within the first few seconds? Maybe your thoughts roamed to dinner plans, new clothes, or the squirrel running by your window. Did you give up and decide meditation may be best left to yogis and monks living in the foothills of Tibet? It does take practice, but you can absolutely do it. I’ll let you in on a secret: meditation is incredibly beneficial for well-being. Having a consistent meditation practice may not only benefit your busy mind but your entire life as well.
There are some common misconceptions surrounding the art of mediation. Many think you must rid your mind of all thoughts and feelings to meditate the ‘right way’ or to be ‘good’ at it. In the must-read book, Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics, Jeffrey Warren explains:
“I cannot say this frequently enough: the goal is not to clear your mind but to focus your mind—for a few nanoseconds at a time—and whenever you become distracted, just start again. Getting lost and starting over is not failing at meditation: it is succeeding.”
Meditation is about learning to find focus while maintaining a non-judgmental headspace. It is natural for the mind to wander. Just like any skill, it takes time and practice. Repetition builds up your endurance, just as consistent running makes you stronger and faster. So don’t wait for the right time to start—use meditation as a tool to create more moments in your life that feel right.
Learning to focus your mind has benefits that work their way into all aspects of life. Not only does it help you combat stress and anxiety, but it also increases your ability to take a step back in any situation and approach it with a calm and open mind. You alone are benefiting when you feel more centered, and the people around you will benefit from your ability to keep emotions in check. Meditation can be incorporated into your daily life in several simple ways, even during an afternoon walk or during the workday.
What’s even better is there are countless meditation apps to help throughout your meditative path. These apps, such as Calm, Headspace or 10%happier, lead you through various meditations. I have found I enjoy using an app in my personal practice because it helps me maintain better focus when there is a voice guiding my meditation.
If the idea of meditation still feels unattainable, I challenge you to start with just one minute. A minute of focusing on your breath, a mantra, or the beauty of nature. As distractions arise, refocus and kindly bring your mind back to your meditation. That minute can slowly become five, then 10, and so on.
Here a few simple steps to set yourself up for a successful mediation session:
1. Find a comfortable spot and sitting position.
2. Begin by closing your eyes or softening your gaze.
3. Bring focus to your breath as you concentrate on inhaling and exhaling.
4. Spend a few minutes doing this, and as your mind wanders, gently bring it back to focus on your breath.
This is the simplest and most accessible form of meditation. It can be done anywhere!
Meditation is a valuable tool that helps create a balanced life. You will learn more about yourself and improve your ability to show up in the world. Watch your emotional health skyrocket as stress and anxiety slowly diminish when you deepen your practice.
Photo by Dane Wetton
Looking for more wellness tips? We’ve got more where this came from.