There are lots of myths surrounding the unfamiliar practice of meditation. Truth is, it’s not a spiritual or religious practice, it wont give you transcendent experiences nor’ is it a form of escapism.
What Is Meditation Then?
Meditation is hands down, one of the top methods used to train the mind. By entering a passive state where the acknowledgment of thoughts are rare and short lived we are able the realize many benefits which with consistency, will become present while we go about our daily lives.
Benefits To Training Your Mind
Let’s face it, with the countless sources of stimulation we encounter from music and movies to advertisements your brain can become fogged. A constant clutter of thoughts prevent true focus and limit us severely. This is exactly what I realized during my first meditation session. My thoughts where frantic to say the least and uncontrollable.
Luckily, daily meditation works wonders to clear brain fog. Holding onto the stillness and silence from our meditation session it is reported unanimously that an increased sense of focus, creativity, compassion, stabilized emotions and awareness are felt.
More than just a mental tool, several studies have been conducted demonstrating the physical health benefits of meditation, proving that a physical alteration of brain structure takes place. The benefit which causes meditation to stand out the many among healthy life style choices is it’s affect on the quantity of grey matter present in your brain. Grey matter is the tissue containing neurons, which with age slowly subsides. This absence of grey matter is linked to the many negatives that accompany aging such as cognitive decline.
Aside from preserving your brain tissue in the long run, after just one session meditation will also serve to alleviate stress, lowering cortisol levels and encouraging a lasting calm.
5 Tips For Meditating
There is no ideal place for meditation and I recommend you find what works best for you. As you become more skilled, be creative with where you meditate, experimenting with light levels, temperature or even going outside. To start however, it helps tremendously to be in an isolated quiet area at a comfortable temperature.
While monks have been known to meditate for impossibly long times, the average person can still receive the benefits of meditation without being late for work. Ideally, you’ll want to meditate first thing in the morning for 15-25 minutes so that the increased focus stays with you throughout the entire day.
- How do I think about nothing?
The key to a successful meditation session is to aim your focus towards one thing such as your breathing and keep it there. Maintaining a single stream of thought is harder than it sounds and takes up to 3 weeks of practice to become proficient.
- Eyes open or closed?
Similarly to environment, there is no wrong answer. While it is more common and easier to keep your eyes closed as there are less distractions, successfully meditating with them open is very rewarding. If you do choose the eye open method try picking an object in front of you to look at, and then focus on what’s in your peripheral vision to fall into a meditative state.
- What to do with my body?
Unless you are trained in dynamic meditation (In motion while meditating) then the best possible position is either the full lotus or half lotus. Both feature the legs crossed with an erect posture and hands either placed on knees or on your lap. The full and half lotus methods have been used by buddhist monks since the 3rd to 6th century BC.
Co-Creator of the LongerBetterLife website