How to Meditate, and Why It's Important
Adding some meditation to your daily routine, not only alleviates stress, which is the leader in health related issues, but it comes with many other perks! It enhances awareness, creativity, patience, focus, self empowerment, loss of fear, and the list goes on... Often those who are unfamiliar with the practice, see it as a useless activity with no benefits, where you just leave your mind blank. But as the saying goes, don't knock it until you try it(except for drugs, just stay away from those). And if you're going to try something, make sure you're doing it correctly!
So lets make sure we're on the same page before we get started!
What is Meditation?
Meditation is the practice of connecting with your body's energy through it's nervous system, by mentally tuning into the body's senses. This is mostly practiced by starting with the sense of touch, and strengthening the sensory & motor nerve fibers to collect more data.
Such data that is in the form of matter, or 'energy', that is seen and felt throughout the universe. Let's take air for example. Air is an extremely light density of energy, but can be easily felt when maneuvered in a wind-forced velocity. With meditation, you can tune your senses into the air without any velocity, and feel that matter as another extension of your own body. After all, we're all made of matter(or energy), which means everything is connected.
How to properly meditate on the other hand, is not an exact formula a science professor can throw into a text book. It's more of a secret doorway to the mind, that only you have the key for, and finding that key is the only uphill part of the journey. Once you find it, it's like you're awakening another body you didn't realize you had access to, and then it's all downhill from there.
Great entrepreneurs & CEO's like Tony Robbins, and Steve Jobs have stood by routined meditation as a weapon to their self growth. Successful celebrities such as Hugh Jackman, Jennifer Aniston, Clint Eastwood, Paul McCartney, Kobe Bryant, Jerry Seinfeld, Keanu Reeves, Oprah Winfrey, Ellen DeGeneres, and many others all meditate at least once daily, and believe it shouldn't be skipped..
So if you are one of those who truly believes meditation is silly, then you might as well leave this article, because you must be willing to open your mind... not keep it closed..
Place Yourself in the Right Environment
You can assume being in the middle of a city street with thousands of foot steps around you, car horns sounding off, subway stations echoing brake noises, and people yelling at one another, probably isn't the best place to start your meditation practice.
Putting yourself in a quiet, relaxing environment is important if you're a beginner. You already need to clear distraction of your work and personal affairs, so adding the elimination of noise, would only make things more difficult.
The easiest approach is to be in a quiet room, with the lights dimmed to remove visual distraction. If you can't get complete silence due to living location, try downloading some environmental sounds from iTunes, so your ears have something consistent & soothing.
Adding aromatherapy to the environment, can also increase relaxation, and aid calming the body's senses. Oil, or incense burners are great tools in making this happen in your meditation zone.
This Meditation Monk Incense Burner for example, is a perfect addition to your meditation room. You simply use incense cones to extract natural oils such as lavender, jasmine, sakura, or many others. Science vouches that cone incense fragrance activates the ions in the brain, which reduces stress, anxiety, depression, and helps improve your sleep & mood. Get your own incense burner Here.
I know this one goes hand in hand with your environment, but getting your body comfortable is a must. Wearing lightweight, soft clothing can aid your mind in forgetting that you're being weighed down. Something that doesn't cause itching, or sweat buildup is the ideal material that you'll want to wear.
Click Here to see an ideal meditation wear.
Focus on Your Center(Solar Plexus)
Before you focus on the breathing pattern, first focus on the feeling of your solar plexus(or celiac plexus). It is the balance point above the abdomen, which acts as your body's energy generator. While standing(without locking your knees), close your eyes, and focus on the feeling of that stomach surface area, until you have it locked it.
Place your hands over your stomach(about an inch away from contact), to get your sense of touch fine tuned. The heat(or kinetic energy) from your hands will aid that sense, and generate a warm, dense form of energy building between your hands, and your abdominal area.
Mentally focus on the area between your hands, and your stomach. Not on the skin surface of either, but instead on the space in between.
I know that sounds like common sense, I mean, we all need oxygen to live. But how often does one think about it's crucial effect on the brain, muscles, and blood? Most importantly, breathing in air, is breathing in energy. Focusing on proper air circulation should never be left unchecked. While focusing on your solar plexus with previous step, lets begin focusing on the breathing pattern for proper meditation.
With long, slow, and deep breaths, execute 15 second inhale intervals. While inhaling, mentally visualize your stomach as the container for your lungs, and your inhales are directly being pulled into them. To make things easy, picture a balloon inside your stomach, that's slowly expanding while the inhale is taking place.
During the exhale, imagine that same balloon deflating, but now the air is slowly moving up your spine, and out the top of your head. Repeat this step about 20 more times.. You may feel your body tingle, ears picking up sounds of frequencies, or possibly feel as if your whole body is one giant lung. These feelings are completely normal, and signals that you're on the right track of your meditation journey!
You read that correctly, you'll need to let go! Let go of your worries, your fears, regrets, work, family, friends, money, everything... Let go of all the distractions you're holding onto, and put yourself in a place where none of that exists. This is the time where you need to shift your emotions outside of your body, and feel the air & grounds around you as extensions of yourself.
You may have heard of this as 'oneness', or 'becoming one with everything'. It's by far the most uplifting, breathtaking, and awakening experience. It's liberating to broaden your physical spectrum, beyond the layers of your skin & bones, and that is when you feel the most free.
You'll feel like you've just dipped your body into this pool of energy, which is true, because you have. It recharged your mind & body like a battery. This is what makes meditating so important, as you always need to recharge, and sleep isn't always the most effective way.
There are numerous types of meditations, and what we just went over is only 1 of them, but a very basic one at that. We will cover many more to come, including ways to incorporate meditation into yoga.
I myself have been a practitioner in this field for 10+ years, and from experience I can say that words can't describe the feeling of awakening your senses to a whole new body you never knew existed. So until next time, farewell & Nameste <3
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