Check On It
The Power of Meditation
It’s safe to say that over the past 60 days, the amount of work and activities I’ve packed into my schedule have almost tripled. New client projects, an entrepreneur’s business class, and LIFE has me wondering at times which way is up. Don’t get me wrong, I realize how very blessed I am and appreciate each and every opportunity the Creator has placed in my path, but the only way that I can really get the most out of each day is to be still. Yes, I said it. Be. Still.
Instead of jumping out the bed to reach for my Blackberry or rush off to the shower, I’ve committed to starting my days in silence. Just me and the Creator, spending quality time before I go out into the world. It’s time for me to think about the type of day I want to have and the type of energy I’ll project. What do I want to accomplish? How am I going to make this new day better than the last? It’s the art of meditation: focusing 100% of your attention in one area. The practice comes with a myriad of health benefits including increased concentration, decreased anxiety, and a general feeling of happiness. I’ve not yet perfected it (Lord knows I have one of the busiest minds EVER), but with a little bit of discipline, I’m on the right path.
That said, following are 10 easy-to-implement tips from zenhabits.net on how to make the power of meditation work for you. Take notes!
1. Make it a formal practice. You will only get to the next level in meditation by setting aside specific time (preferably two times a day) to be still.
2. Start with the breath. Breathing deep slows the heart rate, relaxes the muscles, focuses the mind and is an ideal way to begin practice.
3. Stretch first. Stretching loosens the muscles and tendons allowing you to sit (or lie) more comfortably. Additionally, stretching starts the process of “going inward” and brings added attention to the body.
4. Meditate with Purpose. Beginners must understand that meditation is an ACTIVE process. The art of focusing your attention to a single point is hard work, and you have to be purposefully engaged!
5. Notice frustration creep up on you. This is very common for beginners as we think “hey, what am I doing here” or “why can’t I just quiet my damn mind already”. When this happens, really focus in on your breath and let the frustrated feelings go.
6. Experiment. Although many of us think of effective meditation as a Yogi sitting cross-legged beneath a Bonzi tree, beginners should be more experimental and try different types of meditation. Try sitting, lying, eyes open, eyes closed, etc.
7. Feel your body parts. A great practice for beginning meditators is to take notice of the body when a meditative state starts to take hold. Once the mind quiets, put all your attention to the feet and then slowly move your way up the body (include your internal organs). This is very healthy and an indicator that you are on the right path.
8. Pick a specific room in your home to meditate. Make sure it is not the same room where you do work, exercise, or sleep. Place candles in the room to help you feel at ease.
9. Read a book (or two) on meditation. Preferably an instructional guide AND one that describes the benefits of deep meditative states. This will get you motivated. * I hear John Kabat-Zinn’s Wherever You Go, There You Are is a good one for beginners.
10. Commit for the long haul. Meditation is a life-long practice, and you will benefit most by NOT examining the results of your daily practice. Just do the best you can every day, and then let it GO!