We all hear on the news that meditation is good for us and that meditation can reduce stress and help us be happier and become healthier. The problem is we don’t know what meditation is and more importantly how to actually do it.
Some of us feel meditation is beyond our ability and the only people who can do it are master meditators. They are the ones who are hermits and live on top of mountains or inside caves. We think that the only way to meditate is to sit for hours each day on the floor cross legged.
This may be the way to practice meditation for some, but there are easier and simpler ways to meditate. There are hundreds if not thousands of ways to meditate. Meditation for me is learning to focus, relax, become aware of my busy mind, and let go. I do these with simple breathing, body, and sense awareness meditations.
When we use our mind for work, learning, and talking, we need to remember, compare, analyze, and make judgments. Our mind needs this analytical thinking to live and survive in the world. The stress comes when we are not using the mind for a purpose, and it starts doing its own thing without awareness. Our minds are rambling in the past or future. This becomes busy, stressful, and frustrating. Through meditation, we learn to be aware of when our mind wanders and how to return to the present moment. This can bring rest, happiness, and peace.
We give great care to our bodies. When we are sick, we go to the doctor. We spend time and significant resources working to keep our youthful looks. To stay healthy, we exercise, eat properly, and get reasonable sleep each day. Our bodies require time and attention to stay healthy.
Our minds on the other hand are given very little attention. When we need our minds, we use them. When we don’t, they just keep working away. When we go to sleep, they continue to process, create, and dream. Meditation is a tool that allows the mind to take a rest.
If you have tried my simple healthy breathing exercises, you are a meditator. To do three to ten deep breaths you have to focus, be aware when your mind wanders, and bring your focus back to the breath. This brings you back to the present moment, allowing you to relax. This is simple meditation.