Day 9 - Meditation
Thank you for all your input so far. Day 9 is all about creating your life by design. Meditation is a daily habit which totally transformed my life.
So let me talk about the importance and benefits of meditation today.
“Quiet the mind,
and the soul will speak.”
- Ma Jaya Sati Bhagavati
Last night after I tucked myself into bed, being ready for a nice refreshing sleep, my busy mind just didn’t want to keep quiet. Sleep, as we all know, is absolutely vital for bodily repair, cognitive function, and general all-round health. Unfortunately, quite often our lives get filled up with relatively unimportant things, and it is difficult to find quality time for ourselves. The only moment we get to think things over is right at the very end of the day when we are already in bed. This is when our subconscious mind seizes the opportunity just before we go to sleep to get us to think about what really matters to us. Don’t get me wrong, that is actually a very good thing, but it is definitely not the most convenient time to do it.
Meditation is a great technique to quiet our mind and reach a higher level of awareness and inner calm. You might find it surprising to learn that we can meditate anywhere and at any time, allowing ourselves to access a sense of tranquillity and peace no matter what’s going on around us.
Meditation can also help us understand our own mind.
We can learn how to transform our thoughts from negative to positive, from disturbed to peaceful, from unhappy to happy.
We all live very demanding lives, and with that, most of us feel stressed and over-worked. What’s more, we very often find that there is not enough time in the day to get everything done. Our stress and tiredness lead us to feel unhappy, impatient, and frustrated. It can even affect our health. This is why meditation is so important! A simple fifteen-twenty minute breathing exercise can help us overcome our stress and find some inner peace and balance.
So how does it work? First of all, we need to find a comfortable and quiet place to sit. The more peaceful the environment, the easier the practice. Some people like to lie down while meditating, I personally prefer sitting up. Our clothes must be comfortable during the exercise – there is nothing worse than feeling physically unpleasant by wearing tight or restrictive clothing. The next step is to turn off all electronic devices to avoid any external distractions. If you want to listen to music, make sure you choose calm and gentle tunes, so it does not break your concentration.
I usually set the alarm for twenty minutes, and after finding a comfortable position, my practice begins.
Traditionally, meditation is carried out by sitting on a cushion on the ground, in a lotus or half-lotus position, while our back is unsupported.
During our practice, we clear our mind and pay attention to the rising and falling of our abdomen as we breathe in and out. Please note that we don’t need to make a conscious effort to change our breathing patterns, we just breathe normally. Very often we find that our mind gets distracted into going along with sounds, sensations, and thoughts. Whenever that happens, all we need to do is to gently recognize that we have been distracted, and bring the attention back to our breathing.
While meditating, we can also repeat a mantra, focus on one object, practise visualisation, or even do yoga. Some people prefer guided meditation that literally walks you through the exercise step by step and helps you find a calm and peaceful state.
Last year, I visited Bali, and I was so fortunate to practise yoga and meditation every day for almost three weeks. That is where I first heard about walking meditation.
In this particular form of the practice, we use the experience of walking as our focus. We notice how the body feels in great detail as we walk. We feel the entire foot, being aware of how it moves as the heel is placed on the ground, and then how the movement rolls to the ball of the foot and toes. Then our attention goes to how it feels as the foot is lifted and moves forward. There are, of course, a number of different walking meditations, but the above-mentioned one was my favourite of all.
Have you ever been to a yoga & meditation camp or done a silent retreat? I try to do at least one every year. These retreats are amazing; they are great for finding peace and spiritual renewal. I’m planning to organise some fantastic retreats in the near future so look out for the updates on my website.
We can also practice mindfulness during our daily activities, while eating, walking, and talking.
Mindful eating is basically approaching food in a focused way, thinking about the ingredients, where they come from, how they smell, examining how they taste, and how they move on our tongue. During mindful eating, we fully experience and enjoy all the flavours and we find the meals highly satisfying, simply because we are completely present with the food.
Practice mindfulness every day, and you’ll soon feel calmer and more focused in your life.
When you notice that some of your habits don’t serve you, change them. This is your time, your time is now! Remember what Albert Einstein once said: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” They often say it takes 21 days to form a habit. But remember doing something or not doing it can also be a habit in your life. Make sure you pick the right ones that will serve you along the way.
CALL TO ACTION:
BUILD MEDITATION INTO YOUR DAILY ROUTINE. START WITH A 5 MINUTE SESSION THEN INCREASE YOUR MINDFULNESS PRACTICE TO 20 MINUTES A DAY.