A beginner's guide to meditation
Maybe you've heard about it's health benefits or seen a segment on the news enthusing about the difference it can make to you life.
Or, on the other end of the spectrum, you might be someone who thinks of it as complete bulls*** and imagines some bloke sitting cross-legged chanting "om".
I haven't written this post to convert any non-believers, rather to explain the reasoning behind something I do every day that can often be misunderstood.
What is it?
I like to think of meditation at its core as a way of taking some time out every so often to relax your mind and body in order to de-stress, heal, discover and take pressure off yourself both physically and mentally. Meditation has many 'sub-genres' if you will (haha, always taking it back to music) and some of these you may have heard of include mindfulness, transcendental and chakra meditation. It is an art form, believe it or not, which improves with regular practise. It is very difficult at first to have the motivation to keep your mind quiet and body still for longer than a couple of minutes, and It's natural to hate it at first. I think this is one of the main reasons some people discount it as a worthy use of their time.
What are the benefits?
Although research states that meditation has a positive impact on mental and some aspects of physical health, scientists are still unaware of the true benefits it holds. Regular practisers of meditation will each have their own theories based on how it makes them feel. I personally believe that regular stress contributes to a number of health problems, and whether it scientifically helps my body or not, it can only be good to relax every once in a while.
Why do people do it?
I believe that meditation is something that is either a tradition in your culture, something you take up as part of a health kick or something you find when you are in need.
I meditate because my mood and anxiety levels are constantly fluctuating and it provides me with the opportunity to make my brain somewhat predictable and hopefully one day balanced. I also meditate to relieve pain and fatigue.
Some people say that the rise in popularity of mindfulness is an indicator that our digital, smart device-lead lives are making us depressed. Ignoring the fact that meditation has been popular (though perhaps not in the 'mainstream) for centuries, I like to believe that it is instead an indicator of the increased education and awareness of wellbeing we are all developing as the human race continues to evolve.
Do you have to be religious or spiritual?
Depending on whether you are any of those or none at all, there are different types of meditation for everyone. Chakra meditation, for example, often treats the earth and everything in it as different forms of energy. Mindfulness focuses on the reality of here and now.
How do you get into it?
Although there are many local meditation clubs popping up, my best advice would be to search guided meditation on YouTube and choose a video that takes your fancy. If you already attend yoga classes, there are principals you've learnt there which will give you a head start. If you enjoy it, you might then decide to spend your money on it!
Should I do it?
It doesn't matter. Just have fun and do whatever makes you happy!!!!!!