Meditation and Mindfulness are starting to gain a great deal of recognition in the world of science as positive practices, which can increase ones health, particularly emotional health.
When people think about meditation they are likely to imagine a guru sitting quietly, legs crossed atop a mountain in a peaceful location. This would be great, but how does that situation relate to us in the real world and how can anyone practice mediation with any kind of frequency, when this type of situation just isn’t accessible for many of us. The answer is in the definition of meditation itself.
Meditation does not need to be defined in such a linear fashion, particularly the actual practice itself. Once my Father told me of a guy he knew, who often took his small boat out on the river in the evening to have a few beers. He would cast a fishing line into the river while he had a few drinks alone. The thing is, he didn’t actually ever attach any bait or lure to his fishing line, as catching fish simply wasn’t the point. The point was having some time alone to relax, reflect and just find some peace. Now this example is a poor example in a way, as I don’t agree with sitting around drinking for the sake of drinking, especially if it is in excess, however it does illustrate the point I am trying to make. Meditation can be practiced on our terms, in our own way as long as we find the kind of peace we desire through our specific version of the practice.
Another example from my life is my own version of meditation. On my days off I often head out into nature with the intention of hiking to a point where I can sit alone, with a nice view to have some lunch. I will walk until I find the right spot and then I simply sit, eat my lunch and soak it all in. This has a calming effect on me and allows me to not only experience a sense of peace but also reflect on life and the universe I live in. Now if you watched me doing this from the outside, you would simply see a guy sitting alone, eating, starring into space, but for me this is my moment.
Meditation can have a very positive effect on our emotional state and sense of being. With consistent practice you will almost certainly experience the numerous benefits of meditation, which can enrich and bring balance to your life.
Here are some ideas on how you can find your place and your moment and discover what your version of meditation is.
We are all so different, as are our circumstances and our immediate environments, so it is important to work with what you have, where you have it, in the moment that exists.
The meditative practice must align with who you believe yourself to be. This is why sitting silently with your legs crossed in a quiet room doesn’t work for everyone because it simply isn’t aligned with who they are. So the practice must match your identity to an extent.
Find a place free of imposing distractions. What do I mean by this? The place you choose to practice should be one in which you have no responsibility and the likelihood of being engaged by someone or something is minimal. I often have a meditative moment when I am having a coffee, even with people around and a lot of noise. Once I have ordered, I sit peacefully sipping away knowing that the chance of someone talking to me or interrupting the moment directly, is highly unlikely. This point means trying to meditate with kids around or at work would be very difficult.
Do try to make your practice a healthy one. If it’s a glass of wine on a Friday evening, in front of the fire outside, with a blanket around you, that’s fine, but don’t sit there drinking a whole bottle, as it kind of defeats the idea of a healthy practice.
Practice as often as possible even if it is only once a week and make each practice last for at least 10 minutes.
If it feels forced then it may not be the right practice for you. If you try to meditate in your own way but it doesn’t feel right, then try a different way, a new location or another approach.
Think about your life right now, have you been practicing meditation already but simply haven’t labeled the moment or really identified how it has been helping you. You may find that you have already been having your moment and now need to ensure it continues on a consistent basis.
During your practice do no force thoughts or emotions, simply let them come, breathe calmly, allow your muscles to relax, feel the subtleties of the environment around you through your senses and find that stillness that only exists in such a state.
Be creative, remember meditation can come in many forms, so don’t avoid the practice because you feel confined by the preconceived idea of meditative practice.