I have to admit I was always a bit sceptical about meditation. It never really entered my awareness and when it did, I just thought I’d leave it for the hippies and Buddhist monks halfway up a mountain in Tibet. I mean, what good does it really do?
Then about a year ago, a friend of mine mentioned a mobile app called Headspace. I was having a bit of a stressful time and decided to give it a go. This really is a great little app. For newbies like me it takes you through 30 days of guided meditation sessions for 10-20 minutes a day, building it up and teaching you the basics of focusing the mind.
Fast forward a year and yes, I’m still using this app. Am I any better at meditation? I’m not so sure but I do believe it’s made a really huge impact on me since I started.
Meditation has been used by Buddhist monks for centuries and for the last few decades it’s been making its way over to the western world. It seems to be a popular way to take some time out and just focus the mind on something that’s not going on around you.
It’s all about being in the present moment which sounds silly because aren’t we always living in the present moment? Well, actually no we’re not. At least our minds aren’t. How often can you say that you’re not thinking about something in the past or something that’s going to happen in the near or distant future?
Meditation gives you the chance to really be in the moment. Sitting quietly and hearing the sounds going on around you, feeling the weight of your body in the chair and noticing and feeling each breathe that you take. You are essentially connecting yourself to yourself and this really isn’t something we consciously do enough.
I’m not going to lie, it’s really really difficult to sit there and not really think about anything. Your mind is going to fight you on this. One minute in and you realise you’re thinking about what you want to have for dinner this evening or that you really must get around to fixing that door NOW. This is usually the point where people give up and decide meditation’s not for them, it doesn’t work or that they’re just crap at it so no point carrying on.
I was one of those people, still sort of am but I’ve kept at it. Just 15 minutes a day, everyday and now I’m definitely better at it. It’s given me a greater appreciation of what’s going on around me, my mind doesn’t seem to be racing around at 100mph like it used to. Both leading to a happier vibe all round.
Meditation is essentially exercise for the mind. It transforms our minds from negative to positive. There are definite scientific benefits to meditation but that will be saved for a future blog post 🙂 So… why not start today and give it a go?