Meditation As a Destination
I described one easy way to begin to meditate in my article Steps To Meditate which is on my website, www.mdouglasevanstherapy.com
Meditation is a simple process, but is challenging in many respects for people new to it.
People will often say they can’t meditate because, there are too many thoughts going on in their mind.
Of course, that is how the mind works. It is like a computer that is always processing information internally and externally trying to make sense of the world around us.
So any time you sit down to meditate that is going to happen.
A key part of the process is to accept your mind wants to wander, but when it does you bring your attention back to your breathing, counting, the quiet, the stillness, a particular focus of your body experience, or something else you may be using to focus on in narrowing your attention.
People may also focus on some relaxing music, a repetitive sound, like a metronome, a gong, the ticking of a clock, the sound of a fan, the sound of waves on a beach, a babbling brook or something else.
Myself, I prefer quiet sitting.
Some people tell me they are too wired or wound up as people and have difficulty sitting still.
For those folks, I might suggest Tai Chi Chuan, a Chinese slow movement form, much like a Martial Arts kata you learn and perform in very soft slow continuous movement for about twenty minutes.
As you do the form you are directing your attention to your body’s movements, as well as, your breathing and find this easily consumes your mind.
You could also do your own spontaneous movement like an improvised dance with or without music, being aware of constant attention to your movements and your breathing.
Sometimes, it is may be easier to sit in meditation after you have done some exercise or physical activity, where you have expended a good amount of energy, resulting in being tired, relaxed and more receptive to narrowing your attention.
Another way to sit and quiet your mind is just being in nature.
Going to a lake or the ocean, being by a river, being in the woods or in the mountains, going to a park, where nature easily consumes your attention so that your mind quiets by focusing on the sights, sounds, smells and physical sensations you are experiencing.
As you continue to practice meditation, you get better at quieting your mind and directing your attention.
You become more accepting of what your experience is when you meditate.
It’s not always the same.
You learn to pay attention to where you are focusing your attention and how your body is responding.
You may also focus on your breathing along with imaging you are looking through your closed eye lids, you could imagine you are looking through your face, your nose or mouth, you may focus on sensations in different parts of your body or the stillness of your body or the quiet around you.
You may also incorporate any sounds that may be occurring, as you sit and focus on your breathing.
You may catch yourself caught up in a thought, memory, experience, a sound, a concern or a brief movie clip or daydream before you redirect your attention back to the rhythm of your relaxed breathing.
That’s ok for brief periods and then back to your breathing and experience of sitting quietly.
If you get antsy or anxious while sitting in your meditation, you may just take a deep breath and find yourself feeling relaxed again as you exhale.
If you find yourself worrying too much about the time you are taking to meditate or what you will be doing next, you can mentally remind yourself, there is nothing else to do now other than focus on your breathing and allow your mind to settle down and be in the present.
You can remind yourself you will deal with other matters later, when you are done meditating.
Again, there is nothing else to do, but allow yourself to be fully present in your meditation.
When you meditate you are going where there is no place to go.
You are just focused on being in the present as much as it occurs.
Your destination is the present, not the past or the future.
Your mind may become so quiet that you may experience thinking of nothing, no thoughts or feelings or having a blank mind for periods of time that may come and go.
Your mind might, momentarily, become a blank screen.
People, when considering whether to meditate, want to consider what tangible outcomes may develop with regular meditation over time.
One, is a sense of a calm and a clear mind that stays with you during your day and may be accessed at times to help you slow down and be more presently engaged in what you are doing.
Another outcome of regular meditation is a greater ability to redirect, detach, let go or neutralize what you are focusing on when engaging in fruitless negative narratives or problematic emotional states.
This may be helpful in self-regulating to reduce worry, frustration, anger, conflict, anxiety and depression
Problematic narratives and emotional states feed on each other and can easily recycle or spin related to what may happen in the future or what has happened in the past.
Focusing on the past or future in this manner involves aspects that are usually out of our influence or control.
This is different from focus on necessary planning, preparing, rehearsing, organizing, doing analysis, problem-solving or making decisions relevant to our personal and work lives.
A third outcome of regular meditation is development of a greater acceptance of what the present brings which often can not be anticipated and may not be appreciated or wanted.
There is an abundance of research on meditation and mindfulness that supports the benefits of meditating on a regular basis.
I would recommend that you try it for yourself, consistently in a manner similar to what I described in my article “Beginning Steps To Meditation.”
Reading about meditation can be helpful in making a case with yourself regarding the value of meditation.
However, the only real way for you to know the value of meditation is from your own experience of consistently engaging in it as a practice.
If you have further questions, you may call me at 734-645-5349 or e-mail me from either of my websites.