What is meditation?
A practice to help you reach a heightened state of awareness and focused attention. It’s not about trying to turn off your thoughts or feelings. You learn to observe them without judgment and over time you start to better understand them.
The purpose of meditation is to make your mind calm and peaceful. There are many different types of meditation you can try. It takes practice – but it is worth it.
Benefits of meditation
There are numerous benefits of establishing a meditation practice that positively impacts your emotional, physical, mental, and behavioral health. Here’s a sample of the benefits, with supporting research:
- Decrease blood pressure. (Source: Journal of Human Hypertension
- Improve self-awareness. (Source: Advances in Mind-Body Medicine)
- Enhanced attention and memory. (Source: Behavioural Brain Research)
- Increase compassion. (Source: American Psychology Association
- Improve sleep. (Source: Journal of Sleep and Sleep Disorders Research)
- Ease psychological symptoms of depression, anxiety, and pain. (Source: JAMA Internal Medicine)
- Brain boost, by decreasing mind wandering and improving cognitive performance. (Source: Psychological Science)
In addition, the benefits I’ve seen and experienced by having a meditation practice are being able to:
- slow down
- get centered
- get grounded
- be still
- be quiet
- reconnect with your intuition
- reconnect with your why
- tune inward
- find clarity
- clear your head
- quiet your mind
Types of meditation
There are many meditation techniques from different traditions, cultures, spiritual disciplines, and religions. There’s no right or wrong, best or most effective one. It is about finding what feels best to you.
Here are some common types of meditations:
Mindfulness meditation is a practice that combines concentration with awareness. It teaches you to slow down your thoughts, decrease negativity, and brings calmness to your mind and body. You learn how to allow thoughts to pass through your mind. You simply observe them without judging them and let them go. Focusing on an object or your breath can be helpful as you allow thoughts, feelings, or sensations to arise and then pass.
Is an active form of meditation. You allow the movement to guide you. It is a good option for people that have a difficult time sitting still. The practice may include activities, such as walking in nature, gardening, yoga, qigong, or tai chi. It can be as simple as noticing and observing the smells, sounds, colors, and temperature of your surroundings.
Body Scan Meditation
Involves scanning your body for any sensations you are feeling without judgment. The purpose is to tune in to your body, reconnecting with your physical self. With time and practice, you train your mind to be more open and aware of sensory experiences – building your ability to focus and be more present in your life. When you are stressed over prolonged periods of time, a disconnect between your mind and body occurs, causing you to disconnect from the way your body feels. Body Scan Meditation will help you reconnect.
Loving Kindness Meditation
Is a meditation meant to generate feelings of positive energy, goodwill, and kindness. It involves cultivating loving-kindness for:
- for someone you love
- for a neutral person (someone who does not raise an emotional response in you)
- for someone you have difficulties with
- you then end the meditation with radiating loving-kindness to all beings.
Is a technique focused on enhancing feelings of relaxation, peace, and calmness by visualizing positive scenes or images. You imagine the scene vividly, using all five senses to add as much detail as possible. The scene or image can be something you have experienced in the past or it can be a scene or image you create during the meditation.
Let's stay connected. . .
These days I have found my peace. I live with my husband of 17+ years, Dave, and our dogs Waylon and Willie. I am co-creating my life with the Divine, God, Source, Spirit, which provides me the freedom and flexibility to live the life I desire, not a life I “should” be living.
But it wasn’t always this way.