For many years, I dabbled in meditation, but didn’t fully understand it. I knew there was a science to meditation; that it reduced anxiety and stress and improved concentration. I tried to meditate to clear the clutter in my head before I sat down to write, but I did so inconsistently. Over time, I took a couple of workshops on meditation. I read books on mindfulness and meditation like “Quiet Mind,” “The Miracle of Mindfulness” and “Uncomfortable with Uncertainty.” I meditated in my yoga practice. I joined my friend for Deepak and Oprah’s free 21-day meditation courses. I used meditation apps like Meditation Timer and Headspace. I found that there are many scientific and psychological benefits to meditating, but I was curious about how it would make me feel if I would meditate consistently. So, last July I decided to meditate every day using the Headspace app.
I meditate to calm my mind, build focus, and inspire creativity.
Meditation is a technique to train the mind in awareness; to reach deep quiet, inner peace and joy. I sit on my zafu (meditation cushion) with the intention of sitting. When I sit, I try to let go of everything I have been thinking and doing and just be still and quiet. Sometimes my mind is very busy (also referred to as monkey mind) and I have a hard time trying to quiet it down. Thoughts come in a steady stream and I struggle to let them go.
There are many times that I meditate lying down, or walking, or at my desk, or sitting in my car at a parking lot. While it’s nice to have a set time and place for meditation, I don’t think it matters where, when, or how long I meditate. As a beginner, the point is that I have made meditation a habit. Meditation gives me the ability to reel in my monkey mind and restore it so I can be awake and present in the moment. Immediately after I meditate, I am inspired to write and reflect about something I’ve heard, read or observed.
I meditate to explore the inner workings of my mind.
By meditating and practicing mindfulness (awareness), I can go deeper into the work of self examination, uncover hidden truths and see things about myself with greater clarity. I write my thoughts in little notebooks and explore the inner workings of my mind. Sometimes this scares me, but how my mind works is also a wonder to me. Its energy and connectedness to the body is something I want to continue to explore. Both meditation and mindfulness help me along my journey.
A calm mind takes time to develop. It takes practice, patience, and determination. This is something I have to remind myself of frequently. When life gets challenging, I’ve learned (the hard way) that my mind tries to drag me away from the things I know are helpful and restorative. My determination is the only thing that will bring it back to a state of calm. If I don’t pay attention and practice mindfulness my mind will wander a path of chaos.
During the past year of consistent meditation practice, I have found greater peace of mind. There is less tension in my body and I can achieve more clarity and focus on my work. I also discovered that I don’t need an app to meditate. I can set a timer for a few minutes, or give myself permission to meditate until the dog barks.
In the end, I meditate because it simply makes me feel good.
What do you think?