Growth & Transformation with Meditation
Updated: Mar 7
An Overview of Meditation
Meditation is a mental exercise that, when practiced regularly, serves to help you attain a heightened state of awareness and focused attention. To the casual observer it may seem like the person meditating is doing, well, nothing. And, they’re kind of right since meditation is normally practiced with your eyes closed or staring at an object! Practicing “Concentrative Meditation” involves focusing all of your attention on a specific thing while tuning out everything else around you. There are many different ways to meditate and the practice spans centuries and a multitude of cultures and religions. In fact, the oldest documented images of meditation are from India and date back to 5000 to 3500 BCE. Although it began as a practice for self-fulfillment or enlightenment, each time meditation was introduced in a new part of the world, it transformed and was shaped by the individual culture it found itself in. It wasn’t until the 20th century that meditation became prominent in the United States. In the 1960’s-1970’s, much of the religious connections and roots were removed and it began to be studied in a scientific way, which encouraged the practice to be used by anyone, not just those seeking spiritual fulfillment (although it’s excellent for that, too!).
Benefits of Meditation
There are many physical and emotional benefits to starting – and maintaining – a meditation practice. Here are just a few evidence-based reasons why meditation can help you live your best life :
Reduces symptoms of depression
Promotes emotional health and wellbeing
Can decrease blood pressure
Helps with pain management
Has been shown to help with certain illnesses like fibromyalgia pain, migraines, headaches, and IBS
Tips for Beginning a Meditation Practice
So, I’ve convinced you and you want to start meditating right away? Awesome! As you begin your meditation practice, remember: You don’t have to be perfect, you just have to be consistent. Meditation is best when it is a daily practice. To begin, set a timer on your phone for 5 minutes. When you’re able to reach that comfortably, increase your timer to 10 minutes. Continue to increase the time until you reach one that feels good for you and that you can work into your daily routine with ease. When you’re meditating, you can try playing soft music or white noise in the background, whichever you prefer. You can close your eyes or keep them open and simply focus on an object. Here are more tips to help get you started:
Find a quiet place and settle on a comfortable chair.Try to keep your back straight.
Breathe in and out through your nose. Tune in to the feeling of being present.
Make a note of any physical tensions and any thoughts that pop up in your mind. Simply acknowledge them with kindness and invite them to relax and release.
With each breath you take, feel it in your belly. No need to control or change your breathing. Just allow your lungs to inhale and exhale naturally. Focus on the ebb and flow, like the waves of the ocean.
When you notice that your mind has wandered, gently but firmly bring it back to the breath.
This is mindfulness: training in awareness, acknowledging, letting go and coming home to the breath and to the present moment.
Give this a try and let me know how it goes for you! I feel so strongly about the benefits of meditation, that I incorporate guided meditations into my Reiki sessions. They are a perfect way to help the person receiving Reiki to relax and help them become more receptive to the healing Reiki energy.
If you’d like to practice in a group setting, please come to Wellness Wednesdays at Isch Wellness Center! Every Wednesday is dedicated to some type of wellness activity. The activities are donation-based, meaning payment to participate is not expected. I’ll be leading some of the meditation practices, so consider this your invitation! You can even bring a friend :)
Check out the Isch Wellness Facebook page for more Wellness Wednesdays events!