Meditation is getting more popular, it is the key to a more mindful life. That is the reason why a lot of people have Headspace and other mindfulness apps on their phones. The goal of meditation, according to Buddhism, is enlightment. But what is meditation? I will explain it in this blog post.
What is meditation
We all get around 60.000 thoughts in a day, which is a LOT!. It can be really exhausting, especially when you have negative thoughts. So we tried to stop those thoughts. Meditating can help with that. It is a way to calm our minds. We can reach a state of awareness with meditation and this state is completely different than the state we are normally in.
Meditation and awareness
We can describe this state as a feeling of peace, silence, and joy. Meditation is not just for people who believe in Buddha, but it is a part of the noble eightfold path. I’ve learned about this for the first time when I was studying English Language, culture, and history. And meditation is not just recognized by people who are Buddhists. Also, scientists say that there are a lot of benefits of meditation. And there are different ways to practice meditation. There is no right way, you can do it in your own way.
To meditate does not mean to fight with a problem, to meditate means to observe – Monk Thick Nhat Hanh
Meditation is not about controlling your thoughts
One time I was watching ‘the secret’ documentary on Netflix and one of them said it is impossible to control every single thought because you get around 60.000 thoughts in a day. And meditation is not about controlling your thoughts. A lot of people think the way to feel better and happier is to control your thoughts, but it isn’t. Having thoughts is a part of us. So don’t try to control them. During meditation, you learn that your thoughts are just thoughts and you just observe them. You don’t judge and you don’t say: this is a good thought or this is a negative/bad thought. You just observe, accept and let it go.
Meditation: Then and now
Meditation is a part of some religions and cultures. People think this contributes to their spirituality. But meditation was only introduced in the USA in the 20th century and later in the 1960’s it became more popular and people started to practice it. But of course, it already existed in India (and in other parts of the world) long before that.
And these days, there are tons of videos and articles you can find about meditation online. But still, there are people who think it is just for monks or hippies. Honestly, I can’t name one person I personally know who meditates (almost) every single day. But I also noticed a couple of changes. A couple of years ago, when I said I did meditations, people looked at me like I was crazy. But these days it is more accepted.
Why should you meditate?
The goal of meditation for everyone can be different. Some people are looking for answers, some people need to relax more and some others are looking for enlightment. And that is all okay. Meditation is great for so many things and can be used for several reasons. The benefits of meditations are infinite.
- You see everything more clear.
- You have more compassion and you will spread more love
- You are less frustrated and you can let go of your emotions like anger
- Your focus improves and you will be more efficient
- You experience less stress, No more fight or flight mode for you
- You recognize mental patterns and you can let them go more easily
- You learn how to live in the moment and spend less time thinking about things
It is for everyone
And these are just a couple of the benefits of meditating. As you can see there are tons of benefits of meditation and everyone can benefit from them. Imagine your mind is a room and the clutter in the room represents your thoughts. If you clean up (by sitting still) that room, you will feel more relaxed and focused.
But if you don’t do anything, your negative emotions, thoughts, and energies are building up and it becomes very chaotic. At first, it might seem you are okay. But the longer you are in this state, you will feel more burned out, stressed, anxious, and even depressed. And it can take over your life. You don’t have any control over your life anymore. Of course, this is what you want to avoid. And you can do this with meditation. With meditation, you learn how to let go of these thoughts, emotions, and energies, and eventually, you will start to feel better. Meditation is a form of self-care.
And don’t worry, it is never too late or too early to start meditating. If you are already feeling anxious, try a 5-minute meditation. No, you won’t see results immediately. Some people do, but it is okay if you don’t notice a difference immediately. But if you do this every single day and maybe even a couple of times a day, you will start to notice a difference.
Different ways to meditate
There are different ways to meditate. The most known is to sit down and focus on your breathing. This is a great way to meditate. But it isn’t the only way. First of all, you don’t have to sit down all the time. You can also walk or lay down. Of course, if you decide to lay down for meditation, be careful because you can fall asleep. Make sure that this doesn’t happen. But you can also go outside and meditate while you are walking. Notice everything that is going on around you.
Difference between meditation and mindfulness
It sounds like mindfulness and meditation is the exact same thing but it isn’t. Mindfulness is all about awareness and focusing on the present moment, without judging. Meditation is more about silence, physically and mentally.
Exercises for beginners
If you want to start with meditations, it can be overwhelming to start with a 30-minute session. You should start small, just like you would do with fitness. You can start with just a 5-minute session. There are tons of great videos on YouTube you can use for your meditations. The great thing is that you can meditate everywhere. Well, almost everywhere. Don’t meditate while driving and I would recommend meditating somewhere without any distractions.
Video: A 5-minute meditation for Beginner (breath-focused)
Video: Mindful Walking meditation (relieve stress)
Video: 5 Minute meditation for focus
Video: 5 minutes guided visualization meditation to manifest the life of your dreams