What is meditation? Becoming present, allowing yourself to simply be, connecting back, letting go of excessive thinking, focusing on your breath, a mantra, a visualisation, a sensation or something which brings you into a more relaxed and fluid state.
So many people believe that meditation is a practice of non-thinking. But for us mere humans that simply isn’t possible. A state of non-thinking isn’t how evolution has allowed us to be. Instead meditation is about calming and relaxing the mind for us then to become more aware, both of ourselves and the outside world. To slow down the internal conversation, come into the now, and see the essence and beauty that is all around us.
It doesn’t need special cushions, or a perfect set up. Instead all it needs is stillness, breathing and patience. Taking time out on a regular bases, preferably daily, for even a 5-minute meditation practice has a huge amount of psychological and physical benefits—from helping rebalance the hormones, enhancing recovery, repair and learning, to reducing anxiety, depression, assisting a higher quality of sleep. Then even allowing ourselves to become more compassionate, aware, understanding (both ourselves and others), to processing events, traumas and helping resolve dilemmas, questions and issues.
The benefits of meditation have been known and are now scientifically proven. All of which are accessible to each and every one of us. It is simply a practice of coming into the now, connecting to the breath, focusing and allowing for what comes up, to come up, without judgement, fear, shame, hesitation or guilt. Essentially detaching from the habitual and emotion responses to your thoughts, words and action and instead seeing, feeling and allowing them to be.
Like with all things in life, meditation takes practice, patience and commitment. Commitment to being in stillness, feeling your breath, repeating a word or phase, a visualisation, or a sensation which can then fill your whole body and allowing everything else to be.
One specific meditation technique which I use often with clients is to link the inhale and the exhale of the breath with positive affirmations—on the inhale state “I am” on the exhale state a positive word. This can be the same positive word or a combination and it’s something you are wanting to bring into your life, or feel, or have more of; for example inhale “I am” exhale “beautiful”, inhale “I am” exhale “healthy”, inhale “I am” exhale “abundant”, anything which suits your situation and circumstance can be used, and you really have to enable your whole body to feel it and believe it. Another one of my favourite statements is inhale “let” exhale “go”, and this is simply repeated on loop, maybe with counts to really help focus the mind and surrender the body into the now.
All in all, meditation isn’t something only set aside for monks, or exceptionally talented individuals. It’s purely a practice of coming into the now to calm down the constant chitter chatter of your consciousness and to create space internally. You just need to commit and dedicate a few minutes on a daily basis to this. Some days it will be super hard work, and other days the time will fly by, but as long as the intention to show up and allow for this to be is there then it’s never a bad practice or waste of time, the benefits will speak for themselves.