Embarking on instilling a meditation practice in your life begins much the same way any other present routine or habit that you currently have once did. A sense of curiosity, a willingness to try starting something new, dedication to staying consistent and faith in experiencing change or transformation of some kind over time.
A meditation practice, as someone once wisely expressed, is not linear. Your experience may bounce all over the spectrum at any given time. Sometimes frustrating, sometimes profoundly beautiful and beyond the limiting explanation of words. However, over time, something does begin to shift.
Meditation, although there are countless methods, is a practice in bringing awareness and presence to the breath and quieting the thoughts in the mind. Patanjali of the Yoga Sutras describes meditation as “the cessation of thought waves in the mind”. By bringing awareness to the breath and cultivating a single point of conscious focus, the constant and sometimes incessant flood of thoughts gradually begins to subside. Over time in your practice, you will notice patterns to your thoughts and this awareness, when surrounded in compassionate curiosity, provides the fertile ground for developing positive character qualities, healing, growth and ultimately, change.
There are many paths that lead to a curiosity to begin a meditation practice. Whether you are interested in the growing scientific evidence of its benefits to physiological and psychological wellbeing, cultivating a deeper spiritual connection or are hoping to reduce stress, meditation, over time, will benefit and change your life. It has been found to be tremendously beneficial for many individuals experiencing anxiety, PTSD and those struggling with addiction. Scientifically based evidence supports a reduction in stress, an increase in attention span and can reduce age-related memory loss in our elder population.
It has been found to reduce impulsive behavior and depression as well as strengthen the creation of healthy social connections, self-esteem, focus, problem-solving skills and creative thinking. Physiologically, meditation has been proven to strengthen the immune system, improve energy, reduce blood pressure and lessen heart, brain and inflammatory conditions. Ultimately, it is a time set aside each day that is solely for you and your wellbeing: body, mind and spirit. In this way, regular meditation practice cultivates both awareness and discipline of the self.
Stay tuned for our next article with tips on setting yourself up for success in establishing a regular meditation practice!