My sister was the person that introduced me to meditation, she told me that it would be a useful tool I could use to calm my mind. This was over 15 years ago and at the time she told me I wasn’t really interested in the power of meditation.
Throughout my twenties I always thought about meditation and sometimes I would try it here and there, but no dedication was ever present. I either “couldn’t” make the time or I would try it for a couple of days and then stop. It took me another 10 years before I decided to look at meditation seriously.
It was only when my life seemed to be getting harder that I decided to give meditation a good try. I was stuck in a rut, my finances weren’t doing that great and neither was my mind. Also experiencing some depression because I thought I should be more successful than I was at the time.
I booked myself into a Vipassana retreat. Vipassana is a 10-day silent retreat where you do nothing but meditate, you don’t talk at all! You meditate for 8 hours a day from dusk till dawn.
It was a very difficult thing to do but it taught me so much about myself. I learned more about who I was in those 10 days than I ever thought possible. While away in the mountains on this retreat I started to experience the benefits of meditation first hand.
With every day I meditated on the retreat I could feel it working. Clearing me and healing my mind, helping me to reset my head and push me into a positive light. I was pretty blown away by the end of the Vipassana retreat and I knew then that meditation requires consistency.
Since the retreat I continue to practice meditation everyday, it’s very simple to do (not easy) but simple. It requires an amount of dedication on your part. If you have the will to practice for just 5 -20 minutes a day you can experience the potential of meditation for yourself.
How To Meditate Properly
There are many meditation techniques for beginners and I want to share one with you now. You can do this meditation at anytime but I do recommend you start your day with it.
- Find a quiet spot in your house or office. Preferably somewhere with very little distractions.
- Sit in on the ground or in a chair. Make sure that you are comfortable.
- Close your eyes and start focusing on your breath.
- Let your body just breathe, don’t force your breath.
- Keep focusing on your breath and only your breath.
- You will notice that your mind will wander away from your breath often. When you notice your mind wandering just gently bring it back to your breath.
- If you notice you are fixated on a thought or memory allow it to be there without any judgement. Then gently bring your awareness back to your breath.
This technique is called mindfulness meditation and its the method I practice with everyday. There are many meditation techniques you can try, but I have found that mindfulness meditation is one of the simplest ones to get started with.
Keep doing these steps for only 5 minutes a day. The trick is to stay consistent with your meditation practice. Dedicate 5 minutes of your day to your meditation and you will experience all the benefits yourself. In my opinion this is how to meditate properly, it’s the baseline from which all practices stem.
As you become better at staying focused on your breath you can meditate for longer periods of time. Go from 5 minutes to 10 minutes and then from 10 minutes to 15 minutes. Before you know it you could be doing 40 minutes of mediation a day.
The Benefits Of Meditation
This is where the power lies, with the benefits you will experience. When you decide to make mindfulness and meditation a regular part of your life you will experience these life transforming byproducts for yourself. These are the fruits of your labor and all it takes to experience these trans-formative attributes is dedication, consistency and time.
1. Finding peace
The mind is the most powerful tool we have at our disposal and if it’s filled with anxiety, stress or depression it will lower your quality of life. Negative thoughts breed more negativity and this threatens your inner peace.
Finding peace becomes easier when we meditate regularly, we release some of the negativity and stress we have inside of us. You might not get rid of certain emotions or problems but you can figure out healthier ways of dealing with them. Meditation cultivates positivity and acceptance of what is, thus creating more inner peace in your life.
2. Better brain focus
Because meditation is all about focusing on your breath you are increasing your brain’s ability to concentrate. Just like any muscle in your body when you work it out it will become stronger.
Better brain focus leads to a more productive lifestyle because we become better at not being distracted by things. You develop the power to concentrate on one thing at a time, being able to give it your full attention.
3. Creative benefits
Personally I have found that I have become more creative. Often during my meditations new ideas will come to me as a thought. I allow these ideas to populate in my mind’s eye. They are valuable ideas that I don’t think I would of had without practicing meditation.
4. Learn to forgive
Why is forgiveness important? Forgiveness is not about others, it’s about you, because you deserve peace. When you meditate you will find that it becomes easier to set your ego aside so that you have the strength to let go.
When you practice forgiveness you will learn to not allow previous events or people to have power over you anymore. Through meditation and finding inner peace you can look at the past with different eyes. You might even realize that sometimes you might of been in the wrong. This is a massive step forward in self-development and forgiveness of yourself.
5. Don’t sweat the small stuff
The small things don’t get to you anymore. A broken plate, a guy driving like an idiot or perhaps a colleague that use to irritate you. When we meditate regularly we tend to not sweat the small things as much.
Not stressing or becoming angry over small things that might of made you upset before is a massive win. Think about all the energy wasted on letting insignificant things get to you. You learn to start accepting things as they are.
When you stop sweating the small things you realize that there are much bigger problems in the world. It really can put things into perspective and you might find you can appreciate your own life, broken dishes and all.
6. Live a more empowered life
Before I started meditation I wasn’t a very confident person. The idea of a social event would terrify me. I would become anxious for days, sometimes weeks before an event. I use to self-medicate with alcohol in any social setting, just to allow myself to feel comfortable.
Meditation changed that for me, it’s helped me to live a more empowered life. I have a natural confidence now, I haven’t had a drink for over 2 years and I’m actually more social than I’ve ever been. When I feel uncomfortable in life I simply focus on my breath for a bit and my mind clears out.
Meditation has given me a more powerful life. It has made me more self-aware of not only myself but of other people too. I’ve become more compassionate, forgiving and understanding. There really isn’t one area of my life that hasn’t seen some sort of improvement. All this from just 40 minutes of meditation a day.
What Does Meditation Do To The Brain And Body?
We all know by now that meditation leads to improved well-being and lower stress and anxiety levels but how does it benefit the brain and the body?
- Meditation increases the cortical thickness of the left Hippocampus by increasing grey-matter density which nurtures our cognitive ability and memory.
- Meditation also increases the density of the Posterior Cingulate an area of the brain associated with wandering thoughts and self-relevance. The larger the Posterior Cingulate the less the mind wanders.
- Meditation strengthens the Pons. The Pons is an area of our mind that helps regulate brain activity (sleep function, facial expression and basic physical function).
- Meditation triggers the relaxation response in our body. This helps decrease metabolism, lower blood pressure and improve our heart rate.
My Final Thoughts
The benefits of meditation can come in many forms. These are the reasons I think meditation is so wonderful, as I’ve experienced the benefits for myself. I like to think that meditation is a superpower and we all have the ability to cultivate these superpowers in our own lives.
Meditation has changed me for the better and I cant imagine my life without it at this point. Meditation has become as natural as brushing my teeth and this is something you should strive for.
If you want to experience transformative effects of meditation for yourself, simply practice everyday. Stay consistent and don’t give up on it. Like I said before, meditation is simple (not easy) you just have to be relentless in your practice.
Remember that it’s not a competition. Have fun with your meditations and allow yourself to experience them without any judgement. There is no such thing as perfect meditation.
Mindfulness meditation is a great place to start your journey, do the meditation script in this article once a day and let me know how it works out for you?