Most People think of meditation as a long and drawn out process. That it’s so difficult to master, they don’t even try. The time you spend thinking about why you can’t meditate is the same amount of time you can spend learning how to meditate. And the truth is there is no right way or wrong way to meditate. Now that doesn’t mean there are some things to learn to improve the results of your meditation. It just means you really can’t get it wrong.
Meditation is something that all of us can benefit from. And in today’s hectic and busy world, there has never been a more important time for us to give it a go. Unfortunately though, a lot of people don’t really understand what meditation is or how to use it. And many people even find themselves with some kind of prejudice against meditation – assuming that it’s only for people who want to ‘achieve enlightenment’ or that it’s a purely spiritual or religious practice.
What is Meditation?
In fact though, meditation doesn’t have to be about either of those things. Instead, meditation is primarily just the practice of focussing your mind and paying attention. Think of it like weight lifting but for your brain.
There are different types of meditation and these have different end goals. However, the main objective in any case involves focusing your thoughts and choosing what you want to focus on and what you’re going to think. Instead of letting your mind run away with you as you worry about things you can’t change or feel generally stressed, meditation teaches you how to focus on the things that make you happy and how to shut out the things that don’t help.
Types of Meditation
Perhaps the best way to demonstrate this is to introduce some meditation techniques.
One is ‘mindfulness’. Here, the objective is not to stop yourself from thinking but rather just to detach yourself from your thoughts and to become almost like a third party observing those thoughts. The expression often used is that you’re going to watch them ‘drift by like clouds’.
The value in this is that you can prevent your thoughts from controlling your emotions. When you’re scared of heights, you can stop worrying about falling and instead just note that you’re having that thought in a detached manner. Mindfulness is also used by psychologists to help people better understand the contents of their own minds.
Another type of meditation is ‘transcendental’. This is the type that most people are most familiar with and that involves trying to ‘shut out’ your outside thoughts. Instead you’re trying to make your mind completely quiet and often this involves a mantra – a phrase that you repeat over and over.
Eventually, you can use this type of meditation to stop all and any stress: just quiet your brain for a moment of peace and relaxation!