Seven helpful hints for meditating (Warwick Beacon, Rhode Island)

Claudia Botthof, Warwick Beacon, RI: Daily demands of everyday living can be draining and stressful, leading to insomnia, digestive problems, headaches, irritability, depression, ulcers and some cancers. Social relationships can suffer because there is just no more room for understanding and caring about somebody else’s problem. Unless you take care of yourself you cannot take care of somebody else. Finding the “inner peace” within yourself let’s you deal with everyday problems with new energy and a new outlook on life.

Meditation has been around for centuries and is used to quiet the mind and to promote self-knowledge and self-mastering. Through focusing and maintaining attention, the mind is brought to the present – not in “what happened yesterday” or “what will happen tomorrow.” Meditation provides solitude, the ability to be comfortable by oneself, and calmness of the mind and body. Meditation produces brainwaves that relax the mind to a point where it can reduce blood pressure, muscle tension and control breathing patterns. With daily practice meditation can be the tool to deal with daily stress efficiently.

Meditation requires the active mind to be able to focus on an object, image, phrase, word, sound or one’s own breath. Even though the mind is alert, yet it is calm and focused. Meditation is usually done in an upright sitting position with one foot placed on top of the other. The hands or fingers are creating a closed circuit presenting certain symbols and emotions. There are different breathing patterns such as “Breath of Fire,” “Alternate Nostril Breath” and “Cooling Breath.” Each type of breath will have a different effect on the body and mind. The “Ohm” sound has four different parts “ah/oh/mmm/silence.” It is considered the “Sound of all Sounds, the Sound of the Universe, the Sound of Creation and the Beginning of Life.” The benefits include but are not limited to releasing tension and dispel negative energy, feeling at total peace and being filled with new energy.

Meditation can be done without any attachment to any religion and is usually part of yoga. As yoga provides benefits to the body and mind, adding meditation further enriches the total being. The experience of yoga and meditation is unique to each individual and comes in many forms.

Here are some helpful hints to get started:

  • Before meditation do some form of exercise such as yoga, or walking to release restlessness.
  • Do some breathing exercises before meditation this will calm the mind.
  • Do yoga in the morning or at night, preparing the mind for the day or releasing tension before the night.
  • Use the same place and same time in a quiet environment.
  • Build up the time of stillness and meditation. Start with 5 minutes daily and build up to 45 minutes, three times a week.
  • When sitting check your body for muscle tension and let go.
  • When the mind wanders and emotions come up, acknowledge them and bring your focus back to your point of focus.

As with every skill in life, meditation takes time to learn and to master. Give yourself permission to practice the skill of meditation. Take some time for yourself each day to find your inner peace, so you can be there for all the other people when they need you.

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