Meditation is a powerful stress reliever. Here is a simple and effective form of meditation that can be useful for beginners, and can be learned easily learned. Whether you use it to gain a deeper insight into your spiritual journey or adjusting to a stressful day at work, these quick exercises are a proven tool to help you feel relaxed, alert, and more ready for each day.Your first exercise will serve as an introduction to the art of meditation itself, and will include what many consider to be the foundation of all meditation techniques and approaches: the practice of mindfulness and awareness.
▪ Basic Meditation: This involves sitting in a comfortable position and just trying to quiet your mind by thinking of nothing. A good way to begin is to think of yourself as an ‘observer of your thoughts,’ just noticing what the narrative voice in your head says, but not engaging it. As thoughts materialize in your mind, just let them go. That’s the basic idea.
▪ Focused Meditation: With this technique, you focus on something intently, but don’t engage your thoughts about it. You can focus on something visual, like a statue; something auditory, like a metronome or tape of ocean waves; something constant, like your own breathing; or a simple concept, like ‘unconditional compassion’. Some people find it easier to do this than to focus on nothing, but the idea is the same: staying in the present moment and circumventing the constant stream of commentary from your conscious mind, and allowing yourself to slip into an altered state of consciousness.
▪ Activity-Oriented Meditation: With this type of meditation, you engage in a repetitive activity, or one where you can get ‘in the zone’ and experience ‘flow.’ Again, this quiets the mind, and allows your brain to shift. Activities like gardening, creating artwork, or practicing yoga can all be effective forms of meditation. An example would be like washing the dishes.
▪ Mindfulness Techniques: Mindfulness can be a form of meditation that, like activity-oriented meditation, doesn’t really look like meditation. It simply involved staying in the present moment rather than thinking about the future or the past. Focusing on sensations you feel in your body is one way to stay ‘in the now;’ focusing on emotions and where you feel them in your body (not examining why you feel them, but just experiencing them as sensations) is another.
▪ Spiritual Meditating: Meditation can also be a spiritual practice. (It does not have to be, and certainly isn’t specific to any one religion, but can be used as a spiritual experience.) Many people experience meditation as a form of prayer — the form where God ‘speaks,’ rather than just listening. You can meditate on a singular question until an answer comes, or meditate to clear the mind and accept whatever comes in the moment.