How to Begin Meditating
It's been quite a while since the last newsletter and we are already well through the first half of 2015. If you're like me you're probably wondering how we got here so quickly. This year took off at a gallop and hasn't let up! What are you doing for yourself to keep a hold of the reigns and not let yourself get dragged along and caught up into the whirlwind that modern life can be?
Personally, I have had to make lifestyle adjustments as I'm finding that now, more than ever, meditation must be a regular part of my life. The times that I have let the practice slip a bit are the times that I have felt myself feeling like I don't have enough time in my day and find myself rushing around, without necessarily getting a lot done.
As the old Zen proverb says:
"You should sit in meditation for 20 minutes a day, unless you're too busy; then you should site for an hour"
If you're new to meditation the thought of sitting for 20 minutes trying to clear your mind might sound daunting. There is a common misconception that meditation means emptying your mind of all thoughts, and that if you're not doing that then you're not meditating. Trying to empty your mind of all thought is a challenge and not realistic for most people, unless they have been practicing deep meditation for many, many years.
Rather than trying to clear your mind of thoughts, an easier way to meditate is to give your mind a focus. Our mind is always wanting to do something. If it doesn't have something to do it will create something, which is how we can get caught up in repetitive thoughts. One of the simplest ways to focus your mind is to focus on your breath. We are going to breathe whether we think about it or not, so you can use that as an anchor of focus for your mind.
Start by slowing your breathing down. Make it deep and deliberate. After a few breaths bring your attention to your to the air flowing in and out of your body. Feel your belly and chest expand as you inhale and feel your chest and belly relax as the air flows out again. If your mind wanders that's okay. It's normal. Once you notice it has drifted off gently bring your attention back to your breath. Well done! You're meditating!
Meditation is a practice. As with any new skill it requires repetition. As little as 5 minutes a day can make a big difference to health and well being With practice the time between thoughts will lengthen and your focus will improve.
If you have any questions or comments please leave them below.
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