Here’s another of my daily practices that I’d love to share with you.
The first thing I do every morning on waking is meditate. I started my practice two years ago, and while I can’t “prove” that meditation has worked, I do know that it has certainly helped me in my healing.
There are many benefits to meditation:
- Improved concentration
- You become less bothered by little things
- You have better health
- Your knowledge of yourself improves
I really wanted to make meditation a regular positive ritual in my life, but I found that I wasn’t consistent. So in June 2011 I joined a “30 day challenge” with Nathan Agin on Facebook to work on making meditation a daily habit. I realised that my inconsistency was due to the fact that I didn’t have a set time for the practice. Often the events of the day would take over and before I knew it I was climbing into bed, without finding the time to meditate.
I’m a great believer in taking baby steps to achieve my goals. I decided to set my alarm 15 minutes earlier than usual, and as soon as my alarm went off, I would meditate for 15 minutes. With the wonderful support and accountability of the Facebook community I found that I was able to stick to this commitment. After a few days, I reset my alarm 15 minutes earlier, and was meditating for 30 minutes. I continued reseting my alarm, and soon I was awake at 5.45am in the morning and meditating for an hour. I was stunned. I never thought I would be able to do it, but with baby steps, and support, I did.
There are many meditation processes that you can choose from. But meditation doesn’t have to be complicated or time consuming. At its simplest, all you need to do is take 5 minutes out of your day, to sit quietly, and focus on your breathing, and focus on one thing. You might visualise your breath coming in and out of your nose, or you might like to focus on a flame of a candle, or stroke a favourite pet. The method doesn’t really matter. What does matter is quietening the mind, because that is when we experience inner peace. As thoughts come into your mind, just acknowledge them, and imagine them disappearing in a bubble that just floats away, and refocus.
I love the quote by Jonathan Haidt in his book “The happiness Hypothesis”:
“Suppose you read about a pill that you could take once a day to reduce anxiety and increase your contentment. Would you take it? Suppose further that the pill has a great variety of side effects, all of them good: increased self-esteem, empathy, and trust; it even improves memory. Suppose, finally, that the pill is all natural and costs nothing. Now would you take it? The pill exists. It’s called meditation.”
So what about you? Do you have a daily meditation practice? Why not start today with just 5 minutes. Work out how you can include this wonderful practice into your day. You will feel so much better!
I’ve written another blog with some meditation resources.