When I tell people that I teach meditation and mindfulness practices, very often I get these three reactions:
Isn’t meditation a religious activity?
Yes, most religions, including Hinduism and Christianity, advocate meditation practices as part of their spiritual tradition - some even believe that prayer is a form of meditation. I personally prefer to stay out of this debate. I believe that meditation and other focus/awarness practices help us understand our mind and our thinking process. If we want to transform our lives, we have to understand how we think. For me, meditation is to the mind; what weight/resistance training is to the body/muscle tone. Recent scientific research shows that regular meditation (whether it be religious or non-religious) based on visualization, deep-breathing and a relaxed focus help build mental resilience, reduce stress and anxiety.I prefer to focus on these benefits.
The main goal of meditation is stress reduction? Right?
Stress reduction/relaxation are the by-products of good contemplative practices such as prayer, yoga, tai-chi but the main goal of meditation or mindfulness practice is to be aware of our thought processes in a compassionate and non-judgmental way. This process helps improve our resilience and strength to face the inevitable challenges brought on by life. We can experience more joy, love and peace as a result of these practices. Check out my blog article on some of the ways we can achieve these goals.
I don’t have days and months to spend mastering the technique of meditation
A good instructor can help you master the basics of meditation and mindfulness practice within a few hours. Most of my students spend 10-15 minutes 5 days a week to recharge and re-energize themselves.You don’t need hours of meditations to acquire these simple and powerful benefits of meditation.
I worry a lot and I doubt that I can focus
Surprisingly, my experience has been that people who worry constantly tend to be good meditators!I think it has to do with the fact that such people tend to have active imagination. These people can also visualize very well – an ability that can be very powerful to create vivid and positive images in the mind to relax and energize.Also, meditation is not about “stopping” your thoughts.It is about bringing back self-awareness and focus to your mind, when it is distracted.
Yes – there are several forms of meditation and mindfulness practices and I encourage you to explore many of them before selecting the one that suits you.If you feel restless sitting down for meditation, I recommend that you try Tai-Chi or Walking meditation. Also, did you know you can meditate with a tennis ball?
Meditate on meditation to find your answer to what is best for you!
a guided finger meditation
Engage your senses with soothing music, guided imagery and a labyrinth tracing activity which leverages the power of touch. Click the album cover to learn more.