Whew! What a week! I have been so busy this past week that I haven’t had the time or energy to just sit down and write for a few minutes. I don’t know if Easter is supposed to be a relaxing holiday, but it sure wasn’t for me this year! All my business got me thinking about something I used to do: meditate. Now, I don’t mean the stereotypical Eastern type of meditation with your legs crossed, forefinger and thumb in a circle, groaning out some wordless mantra. The kind of meditation I mean is an exercise in breathing and awareness of your surroundings.
Meditating can have very tangible benefits including reduced stress, relaxation of muscles, and increased appreciation of life. It can be done anywhere, anytime by using a few simple steps.
1-The first step to meditation should be to find a place and position where you are relatively comfortable. For most people, that means sitting alone in a room either in a chair or on the floor. I wouldn’t recommend lying down, especially if you fall asleep easily. It is best to close your eyes also, as this reduces distractions and allows you to expand your other senses.
2-The second step is to focus on your breathing rhythm. You should breath in through your nose deeply and exhale the same way. If you are stressed, or have negative thoughts or feelings, picture those negative things as energy or mist. As you exhale visualize the energy or mist leaving your body through your nose, never to return. Then picture your deep breaths in as a cleansing, healing force.
3-The final part of the meditation technique that I employ is an awareness of self and surroundings. Once you have established a breathing rhythm, begin to focus your mind on perceiving things with your senses (other than your eyes). Start with your skin. Try and focus on every sensation on your skin, whether it be the smoothness of a table, a slight breeze from an air conditioner, or an itching sensation. Feel every sensation on or in your body. Expand that to the world around you, hearing every small noise, smelling all the smells you can, feeling vibrations, etc.
These techniques are simple and can be employed by anyone. Even on my 30 minute lunch break from work I can find the time to relax for 5 minutes and meditate. When I am done I feel refreshed, relaxed, and ready to return to work. Now that Easter is over and the business of life resumes (if it ever ebbed to begin with), I plan on making meditation a regular part of my day. Do you?
If anyone has any ideas, comments, or meditation techniques of their own, please post them in the comments below!