31 March 2013

My thoughts on meditation

I have finally committed to meditating at least fifteen minutes per day. This started three days ago. I have been interested in meditation for a while, and have even made the effort to meditate on a daily basis in the past, yet I didn’t keep it going, for one reason or another; maybe I’ll expand more on that later. Now, I feel like I’ve reached my stride and will be diligent about it. I plan on making it thirty days straight for starters, fifteen minutes or more, per day. Just fifteen minutes each day is sufficient, however. For me, it helps that it’s done in a certain position, with an alarm that sounds softly at the end of the session, so that my focus is directed away from the sensation of my back resting against an object and I don't have to be distracted in keeping track of time. My method of meditation is as follows:

1. Set alarm for 15 minutes

2. Sit upright with spine straight and feet flat on the floor, hand with palms facing upward on thighs, eyes closed

3. Begin meditation, focusing on your breathing as you go

4. Open eyes once the alarm sounds

Key points:

a) You will experience an urge to act upon some of your thoughts during meditation. For instance, the thought of that bill that’s due in a week and needs to be paid pronto or that test for which you need to study may prompt you to get off your butt and do those things which will seem to require immediate attention. At minimum, you may want to write down those items that come to mind so you will not forget to do them. Don’t. Resist those urges. Remain seated and bring your attention back to the movement of your breath.

b) You may feel like this is a waste of time. It’s not. Meditation will help bring insight and allow you to balance and strengthen your mind and body, if you make time for it. Have faith in this. I do, and I’m no expert on the act of meditation. I’m just a beginner who has devoted a measly fifteen minutes per day for three days thus far, but this is my belief. Furthermore, fifteen minutes is really a breeze. At first, it may seem like a struggle to quiet your mind since you may feel the need to be doing something all times. After having meditated for the past three days, I now look forward to it. Being able to disregard those seemingly pressing obligations that arise in one's mind, is quite the respite. It’s as though I’m giving myself permission to turn off that noise which clutters my mind. It solidifies the fact that I'm the one in control, not my thoughts. 

c) The first sit-down may be the most challenging. Then again, it seems a new challenge will arise each time you assume your meditation posture. This is part of the process. Three nights ago, I wanted to stop mid-meditation because it felt like the end was nowhere in sight. I started to worry as to whether or not I had even set my alarm. I felt tempted to open my eyes just to take a peek at the clock. Another area of frustration was attempting to tune out my thoughts and focus primarily on my breathing. At a certain point, my breath was doing its own thing, my heart was racing, and I felt very much hot and bothered (in an annoyed sense). However, I pressed on and something unexpected occurred. At one point, I began contemplating how I react on impulse at times. I thought about how I react brashly at times. Then, the realization that I could react differently, by choice, came to me. Might I consider a different approach should such a situation arise wherein I feel offended or agitated? The alarm went off as I was analyzing my behavior. I was relieved that I had been patient enough to make it the whole way through without peeking at the clock and a bit surprised at snippet of clarity I’d achieved as a result of holding on until the alarm sounded.

d) Tranquility is a side-effect of meditation. I remember meeting a Reiki healer a while back. She had such an intensely calming presence. Before the Reiki session, I had felt a mixture of fear and anxiety. However, sitting across from her put me at ease. She inquired as to whether or not I meditated and I told her I did and the length of time I devoted to it, which was minimal. She recommended that I meditate for an hour each day. This suggestion has stuck with me and I'm now working towards the goal of allotting an hour per day to meditation. Meeting her cemented my belief that meditation really does have a calming effect on people, given the warmth and peace she emanated.

What I have learned from my brief interlude into learning meditation thus far has been that it’s not as difficult as you may think to carve out the time to do it. You know how quickly fifteen minutes pass when you’re perusing the internet? Could you instead use that time, once a day, to sit in a private space with your eyes closed, focused on your breath and achieving a state of peace? You may just walk away breathing a bit deeper and having gained some insight on your life.