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Meditation Misbeliefs and Simple Ways to Meditate

Updated: Jan 8

Meditation is becoming more and more valuable in the workplace and daily life practice for many people. Yet there are so many do's and don'ts that are prescribed in meditation, no wonder people feel overwhelmed!!

Meditation doesn't have to be boring or cause you anxiety. Nor do you need to sit stiffly and feel uncomfortable!

Mindfulness and meditation have been known to:

- improve moods

- aid concentration

- improved emotional awareness and intelligence

- enhance sleep

- create deeper focus.

What is mindfulness and what is meditation?

Mindfulness is the mental state of awareness of the present moment. It is also acknowledging your thoughts, feelings and emotions while remaining calm.

Meditation is the practice of being still with these emotions, thoughts and feelings.

People tend to interchange the two words, so knowing the difference is important.

Eckhart Tolle says it really well when he says, “to be still is to be conscious without thought.”

A young woman dressed in white meditation near the sea

As a meditation facilitator and in my holistic practice clients have expressed anxiety about meditation and the possibility of how difficult it maybe. Here are some misbeliefs that people have expressed:

To meditate, I have to sit upright and in a lotus position this of course, is not true, meditation is possible by sitting, standing, walking or lying down. To practice a walking meditation, you can walk in your neighborhood or go to a park and walk without talking or listening to music, instead tune into the sounds of nature and observe her, slow down your footsteps and let each step be deliberate. Notice the scents of the plants and trees, observe the birds and insects and notice how the colors become heightened.

To meditate, I must make sure my mind is a blank, that is a tall order since most of us have a million to-do lists running through our minds and the minute we expect our minds to be clear then what we try not to focus on becomes even more urgent. " what you resist persists." Shri Shri Ravishankar

So instead become aware of your thoughts and acknowledge them and they subside.

I have to have total silence to meditate, now I understand why this is a compelling way to meditate but in reality we may have kids running around shouting, dogs barking or the neighbors lawnmower might be going. To allow all these sounds to be a part of your meditation is probably the least stressful way to meditate. How do you do this? Simply allow the sounds to be there and acknowledge them. We can practice meditation while we are driving, talking to a friend, walking the dog or exercising by simply being present in that moment.

I don't have enough time to set aside for daily meditation, meditation does not have to be long it can be 5 or 10 mins. It can be done in the morning when you are making your tea or coffee by being mindful during the time you are making it. Then, notice the aroma and taste of your drink. If you sip it slowly and let yourself be quiet and present with your drink without reading the news or watching TV, it is interesting how the flavor is intensified, and this is a meditation.

Meditation is a religious practice, you don't have to be religious to practice meditation. Meditation is a way of life and when we observe our thoughts, our fears, our feelings and when we observe our bodies and what it may be telling us then we are meditating. Meditation helps us be more present in each moment, to be able to listen to others and hear each other with more awareness.

Meditation is a practice, and like all things we practice, it gets better with time.

Here is an easy exercise:

Close your eyes and as you take a deep breath in, the sound your breath makes is SO and as you slowly breath out the out breath sounds like HUM. Now let’s try that a few times.

Breathe in and also be aware of your chest and stomach expanding as you draw your breath in - SO and now feel your stomach and chest releasing that breath HUM. Now open your eyes.

You can use this simple meditation with children, too.

Children love the idea that our breath makes a sound, and they try and listen to the sounds it makes. Did you notice that in the few minutes you practiced meditation your mind was clear of other thoughts?

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