Article on Meditation
An Introduction to Meditation
by Aila Accad, RN, MSN
Does your mind race in several directions so you don’t know if you are coming or going? In our fast-paced world, it is easy to run for days without taking the time to breathe or check in with our self. Meditation is one way to calm the mind, and return to your self and sanity.
If you can breathe, you can meditate. Notice how you are feeling right now. Take a deep breath. Breathe all the way into your belly and then let it out slowly. How do you feel now? Calmer and more centered? More relaxed? Did your shoulders drop a little?
This is a great starting point for meditation. Just take a few minutes periodically to watch the breath come in and go out. Notice your chest rise and fall, or notice the point where the air enters your nose and leaves. Notice the sensation, the temperature and the pressure on your nostrils. Maintain that attention for a few minutes.
Simply put, meditation is a way to focus the mind. The practice of meditation has benefits for stress reduction and for mental balance and acuity. It is a training program to teach the mind how to slow down through repetitive focus.
You can focus on anything. Your breath, a word or phrase repeated throughout the meditation (mantra), a candle (image). You can also focus on just allowing the thoughts that arise in your mind to drift through like words on a boat floating by. The key is not to stop the thoughts, nor allow your mind to run a whole story or scenario taking your attention away from your focus. When that happens, just come back to your focal point and release the thoughts.
It’s important not to judge yourself for whatever happens in your meditation. There is no ‘right way’ to meditate. When you notice that the mind has captured your attention with “You have to go to the store later”, don’t judge yourself for going with that thought for a moment and starting to make a list of items you need. As soon as you notice you have started thinking about something, gently bring your attention back to the focal point you have chosen.
Meditation is a practice, not a destination. Having the discipline to sit still for a few moments at a time focusing the mind is enough. Whatever happens during those few moments is fine. Just observe how your mind works and bring your attention back to the focal point.
There are many types of meditation, mindfulness, vipassana (Buddhist), contemplative prayer, transcendental, walking or movement (tai chi, yoga), guided meditation and more. In guided mediation, someone else’s voice leads your mind to focus on certain images that are relaxing or intended to evoke a certain state of being. Explore different styles to find the one that is right for you. If you are interested in practicing a particular form, then find a local group to join. Meditating with others can be very helpful to support your practice. Put a notice out in your agency and see if others might want to explore meditation with you.
Two things that support meditation are having a specific time and place to meditate on a regular basis. Choose when to meditate (once a week, once a day), select a time (morning, evening) and space to meditate consistently. This will support a deeper meditation experience over time.
Meditation is a classic, simple, inexpensive way to reduce stress and increase your ability to feel centered and present.
© 2008 Aila Accad
Aila Accad, RN, MSN is an award-winning
Certified Life Coach
, and Expert in De-Stressing. She has meditated for over 20 years, and developed six
Guided Meditation CDs
with original meditations and music to support people on their meditation journey. You can learn more or contact her by using the Contact Form below.
|Get "Ten Instant Stress Busters" E-Book |
FREE as Our Gift when You
Sign up Here for De-Stress Tips & News