What’s all the meditation hype?
Everyone is talking about meditation these days. Many claim it’s the magic bullet to solve every problem. Others think it’s totally bunk and pointless. So what’s the deal with meditation? What’s the point and how can you try it out yourself?
I’m certainly not an expert but this is my take on it – meditation is time dedicated to creating mental space. In this space, we can become more familiar with ourselves and our thoughts. Let’s clear up a common misconception; meditation doesn’t have to be sitting with your eyes closed thinking of nothing. I won’t go through every variant of meditation (nor do I know them all) but my first experience was with hypnosis, then eventually self-hypnosis.
From there, I started learning about meditation. I was taught to sit still and try to clear out my mind. I didn’t get it at all. So I went back to self-hypnosis, where there were clear goals and focus points for the session. As I got more experience with hypnosis, I eventually discovered other kinds of meditation. I still didn’t like most of them. Now I’ve realized the specific form doesn’t necessarily matter, it’s just about finding mental space in ways that benefit you personally.
How To Get Started.
If you want to try meditating, I’d suggest you start with 5 minutes each day for a week. Find an activity or position where your mind can totally relax and you can focus on increasing awareness of your thoughts. You don’t need a goal, but if you want one – pick a problem and try to digest it. Or focus on a trait you want to develop. Perhaps a visualization of the future. Maybe focus on taking deep breaths. Or really, anything else you think might be helpful as you give yourself mental space and focus on your thoughts. Again, there are tons of options, try a few and see what works for you.
If you want a little more guidance, there are a ton of free resources you can try. Just search meditation routines. Don’t expect it to be easy, but give it at least a week of daily effort to see the results. Similar to a physical workout, you wouldn’t expect to instantly be stronger the moment you finish your first routine – but by a week you’ll have a better understanding of how it might fit into your life.
It’s not a magic cure-all.
One last note, even though you might hear it often – a meditation practice may not be for everyone. Some people may be able to clear their mind and increase thought awareness during a workout, or some other activity. However, for many of us, meditation is a tool which increases our awareness, lowers stress, and increases happiness. With so many people benefitting, it’s worth trying for a week.
Again, I’m not a master of meditation by any means and you may want to use another word for it – but increasing awareness of your thoughts is crucial to happiness. Meditation may not work for everyone, but some form of increased self-awareness will greatly increase your happiness. It’s how you understand your thought patterns, habits, and interactions and then improve your life around them. We can influence and alter our habitual thoughts, but we first need to understand how they work.
Pick a day and time for each day this week to try meditating.
Set a timer for 5 minutes. During that five minutes remove as many distractions as you can and focus on what you’ve decided to focus on.
After a week, see how your meditation practice has affected you. Do you want to try a new type? Are there ways you could make it more effective? Is it helping you?