For the last year, I've been hearing more and more about the benefits of meditation - in books, magazines, on TV, and from friends who practice it weekly. I never thought I'd be the type of person who would even try meditation...until recently.
After doing a little bit of research, I realized that meditation is often misunderstood. When I think of meditation, I used to think of an eccentric person sitting in silence with his/her eyes closed for two hours in the middle of nowhere. While I'm sure that does exist, it's not always the case.
To be exact, here's a definition from dictionary.com:
I (now) have learned that meditation can be whatever kind of silence or "engaged thought" that I want it to be. In an effort to integrate silence and stillness into my life more often, I first attempted meditation through yoga. I believe that yoga is a great happy medium for a person like myself who NEEDS silence in her life but is unlikely "create" it without some other medium. Yoga proved to be a great method for me - guaranteed practice each week.
1. to engage in thought or contemplation; reflect.
2. to engage in transcendental meditation, devout religious contemplation, or quiescent spiritual introspection.
My second attempt at meditation was using the sauna at my new gym. During the past few weeks, I've developed a new routine that I am learning to love. When I finish my workout, I go to stretch out and then head to the sauna. I sit in the sauna for 5-10 minutes and just breathe while listening to calming music (I actually created my own playlist for this! See my favorite four songs below).
While I am in the sauna, the most important and challenging part of the process for me is trying to control my internal thought process (and ignore the whole overheating thing). I have a tendency to let my thoughts spiral out of control within minutes, which often leads to stressful and/or negative feelings. Thus, I've developed a mantra which I repeat as many times as needed to re-focus myself during my 5-10 minutes of peace (full disclosure here, no making fun):
"This is my time for myself and no one else. I am giving all of my worries and thoughts [to God] and focusing on being present here right now. Only positive things exist in this room."
Here's my question for you: When is the last time you took at least 5 minutes to sit in silence, alone, without doing anything else?
Second question: If you took 5 minutes every day to sit in silence, what kind of impact could that have on your health and life overall?
I am willing to bet that you paused for a bit after reading those questions :).
As I continue my "meditation journey," I'll be posting my findings (as well as some great articles about meditation benefits) here along the way. I am eager to see what positive results come into play. Ultimately, I am hoping that the regular practice will help control my stress levels and help me learn how to better react to the challenges I encounter in my life.
Meditation Playlist: Current Top 4 Songs
"In the Dirt" by S. Carey
"Teardrop" by Massive Attack
"Sea Dreamer" by Sting/Anoushka Shankar/Karsh Kale
"Easy" by Norah Jones and Anoushka Shankar (one of the most beautiful songs I have ever heard!)