If meditation is so good for us, why can it feel so hard to get started?
You've most likely seen reports listing many benefits from meditation, recently have been scientifically proven to produce long-lasting improvements in mental cognition, problem-solving, and even increases in brain cell growth after just a few weeks of meditating for 20 minutes a day. Scientific interest in this topic has been steadily growing with no slow-down in sight; Google scholar lists over 5,000 studies citing benefits of meditation that have been published in the first seven months of 2015.
Some of the advantages of meditation include: reduction of stress which in turn boosts the immune system, energy levels, and sense of wellbeing and equanimity; growth of grey cells in the brain and the hippocampus, contributing to better cognitive functioning and problem solving; lengthened telomeres, contributing to greater longevity and overall health.
In addition to these and hundreds of more proven benefits of meditation, people who meditate also find themselves surrounded with happy coincidences and delightful synchronicity. Things just seem to go their way.
So how can we get started meditating, when it's something we've never done before?
Overcome Inner Resistance
As in all matters of health and wellbeing, we can be our own best friends and supporters on a path to improvement, or we can be self-saboteurs. Since meditation is turning out to be as important to good health as sleep, diet, and exercise, it's important to find ways to ensure we make time for it in our daily lives. And just like choosing diet and exercise programs that work best for you, a meditation program will be most rewarding and effective when it's well-suited to your individual strengths, style, and preferences. And when it's fun!
I've found that one of the best ways for me to stick with my commitment to daily meditation is to practice the types of meditation I most enjoy. There are so many types of meditation to choose from--yet I know I'll actually do the ones that feel just right for me, because I feel like they're actually fun! This tactic is a bit like "whistling while you work," but it's actually even better than that, because when I choose types of meditation I like to do, meditation isn't a bit like work!
Create Your Favorite Meditations
Here's a quick way to zero in on finding the best meditation technique for you. First, choose a favorite physically relaxing activity, and then select a favorite mental focus. When you combine these two, you'll have a customized meditation technique that is just right for you! To get started, honestly complete two sentences: (1) One of my favorite ways to relax is _________________ and (2) I most enjoy focusing my attention on ___________________.
It's helpful to take a look at examples of some different ways people might answer these questions, to give you an idea of how to construct personalized meditations, starting with the idea of taking a look at your favorite way to relax. And yes, simply doing whatever activity you find most relaxing can count as a form of meditation!
(1) One of my favorite ways to relax is to:
Listen to music
Work in the garden
Close my eyes and breathe deeply
Watch clouds go by
Take a hot bath
Go for a walk
People who enjoy walking can develop their own form of walking meditation. Some people count their breaths as they walk, others simply let go of their worries with each deep breath, and still others observe their thoughts go by without pursuing them. What sort of mental focus appeals to you?
|Cynthia Sue Larson using two wire coat hangers to dowse energy fields|
(2) I most enjoy focusing my attention on:
Letting go of all thoughts
Observing the patterns of thoughts
Feeling energy flowing through my body
Whatever mental focus most appeals to you is the one to try. Some people prefer to mull over various thoughts of the day, while others find a sense of nirvana in getting to a place of inner harmonious peace in which thoughts and feelings are cleared away as they show up. Some people feel relaxed by paying attention to bringing awareness to physical activities such as breathing, and take care to breathe more slowly and deeply to the lower abdomen. If you don't know what you prefer, then try out various ways to focus your attention until you find one that feels best to you.
This is really all there is to it... just combine one of your most relaxing activities with one of your most relaxing mental focuses, and you are meditating! You can even come up with a few favorite meditations, such as one that works best when first awakening, another one to do while showering or brushing your teeth, and yet another to do while taking a walk.
If you try one meditation and find you don't like it, then try another one. You can find something you like, so don't give up!
Listen to Recorded Meditations
Could you use a little extra help getting started with meditation? Or perhaps you could benefit from meditation assistance on days that are more challenging. Some people find it's easiest and most enjoyable to meditate with assistance from recorded meditations. My Aura Healing Meditations are available as an autographed CD through the RealityShifters website, as MP3 audio files, and tracks on iTunes and Amazon, and can be played to create a positive healing environment any time you wish to reduce stress, enhance your energy field, improve your health, and increase your effectiveness.
You can watch the video edition of this post on YouTube at: