Meditation seems to be on every personal development coach lips, but what is meditation? Why is it important for you and how to add it to your daily routine?
“You should sit in meditation for 20 minutes every day — unless you’re too busy. Then you should sit for an hour.” old zen saying
Let’ s try to figure out what meditation is
The etymological root of the word meditation is “to think, contemplate, devise, ponder”
Meditation is an ancient practice to help find inner harmony and peace. Civilisations all over the world practice mediation in their one way and form. Meditative prayers is an example.
Meditation is a tool to train our awareness over our thoughts and state of mind.
Now that we know what it is, why on earth do we recommend it?
In our modern society, events in our life follow one another at a very fast pace, often with little time to rest, or reflect. We are constantly solicited by work, social and familial duties, and financial responsibilities. We are involved with people around us – some we choose and some we don’t – who comes with their own agenda, intentions and sollicitations. It can get so intense to the point of being overwhelming.
Without mental clarity and awareness, we live on autopilot. We let the flow of our lives take control over us rather than the other way round, leading us to feel unhappy and even sometimes depressed.
Sitting down and practicing mindfulness meditation, listening to our thoughts and organising them, eventually, will help us navigate the jungle of our daily life.
There is peace in the practice of sitting still and looking within.
Ok, but how does one meditate?
There are so many ways to meditate, and we can’t possibly list them all here. We will share recommandataions from a wellbeing perspective.
There is no right or wrong. Try and see what suits you best. You do what is best for you, in the best way, at the best time.
Step by step guide
1- Find a quiet place in your home
2- Set it up for meditation – Set your intention
It can be as simple as a mat or pillow to sit on. You can light up a candle if you want to. Prepare your space will help you get into the right state of mind before you start
3- Sit down in a comfortable way
4- Set a time limit
You can start with one minute, and increase it slightly every day. Set a timer and forget about it
5- Pay attention to your breathing
With your eyes close or open, as you prefer. Follow your breathing movements as air goes in and out of your body
6- Notice your mind journey
Acknowledge your thoughts without judgement but without interacting with it. Distance yourself from it as if you would look at people sitting at a cafe.
7- End gently noticing how you feel and close the meditation practice with gratitude
8 – Time of the day
There is no prescription as to when you should do it. In the morning, it prepares you for the day, and it is your “me time” before your day start. If you choose to do it in the middle of the day, it might offer a nice break from everything else that is going on and allows you time to reset. In the evening, before sleeping, it will clear your mind of the stress of your day and help improve your sleep. Whenever you choose to do it, just put in in your agenda, and make it part of your routine so you don’t miss it, even if it is for 5 mn or less. The key here is consistent daily practice.
Good to know
Your mind will wander. As soon as you start, your mind will go to the grocery shopping list, to your recent conversations with friends and family, to assignments you need to do. That is fine. Acknowledge your thoughts, without judgements, and go back to your breathing. Going back to your breathing will bring you back to the present moment and is an anchor to your point of attention. The mind wanders all the time, because it has not yet been trained to focus. By increasing your daily practice of mindfulness meditation you will learn how to train it to focus on what you want. It can be one thought at a time, one object or nothing at all. Be patient, and kind to yourself. It takes time. Meditation is a journey not a destination.
The practice of meditation is as easy and hard as it seems. It is complex and simple at the same time. At first, it can even seem dull and boring. Especially for the type of mind like mine that couldn’t stay still and would wander in so many different, and often unwanted, places.
That is what resistance does to you. But as you persist and introduce the practice in a daily routine without being forceful or judgemental to yourself, it slowly become a practice that brings peace within . A practice you would want to go back to on the hardest days, a safe haven to build up force to go back and fight whatever battle life throws at you.
The benefits of meditation
- Lower stress level
- Bring clarity on your day
- reduce anxiety
- Better mood
- Clear mind
- Improve focus
- Improve sleep
In my journey to meditation, I have been inspired by Dandapani’s work and his Unwavering focus course. If you want to learn more about Dandapani and his work, you can find him here
Let us know how your meditation journey has been. We want to hear from you! Tell us what has worked and what hasn’t.