Here at The Gaggler, we are getting very excited and almost obsessive about self-care. Over the last few months, the Gaggler team has experimented with different forms of self-care to carve out precious me-time as a way to cope with the daily stresses of working from home coupled with managing the daunting occasions when we must arm ourselves with mask, face-shield, gloves and a mental checklist of all the social distancing protocols when we venture out. The outside world is scary for us, still.
One of these self-care practices that has now become a personal lifesaver is meditation. There are many meditation methods, and, in this post, I would like to share with you, my personal experience with guided meditation. Firstly, let’s spend a moment to understand what is meditation and what can we expect to achieve by meditating?
What is meditation?
Meditation refers to a state where your body and mind are consciously relaxed and focused. Practitioners of this art report increased awareness, focus, and concentration, as well as a more positive outlook in life. Meditation has shown to reduce stress levels and alleviate anxiety. If we can reduce stress, there are many health benefits that follow.
Meditation is most commonly associated with monks, mystics and other spiritual disciplines. However, you don’t have to be a monk or mystic to enjoy its benefits. Studies have demonstrated that those who meditate on a regular basis have reduced illness, stress and fatigue. And you don’t even have to be in a special place to practice it – you can meditate in your living room!
But one of the most compelling reasons to meditate is that the process of meditation itself is sublime. Meditation is not dependent upon the result, but the act of meditation itself is blissful, transporting you to a state of contentment and tranquil awareness during the practice of meditation itself, and not just at the end of your practice.
How to meditate?
Now that we’ve touched on what meditation is, the next question typically is, “How do I meditate?” Most meditation practices include these components:
- You sit or lie in a relaxed position. You breathe regularly.
- You breathe in deep enough to get enough oxygen. When you breathe out, you relax your muscles so that your lungs are well emptied, but without straining.
- You stop thinking about everyday problems and matters.
- You concentrate your thoughts upon some sound (guided meditation), some words you repeat (mantra meditation), some image (visualization meditation), some abstract concept, or some feeling. Your whole attention should be pointed at the object you have chosen to concentrate upon.
- If some foreign thoughts creep in to distract, you just stop this foreign thought and go back to the object of meditation.
Seems straight-forward enough? Well it is and here’s where it can get interesting – the different meditation practices such as guided, non-guided, mantra, visualization, etc. differ according to the degree of concentration required, and how foreign thoughts are handled. When these foreign thoughts enter your meditative state, you observe these thoughts like passing clouds and let them go in a relaxed manner and re-enter your meditative state. The thoughts that come up, will often be about things you’ve forgotten or kept aside, and allow you to rediscover hidden memories and feel therapeutic.
After meditating, when I open my eyes the feeling of clarity and brightness is simply indescribable. It’s like being re-born every day. Aside from this feeling there are other benefits you can experience:
The benefits of meditation:
If the positive effects of meditation have peaked your curiosity, here is a simple form of meditation for you to try:
As you proceed through this meditation, you should feel steadily more relaxed in your mind and body, feel that you breathe steadily more effectively, and have a feeling of clarity come over you. As with any kind of activity that you are newly starting, take it slow and gently ease into the practice. You may start with 3-5 breaths and work up to 10 minutes and gradually expand your practice to longer duration.
Why you need to meditate:
All of us in modern times experience a constant onslaught of stress. Stress has become a way of life in our modern world. We are bombarded by uninvited energies in the form of such things as television, noise pollution, arguments, and angry or envious people. In order to counteract these enormously overwhelming forces of negativity, we need a superior power, gathered within ourselves; and meditation connects us to this internal reservoir of clarifying, enlightening energy.
Meditation is different things to different people. Some use it in place of, or in addition to, other therapies. Others find it most valuable as a tool to enhance sports or work performance, and to increase the memory and other mental functions. Some people rely upon it to help them deal with grief or the aftermath of trauma or tragedy, and to regain a contentment and appreciation for life’s beauty. And there are those who use meditation as a creative tool to inspire them in the arts. Meditation gives us stronger and more sustainable vigor, a natural “high”, energy, and calm, as it provides a restfulness that is comparable to deep, exceptionally restful sleep.
There are countless reasons to meditate, and one way to make the world a better and more peaceful and harmonious place, is for all of us to dedicate some time out of our stressful lives to pause and drink from the mental oasis of meditation practice.
We hope you will join The Gaggler team in some meditative self-care adventures and realize the wellbeing benefits to be gained. We would love to know if you do – direct message us on our Instagram page here: The Gaggler.