Meditation is an increasingly practiced activity, in various forms and for various purposes.
As with any type of activity, it is more your personal experience of pursuing it, that will allow you to form your own conclusions. Sit down for five minutes after reading this and give it a go, you may get up in a completely altered perception.
Need to use your day more efficiently?
Meditation can improve your cognition and concentration. With a more focused mind and an enhanced cognitive faculty, you can accomplish more in less time.
Need to cut back on your cups of coffee?
Meditation can help you control your addictions by detaching mind from the sensations of craving and reducing the density of related thoughts. For example, benefits have been experienced in smoking reduction and maintenance.
Want to be happier, less stressed, and more peaceful?
In a review of 47 randomized studies by researchers at Johns Hopkins, meditation was found to potentially rival anti-depressants and lead to significant improvements in depression and anxiety after 8 weeks of practice.
Want to remember where you left your keys?
Meditation can help you control your wandering mind,both during practice and as an overall habit after sustained practice. Though you may not experience improvements in attention after just one session, over time it has demonstrated benefits in improving and attention.
Want to preserve your brain health into old age?
Long-term meditators have greater grey matter density in their brain. By changing your brain structure, meditation could make you immune to brain-related diseases in old age.
The effective practice of meditation rests on three main pillars:
Consistency means that it is far more important to practice every day for ten minutes rather than spend 10 hours in a retreat. You could do this any time of the day, at any location.
Simplicity means that it is not required to engage in complex, esoteric methods, nor does it require special teachers, courses or technology. Simplicity is also a state of mind in not forming expectations from your practice, but rather observing what happens.
The basic practice of mindfulness meditation is observation of your breathing. You can sit in a comfortable position with an upright posture, close your eyes, and place your attention on the movements of your abdomen as you breath in and out. Since you are not consciously controlling your breathing, you have the ability to observe it. If your mind wanders, bring it back to the observation of your breathing. Note that this is different from concentration: observation is passively being aware of what is happening, concentration is focusing on a particular object.
Though perhaps uncomfortable at first, invest five minutes of your day in sitting by yourself in observation, it will help you function better in all aspects of your life. However, meditation is not a panacea. If you are having problems in a certain aspect of your life, look to your eating, sleeping and exercise patterns to bring yourself into physical, mental and emotional harmony.
Written by Kamya