This is for those of us who have tried to meditate and found it to be an impossible task.
You’ve probably heard that you can have success in dealing with anxiety through meditation. You may have even tried to meditate but, like many, found it to be more frustrating than relaxing. Although, there are many different forms of meditation, the prominent belief is that meditating means that you need to clear your mind of all thoughts.
With everything that we have going on in our lives, this is a big task. Most people can't even clear their minds of all thoughts for even 30 seconds, let alone 15 minutes. Even while sleeping, our minds are active.
So congratulations to those of you who can successfully clear your mind of all thoughts during meditation. This article is for the rest of us who have tried to do that and found it to be an impossible task that led to self-recrimination and feeling like a failure.
Here’s an easy way to learn how to relax through meditation and use it to change your life.
Research On Meditation:
The research is clear that one of the major benefits of meditation is that it can elicit the relaxation response. But Dr. Herbert Benson, a Harvard Physiologist, questioned the reports on the benefits of meditation and decided to find out for himself if these reports were true.
If you’ve ever been in a near car accident, you’ve experienced the stress response – increased heart rate, increased respiratory rate, tightened muscles, and many other responses we’re not so aware of such as decreased digestion, changes in the circulatory system, and decreased immune and inflammatory systems. Once you realize you’re okay, you start to experience the relaxation response – your heart rate, respiratory rate, muscle tension, digestion, circulation, immune system, etc. go back to their previous level of functioning.
Dr. Benson scientifically studied students of Transcendental Meditation by measuring different physiological states while they meditated. What Dr. Benson’s research showed was that Transcendental Meditation was able to activate what he called the relaxation response, the opposite of the stress response, and how we would feel without stress. In his book, The Relaxation Response, he outlines how meditation can be an antidote to stress.
An Easy Way To Meditate:
Transcendental Meditation is not the only form of meditation that can elicit the relaxation response. The type of meditation I teach can also elicit the relaxation response and it’s very easy to learn and practice.
Before you begin meditating, set an intention for the meditation practice. For example, set an intention to get clarity about a problem. Or set an intention to experience oneness with the Creator. You can choose whatever intention you want. I won’t say more about this because I don’t want to create or influence your expectations. It’s the lack of expectation that allows this process to unfold effortlessly. In fact, this whole meditation is about lack of effort.
You don’t need to meditate for more than 15 minutes (unless you want to). You do need a quiet place where you’ll be undisturbed. It’s even better if that space is someplace you find relaxing. For example, it’ll be harder to meditate if you’re near the kitchen and your kitchen sink is full of dishes or if you’re near your computer and it makes a sound every time an email comes in. If you live in a small place and you have no choice but to be near distractions, don’t worry. You can still do this meditation. Obviously, never meditate while driving or doing anything that requires you to focus and concentrate because your eyes will be closed during this meditation and your mind will be elsewhere.
Begin your meditation by sitting comfortably in your quiet space with your eyes closed. I use the analogy of being in a coffee shop or a café and sitting by the window. When you do this, you notice people walking by. Some of those people seem like nice people that you wouldn’t mind getting to know. Others seem like you would have nothing in common with them and wouldn’t feel like inviting them to sit with you. Our thoughts are like the people we see passing by. They come and they go. Unlike the people we see passing by, we tend to invite unwanted thoughts to stick around and these unwanted thoughts invite other unwanted thoughts to surround us as well.
During this meditation, just as you would simply watch the people go past you, you’ll watch your thoughts enter your mind and allow them to leave your mind. You aren’t trying to empty your mind of all thoughts. You’re allowing any thoughts that come up to enter your mind and then allowing them to leave your mind. Practice this for 15 minutes.
Applying Meditation to Everyday Life:
This type of meditation has both short term and long term benefits. The short term benefit includes the immediate feeling of relaxation due to temporarily disconnecting your emotions from the thoughts that normally create those emotions. The long term benefits include an overall feeling of lower stress levels and a calmer approach to situations. The bonus is based on your intention prior to meditating. The people I’ve worked with have reported experiences such as a deeper sense of connection with who they are, a greater perspective on their life, new solutions and synchronicities, etc.
But the key to experiencing the benefits of meditation is to practice meditating on a regular basis. It does you little good to practice it occasionally but it’ll do you enormous good to practice meditating on a daily basis. Could you wake up 15 minutes earlier to make your life that much better? Isn’t 15 minutes very little to ask in comparison to lower stress levels and a better life?
If you’re committed to controlling your stress and having the life you want, watch this free 10 minute meditation video now.