What Does Meditation Mean To You?
When we hear the word meditate, some people’s eyes glaze over, others giggle (thinking of the hippie movement which has given the practice a bad name!). Others think you mean have a mini-nap!
I know that was my first experience of meditation. Working in a high stress corporate environment, I went to a meditation class after work and simply fell asleep much to everyone’s amusement and my embarrassment!
Meditation is really not just one thing. It is different things to different people and in different cultures. For example someone in an office does not have quiet the luxury time that a Taoist monk in China would have!
So let’s explore the various ways we can meditate without falling asleep in the process. Hey that’s me, do I hear you say! I know the feeling. How many times have you attempted meditation?
Either on your own, in a group or by listening to a “can’t fail best-selling meditation guide”? But you still think how many minutes have I got left? What will I have for dinner? Did I turn my computer off at work, did I lock the office door?
Why is it our brilliant or sometimes not so brilliant human minds chatter on so much? Sometimes it is helpful to remind us of things or spur us on in difficult tasks or bounce back from adversity. But other times….would you just shut up!
So..this brings us to the topic of the ways of meditating. You see I have learned from when first failing to meditate using one of those complicated meditation plans from a best-selling book!
For me things have to be simplified, especially if it is outside work time. I want easy, fast, no hassle formula, quick fixes. In the past I have spent all day fighting new software installments, answering a hundred phone calls and dealing with so many people who bring their complex or bad days to my day, that I want simple:-)
So, what are the ways outside of using a sure to fail (for me!) meditation book or tape. Here are a few ways you can find some inner peace especially in your busy working days, which is often when you need some respite from that crazy, bustling, demanding work world
Ways To Meditate
#1. Deep Breathing In A Quiet Place
Go into a quiet part of the office, the toilet will do if there is nowhere else, but shut your eyes in there! Take a few breaths in, then hold your breath then breathe out.
Do this for at least 5 minutes straight and you will start to find yourself calmer, more centred as your breathing slows to normal. So many of us literally forget to take deep breaths in our busy lives. This generates more stress and more of a feeling of being uncentred.
Ideally though you can either go to an office or maybe a meeting room to do the exercise. I only mention the toilet since some offices literally have no private space in the entire buildings.
It is not a good idea or a cool look, to suddenly shut your eyes and start breathing in and out deeply. People might think you are more stressed than you are and that you are hyperventilating:-)
Take a 30-40 minutes lunch break. Decide you are going to dedicate it to getting re-focused and de-stressed by meditating. Go to a nearby park and sit on the grass with your legs crossed. Close your eyes. Then imagine you are at a beach or somewhere you enjoy in nature.
Take in the views, smell the salt of the waves, hear the sound of the waves as they lap the shore and as bigger waves crash onto the rocks nearby. Imagine you are on holidays first walking along the beach, then diving into the waves.
If you like to imagine that there are dolphins squealing as they frolic with you in the shallow waves. Stay in this vision for as long as you can sustain, all the while breathing in and out deeply. Feel yourself more at peace, happier and ready to start the second part of your day:-)
#3. Music & Aromatherapy
Meditating at the end of your day can be much easier. After all you are unwinding for the day and not needing to make the same demands of your mind, when you come out of your meditative state.
When you get home, get changed into old clothes, put on an aromatherapy burner or vaporizer. Essential oils to use include clary sage, bergamot and Roman chamomile oils. It is a good idea to put on some new age music, perhaps some with chanting or nature sounds such as forest streams, birds, sea crashing on a beach, gulls flying overhead or any other nature sounds.
This will all help create a multi-media “visual” in your brain. You will see the sights, smell them and feel their textures. Since it is the end of the day, it is a good idea to take more than 5 minutes doing this meditation. Instead do it for 30 minutes so that you are truly revitalised for the evening ahead.
#4. Exercise Meditation
If you go for a daily walk or swim in a pool or jog, block out everything but what you are experiencing. When a thought comes into your head. Grasp it and then send it floating away from you. Focus and tune in to everything you are experiencing as you walk, swim or jog.
In a way you are meditating by kind of losing yourself in the activity, oblivious to anything else or any other thoughts. When you are doing laps, lose yourself in the blue colour of the tiles, in the lane lines that you see as you plunge underwater each time.
Focus on nothing else but the relentless activity and in so doing lose yourself and immerse yourself in the sensory experiences, the smell of chlorine, the blue tiles, the light shining through the water, the echoing sound of swimmers and swim instructors.
#5. Bath Time Meditation
Pour yourself a nice warm bath. Add bath salts, bubble bath (re-discover the child in you, and that includes you men too!). Alternatively add a few drops of your favourite essential oils to your bath. Then light some white candles (for purity of thought) and possibly light some incense sticks.
Get into the bath and lose yourself in meditation. You can simply de-clutter you mind of the day, gradually switching off or you can do the visualization of a beach, a forest or whatever you want. You might want to imagine you are floating high in the sky, leaving all your cares and worries far behind:-).
So, as you can see there are many ways to meditate aside from the standard group meditation classes or book & tape meditation program.
In fact you may well find the above meditation techniques more natural and easier to incorporate in your busy, daily life. Remember too that if one form of meditation does not work for you, keep trying, even modify the above.
You may find a totally new way to meditate and slow your mind. Whatever the case, it is healthy for you to practice meditation and deep breathing exercises at least 2-3 times a day.
Oh and one last crucial point, turn off that mobile phone or tablet! You cannot even expect to start to meditate with half a dozen messages coming into your phone in a minute, telling you of the latest Facebook status updates, of your extracurricular work e-mails, ad infinitum!