The Point of Meditation

by Shannon

Not sure what possessed me to decide to learn to meditate.  It’s not a religious thing or even a spiritual thing for me.  I’m not praying to anyone/anything.  I’m not communing with nature. I’m just sitting.

I started off a couple of weeks ago with just 5 minutes. I knew if I tried to go longer to start with, I’d be done before I ever got going.  After a few days, I increased to 6, then to 7, then to 8.  Today I jumped to 10.

I haven’t been sitting cross-legged on the floor…mainly because my hips would be screaming afterward and I’d be incapable of walking for a month.  Until today, I’ve been sitting in my reading chair in my office.  Today I tried the floor in a modified cross-legged position which, thankfully, didn’t kill me.  The only reason I moved to the floor was because, even upright, in my nice cushy chair, I had verged on falling asleep a few times last week.  :)

I don’t hold my fingers in cute little “OK” signs resting on my knees.  I don’t chant “OM” over and over again.

What do I do while I’m meditating?

Nothing. Which is the point.

In this busy, busy world of ours, we don’t often think about the benefits of doing nothing.  Meditation — which can be nothing more than just sitting and focusing on your breath — teaches us to do nothing. Even if for only a few minutes at a time. It quiets the mind, creating a few moments of rest.

The benefits are said to include things like:

Stress reduction

Lowering of blood pressure

Improved concentration

Increased creativity

 

These are all things we could use more of in our lives, no?

All that said, meditation isn’t easy.  In fact, today was the hardest day yet.  I blame the fact that I had decided to blog about it, which meant that, while I was supposed to be concentrating on my breathing, my mind was “writing” out loud what I could say about meditation — including how hard it was.  I kept having to drag my thoughts away from how hard it was, because it wouldn’t have seemed so hard if I wasn’t thinking about how hard it was.

Still, I made it through the ten minutes.  The headache that I’d had all morning was gone.  And I was ready to write. Surprisingly, I find myself craving the next time I can meditate.

So, how do you do it? Start with five minutes. Set a timer, sit in a comfortable position (but not too comfortable or you’ll fall asleep if you’re anything like me). Once you’re situated, start the timer and focus on your breathing. You can even silently say In and Out, to keep yourself concentrating on your breathing. Your mind will drift. As soon as it does, just go back to concentrating on your breathing.

Don’t get frustrated with the drifting mind.  It’s okay!  The whole point is to notice it and let it go.  You’re not being bad. You’re not doing it wrong.  I promise.

As the days go by, increase the amount of time you sit. Only by a minute or two at a time, unless you are so motivated.  I still wonder if I can ever go as long as 20 minutes or so, but I may get that far.  I’m really interested to see, over time, if my creativity improves.  I’ll keep you posted.

Anyone willing to give it a try?

 

Image Credit:  Roshnii

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