"Be still and know the Light you seek is already within you." - O.Darden
1. What is Meditation?
How would you define meditation?
Definition: “In its simplest and most general sense meditation is a mental discipline involving attention regulation.” (Gawler & Bedson, 2010, p.5)
My definition of meditation:
Meditation is the practice of quiet ATTENTION/concentration and awareness.
With meditation, not only are we training our mind to focus, we are also training ourselves to have more control over our mind. In this way we become less at the mercy of our ever-changing thoughts and are better able to live calmly in the present moment.
2. Why is meditation important?
Meditation is important because it allows us to be receptive to the wisdom of our true selves.
…brings balance to mind, body and spirit which can facilitate healing
…reduces our levels of stress and anxiety
…allows us to handle stress more gracefully
…teaches us to observe ourselves without judgment
…develops our awareness of Self
…sharpens our awareness
…connects us with our truth
…develops compassion, acceptance and love for Self and others
…teaches us surrender, to allow and accept what is
…expands our sense of self
…develops trust in ourselves
…awakens us to the Reality of life
3. What are the different approaches to meditation?
Attention: brings the focus to an object, mantra, a feeling, a thought, etc.
Intention: sets an intention for the meditation (e.g. stress relief, to abide in God)
Inquire: to contemplate a question (e.g. Who am I? What nourishes me?)
Mindfulness Based Stillness Meditation (MBSM)
Preparation – prepare yourself and environment for meditation
Relaxation – relax your mind and body
Mindfulness – fully bring your attention to the breath Stillness – experience the spaciousness that is stillness
4. What are some of the common challenges to meditation practice?
Too many thoughts?
Try giving your thoughts permission to be present themselves for your observation (not entertainment). This technique can sometimes have the effect of keeping thoughts away!
Having trouble sitting still?
Try a walking meditation or T’ai Chi or Qi Gong
Having trouble making time for meditation?
Develop and ideal, a reason, why you want to meditate. Perhaps you want to cultivate compassion, to be of service to others, or to simply enjoy life more fully. You may find your ideal gives you the extra boost of motivation to include meditation as a daily part of your life.
You can also find creative ways to meditate without formally sitting for meditation. One of my most used are mindful driving, mindful cleaning, and hand over heart for 1 minute.
Gawler, I., & Bedson, P. (2010) Meditation: An In-Depth Guide.Penguin Group, New York, New York
Kornfield, J (2004) Meditation for Beginners. Sounds True, Boulder Colorado
Kornfield, J. (1993) A Path With Heart. Bantam Books, New York, New York
Hahn, T. (1991) Peace is Every Step. Bantam Books, New York, New York