5 Things You Should Know About Meditation


Purpose Fairy

“Meditation is listening to the Divine within.” ~ Edgar Cayce

Several of my clients get stuck during their meditation practice and often give up because they have some sort of misconstrued notion of what meditation actually is. Perhaps it’s all the photos of people meditating looking so peaceful that throw them off. They themselves don’t feel very peaceful, so they must be doing it all wrong, right? Little do they know that what they’re feeling/thinking is very normal. Here is a quick and dirty guide to either get you started or recharge your less-broken-than-you-think meditation practice.

1. You do not actually silence your thoughts.

You simply, or for some…not so simply, learn to watch them go by without attaching emotion to the thoughts. One of my meditation instructors described it as watching traffic without deciphering between the cars. When you realize you’ve gotten distracted by a certain thought, you simply come back to the breath and start again. No judgment.

2. You do not need to sit on a cushion with incense burning chanting mantras all night long.

Meditation doesn’t have to be all that formal or all that woowoo, actually. In fact, there is no one right way to meditate. Some people like to listen to music, whereas some practices teach you to focus on the breath. The best thing to do is to shop around and find what suits you best. There are free apps (I love Omvana), Pandora stations (Heart Meditations Radio), YouTube videos and many many more resources that will help along the way.

3. You do not need to block out a certain amount of time everyday.

Simple meditations can be as short as a single conscious, “Thank You!” A quiet moment of gratitude is a great place to start. And that can happen on the subway, stuck in traffic, in line at the grocery store, waiting at the Dr’s office, you name it. Tuning in to just a few conscious breaths each day is more powerful than you think.

4. Meditation is not attached to any specific religion.

Sure, many of the tenants of Eastern meditation come from Buddhism or other religions, however you do not need to believe in a certain doctrine in order to practice and receive the vast benefits of meditation. Vipassana meditation, for instance, is a practice originally taught by Gotama Buddha but has nothing to do with Buddhism per se. Vipassana meditation teaches you to focus on your breath and the physical sensations in/on your body that we often overlook, bridging the gap between mind and body.

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