Meditation is the way we use our minds to help ourselves become more peaceful, attentive and appreciative to the world around us.
How does it do that? By quieting our minds and slowing down we can learn how to see what is around us more clearly. We can remove distractions and see what is really we need to see or feel.
Mindfulness meditation encourages the practice of observing the wondering thoughts that enter into our minds. Let them come in, but then release them back out. Honor yourself for the work that you are doing, understanding that you can’t shut off your thoughts, allow them to come in and out without action.
In a second type of meditation, concentration meditation, we focus on a single point like breath, mantra or a candle flame. This type wants you to refocus your attention on an object each time your mind wonders. This will improve your overall concentration both on and off your mat.
Yogi’s often combine both mindfulness and concentration type of meditation. Others enjoy walking meditation like Tai Chi or Qigong. In any type, peace, calmness, and the practice of instant forgiveness is gained as we allow concentration to break we refocus and start again.
Many find it challenging to just start. Sometimes using a guided meditation or starting with 3 to 5 minutes at a time we can find beginning such a practice more successful. When beginning find your comfortable place in a seated position, close your eyes and release the control of your breath. Once their just soften your shoulders, your heart and let the calmness in.
Stacie A. Zamperini M.Ed.