There’s lots of different types of meditations and even more people and apps helping you to do them. But what are they for, how do they work, and how do you make meditation a practice that works for you.
Let’s debunk one of my favourite myths – meditation is about clearing/emptying your mind. Not at all, and definitely not for me in any of the practices I have followed and do follow now.
Meditation is about creating focus and opening awareness. Focusing your attention, ideally on something that allows you to feel relaxed, at ease, centred, joyful, at peace.
Now my next favourite myth – I can’t meditate.
Well now that you know it’s not about emptying your mind, your one step closer to success. Let me take you another step closer, everyone can meditate, we only have to learn to get our body to listen to our mind and sit in it. You can easily be distracted, and man alive I’ve been there many times, but it’s about applying some will power and bringing your focus and attention back. The more often you bring your focus back the more you train your body to sit in this focused awareness. It takes practice – we’ve all created unhealthy habits through practice, so why would this be different.
Now trust me, it gets good! Once you’ve overcome your fidgety body, and your mind wandering all over the place to “more important” things – it gets REALLY good!
How does meditation work and what is it for?
Think about falling asleep, there’s an in between moment of conscious awareness but where you’ve lost feeling of your body…I sometimes get twitches, or my leg might spasm just before I go into sleep. Right then your body’s parasympathetic nervous system (PSNS) or “rest and digest” state is beginning to activate; when you meditate you move your body into this state. Why is that important? When in this state, you are directing effort to rest, digestion repair, healing – moving energy away from your peripheral organs (arms and legs which are much needed in stress response, e.g. Running away from a wild lion, and general physical movement) to your core internal organs – allowing them to better digest and move nutrients around the body to cells that need them for reproduction, growth and repair.
As you start to deepen your practice, you can start to learn how to focus your awareness out of your body completely! Imagine that…
How do you make meditation work for you?
You’ll not love me for saying it, but the best way to make meditation work for you is to start doing it. As I’ve said already, committing the time to meditate and giving yourself the space for it will start to create a healthy habit.
So go ahead, be your best 😉