When you consider the benefits of Meditation… A sharper mind, reduced stress and better sleep, it’s no wonder it has developed a prominent perch in the self-help movement. But despite its immense popularity, this ancient practice can seem inscrutable, even intimidating. Well, you can exhale: Meditation is easy to begin and simple to maintain, and it can be easily integrated into busy lives.
What is the purpose of meditation?
Mediation is a practice taken on by those who seek to experience greater joy, peace and a deeper understanding of themselves and the world around them.
This type of understanding often comes from beyond the mind and can connect us with our true essence; which some describe as a state of absolute bliss.
The mind puts us in the past or future, but the goal of meditation is to be in the present, where thoughts are not needed.
“Mindfulness” is a great tool gained through meditation, where we encounter the world through our five senses as opposed to the thinking mind, allowing us to ‘just be’ instead of having to define or interpret everything.
Being fully present in your meditation would be ideal but the truth is thoughts do come up, instead of trying to push them away, just allow them to come and then pass like clouds in the sky.
Your thoughts are not who you are, you are simply the observer of them and there is great power in knowing that. You truly are so much more than that pesky voice in your head!
The goal is to be here and now, a place where we can easily let go of the past that weighs us down and find the calm needed to overcome challenges ahead.
How to do it?
Sit crossed legged with your back straight, eyes closed, chin slightly down and palms up, resting on your knees. Focus on your breath, inhaling deeply through your nose, filling up your entire belly with air and exhaling through the mouth. Focusing on the breath helps us stay present. Set a timer for how long you would like to practice, I would recommend starting with 5 minutes and then increasing by 5 minutes every day until you reach a time you feel most comfortable with.
This is not a time to analyze, it’s a time to sit still, in silence and just be, although there is nothing wrong with thoughts or emotions coming up. Surrender to what arises, even if it’s uncomfortable.
Remember what you accept will pass and what you resist persists. Acceptance is another powerful tool gained through meditation that can easily dissolve our negative emotions. Just breathe.
In a society where we are presented with constant stimuli, mediation can be difficult but the more you practice the easier it becomes and eventually you will be able to reach the state of ‘no mind” a place where the true gifts of the practice will be revealed.
Who is it best for?
Meditation benefits literally anyone but can be essential for people that undertake a high level of responsibility in their lives, providing them great relief from their pressures. Pretty much anyone who is stressed, depressed or worn out should give it ago and see how much it will assist them in feeling better. Also, people that look for deeper meaning in their lives will naturally be drawn to it and usually find that it really does uncover the depth they are looking for.
When should you do it?
Meditation is best done first thing in the morning or last thing before you go to sleep. But you can literally do it anytime you feel like it! Whatever works best for YOU.
Why you should do it?
The benefits of meditation are countless but some of the most profound effects I’ve experienced are a clear and focused mind, increased intuition and awareness, a happier demeanor, more energy and an overall sense of calm and well-being.
It is also known to reduce stress, anxiety and depression, leaving you feeling much brighter and lighter than when you started.
Meditation invites feelings of gratitude, confidence and has the ability to heal emotional wounds. A daily practice can dramatically alter the quality of your life.
Where you should do it?
Find a quiet place in your home where you won’t be disturbed or in a secluded spot outside in nature.
If you want to take a meditation class, I highly recommend The Den Meditation in Hollywood or Studio City, with a vast array of different types of meditation classes offered, it’s a wonderful place to deepen your practice and connect with like-minded individuals.
If you want to sit outside in a gorgeous and peaceful setting, I can’t recommend The Self Realization Center in the Pacific Palisades enough. You’ll have a profound meditation surrounded by a beautiful lake, stunning flowers and a majestic waterfall.
Another amazing and insightful spot is the Peace and Awareness Labyrinth in West Adams. There you can take a tour of the estate, centre yourself while walking through the labyrinth and enjoy a revitalizing meditation in the gardens. https://www.peacelabyrinth.org/
If you don’t have the time to visit these places but are still looking for a little inspiration you can try downloading an app called Headspace that will propel you forward in your practice through guided mediations and a daily routine. https://www.headspace.com/
There are many high-profile people that owe a great deal of their sustained success to mediation, celebrities like Katy Perry, Oprah Winfrey, Paul McCartney and Tony Robbins are all regulars of the practice and owe a lot of their accomplishments to what they’ve gained from it.
Meditation is one of the greatest forms of self-care available and doesn’t cost a thing, with just a few minutes every day, you can tap into the core essence of your being, which is LOVE and that love overcomes fear every time. Personally, I don’t leave the house without it and ever since I’ve started practicing every day, I feel much more equipped to take on anything that life throws my way. I invite you all to try it – you may be pleasantly surprised at what you find.
By Bella Popa