In Zen Buddhism, meditation is considered the path to enlightenment. It clears the mind, oxygenates the body and gives you an enhanced understanding of both yourself and your surroundings. If there’s one skill that will help you to master yourself, meditation is it.
I’m no expert on the subject but I do enjoy meditation. I first learned it in a Sports Psychology class about 15 years ago and have practiced it with good effect ever since. When I’m meditating, I feel better. I’m able to focus more and have a greater sense of myself.
Maybe it’s the extra oxygen running through my veins. Maybe it’s the reduced levels of cortisol. Maybe it’s the ability to clear my mind on command. Probably, it’s a combination of them all.
When I do it regularly, I feel like I’m in control. When I don’t, I get agitated and out of whack too easily.
If you’ve never tried meditation before, that’s OK. It’s pretty simple to learn. All you need is some free time and a quiet place. Here’s how to meditate:
1. Find a comfortable posture, either sitting or lying down.
2. Close your eyes and relax all muscles in your body, including the face. Breathe in deeply through the nose and out through the mouth making sure that the belly expands and falls with each breath.
3. Let thoughts float in and out of your mind never fixing on any of them – always come back to your breathing.
4. Continue for at least 10 minutes, maintaining your stillness of mind.
5. When you feel ready, get up and shake yourself off.
Start practicing two to three times per week and see if you can build up to daily sessions. The more you do it the better you will get and the easier you’ll find it is to relax.
With enough practice you should be able to attain a quiet mind anytime and anywhere, even in a crowded place or stressful situation. You may also notice that calm feeling follows you into your day to day life.
That’s when you know you’ve nailed it.
IMAGE: DAVE MATHIS