“When you can’t go outside, go inside.” This quote is gaining popularity during this pandemic period when most of us are stuck inside our houses. Unlike travelling to different places, we aren’t used to going inwards into our own mind and thoughts. We have maps, compasses, and so on to guide our journey outwards, but we aren’t aware of the tools and techniques of starting our journey inwards. In this case, meditation can be one of the important tools which can guide us.
So, what is meditation? Meditation simply means bringing our mind and body to the present. However, different people define it through different methods that they use for practicing meditation. Some consider that it simply means to sit with their eyes closed and legs crossed while not having any thoughts in their mind while some consider it as the practice giving their complete attention to the task in hand. However, since our mind is always engaged with past thoughts or future imaginations, it is easier to get clogged with thoughts which is the exact opposite of meditation. Therefore, many people view meditation as a practice with the aim of training our attention and awareness so that we become mentally clear and emotionally calm in the present moment.
From increasing our awareness to improving our mood and reducing stress, there have been many proven benefits of meditation. There are various techniques of meditation, some of which include mindfulness, focusing on a single thought, mantra chanting, or conscious breathing. No matter which technique we use, meditation includes focusing our mind and stepping away from the routine environment that is around and within us. Our body’s physiology undergoes a change while we are meditating due to which every cell in the body is filled with more energy as we ground ourselves within our body away from the external world. As a result, the level of energy in the body increases and we feel joyous, peaceful, and enthusiastic. Since meditation involves actively controlling our physical and mental actions, many people find meditation difficult and give up on it quite easily. Regardless, there are some easy ways to incorporate meditation practices into our daily routine. One of the easiest ways is to be mindful while performing our daily tasks, i.e., being completely focused in the present moment. An example of this is mindful eating, where we are totally focused on the food we are eating along with, its taste, texture and smell. Doing so can help us to realize its importance in our survival and we naturally become grateful towards it.
Another way of incorporating meditation in our daily lives is to perform conscious intentional breathing. Whenever we feel like our mind is too occupied by past thoughts or future imaginations, we can shift our focus in our breathing to bring our mind to the present. Focusing on long deep intentional breaths for a while will cleanse and nourish our mind, whenever we feel overwhelmed, unstable, or emotionally shut down. We can also reach a meditative state by chanting mantras or hymns. Mantras are sacred utterances having deep spiritual significance, which may contain words and sounds such as “Om”. When we are repeating a mantra, in our head or out loud, that mantra occupies our mind and helps to prevent it from drifting off in other directions. There are various other meditation techniques, and we can choose the best technique that suits us. However, one must be consistent with the routine in order to get its maximum benefits. Like any other skills, when we cultivate meditation with love and effort, it blossoms.