What is Meditation?

Sally Walker
Written by Sally Walker

‘So what is meditation?’ is the first cry that normally echoes around when mentioned in conversation. Most people perhaps have a picture of someone sat in a cross legged position, eyes firmly shut and chanting ‘om’. Well yes if you want to, though you can sit on a chair or lie down.  Eyes shut, again, yes if that helps, but eyes open can also work, there’s no right or wrong, just how comfortable you feel. Perhaps a better question could be ‘so what can meditation do for me?’ My best reply is that it’s a way to achieve a calm, still, quiet mind and a chance to relax for a little while before hurtling on through the busy world in which we all live. Meditation is for everyone, no matter what age or gender. It can be done at any time of the day…or night and also anywhere, indoors, outdoors, in the country or town, the possibilities are endless. Here are just a few of the benefits of meditating regularly.

1. You will become more mindful and aware

Being mindful means that you are more aware of your thoughts and your actions in general. Meditation offers you the time to reflect on your thoughts and focus mainly on your breathing or some other aspect of your being. This kind of awareness is a useful skill as you progress through your everyday life.

2. It can decrease unnecessary stress

Some stress is unavoidable. Too much stress can be unhealthy and damaging if you are unable to combat it. Meditation is a quiet time you should dedicate to yourself every day. Simply closing your eyes and steadily breathing has a tremendous effect, especially when you acknowledge stressful situations arising.

3. You will gain more control over emotions

When you are happy, you want to express those emotions freely. At the same time, you may want to express emotions of anger, sadness, and grief, but under your own control. Meditation gives you the opportunity to do this. The more you meditate, the more you will notice the thoughts and actions that trigger the emotions you might not find desirable.

4. You will likely make better life decisions

As you gain more awareness of your thoughts, actions, and emotions, you will notice that you make better decisions. This understanding arms you with the skills to think before you act and therefore make purposeful decisions.

5. It can help you slow down the pace you live your life

Most people live life at an extremely fast pace, and unless you really, really enjoy this, you are going to want to slow down and enjoy living. Meditation arms you with the ability to take life gradually. Slow down your mind first, and then everything else will follow suit.

6. You can learn a useful new skill

If nothing else, you will learn something new through meditation. Meditation is a skill, and like any skill, it takes much practice and concentration. There is no right or wrong way to do it. You simply can’t fail at meditating.

7. You can experience more well-being

Who doesn’t want to be happier and feel more contented with life? Meditating consistently is a great way to open your eyes to your life, and really experience all that life has to offer. It will help you appreciate life more and feel more connected with the world you live in.

8. You can do it anywhere

Find a place that is comfortable for you to meditate. Some people use a quiet space at home or in the office. You can meditate outside in nature as well. Look for a place that is inviting and calm and make that your spot.

9. There are physical benefits

The physical benefits of meditation include decreased blood pressure. Meditation can help normalise blood pressure because of what’s called the “relaxation response,” which helps produce more of the compound nitric oxide. Meditation can also play an integral role in maintaining and even strengthening your immune system

10. It works

I wouldn’t be advising you to meditate if I didn’t believe that it works. There is a lot of science behind the benefits of meditation. It is proven that long-term meditation practitioners are more adept to dealing with the ebbs and flows of life. The time between thoughts gradually increases as you meditate which invites the opportunity for you to consider your thoughts more carefully and, perhaps, rationally.

Besides all these great benefits, meditation has the capability to broaden your consciousness, which in turn will grant you the ability to understand your feelings and thoughts more. And the more conscious you become through meditation, the more control you are going to have over your emotions, and the more likely you are to choose to live happily.

As for chanting ‘om’, well, I leave that one to you 😊