As of lately, I’ve personally noticed an increasing number of my peers getting in to the practice of meditation and yoga. While a lot of people still consider yoga to be for “hippies” and other certain counterculture groups, I believe that you do not have to compromise any of your current religious beliefs/practices to benefit from meditation.
To meditate doesn’t mean you’re suddenly a devout Buddhist, a flower child from the 1960s, or trying to learn to levitate. You don’t have to listen to ocean and wind or other nature sounds and get in touch with your “inner” self. Sometimes, all it means is some time alone with yourself to clear you head a bit. If you let go of all of the preconceived notions of what meditating is and the people who are “supposed” to do it, you can easily get in to the habit of practicing mediation yourself.
To start, I recommend going to a clean, open area, simply because it’s hard to have a clear head in a messy room!
Next, if you’re not in to nature sounds or the stereotypical trippy wind chime music, simply turn off your television and eliminate any audio/visual distractions around you. Having your iPhone go off every 5 minutes or listening to Real Housewives of Atlanta in the background sort of eradicates the purpose.
Finally, sit in a comfortable position with your eyes closed for around 10 minutes (to start, anyway. You can work your way up to longer stretches of time). It often helps for beginners to have a certain goal in mind when meditating; for example, you can maybe try to read a bible verse before-hand, so for the 10 minutes you meditate, you can think of what the verse means to you and how to incorporate it in to your day. Another way is to practice breathing exercises so you have something to focus on while avoiding feeling so silly if you’re still uncomfortable with the idea of meditating.
Mediation is a great way to start your morning or end your evening, or even to regroup a little during a hectic day. In this digital age where we have numerous distractions constantly clouding our minds, it’s always beneficial to have some time to yourself and not get too caught up in the rapidly moving world around you.
-Raven Jahän Joyner, PABPG Inc. President