Meditation has been around for a long time, a very long time actually. The first documented evidence of meditation practice is from India approximately 5,000 to 3,500 BCE in the form of wall art. Today meditation is practiced by all around the world by people of all ages. Schools have also started to teach meditation as part of the school program. It's easily accessible for anyone as you only really need some space to sit and focus. At first, you may feel overwhelmed because you may think you need to sit and meditate for hours but only a few minutes of meditation can make a really huge impact on your well-being. Just as we spend time at the gym, we should start to allocate some time during the day to rest our mind through meditation. Meditation can help you reduce your stress, find balance, improve focus and calm the mind.
Find a nice space
You don't need a dedicated room for meditation, but you need to find some space that you feel comfortable in. You will make this space your own over time for meditation. Place some pillows on the floor in the lounge or your bedroom, this can be a great space to start your practice. If you are tight for space you can even sit on your couch or even the bed. The key is that you can be relaxed and it's a space that you can focus.
Do not disturb
Being present is critical for meditation and in today's connected world we are living a life full of notifications. Turn on do not disturb mode on your phone and escape being connected for the duration of your meditation session. It's your time to connect with your mind instead of connecting with technology. If you have family at home, let them know that you need space to meditate.
It's fine to let the mind wander
One of the first things you will experience as you start to meditate is that your mind will wander. Our mind is relentless and will always be filling up with thoughts and this is completely normal. Many people give up at this point as they feel like they can't focus but they don't realise that they need to embrace the mind when it wanders. Make it part of your meditation practice to identify those thoughts as they enter your mind, then you can learn to accept the reality of how your mind is operating. When a thought pops up in your mind, start to focus back on your breath, you will notice that over time your mind will stop wandering during your mediation practice.
Breathing is key
Breathing is important not just for mediation but for life in general. Focusing on your breath is one of the easiest ways to build your meditation practice. As you breath in, visualise your breath as your favourite colour. Do the same thing as you breathe out with a new colour. By focusing our breath we are grounding our mind to focus on something that takes away from the chaos of our thoughts. Experiment with different colours as you breathe in and out.
As you start to build a good foundation with your meditation then you can start to incorporate loving kindness into your practice. Firstly, think about your loved ones and the positive interactions you have had with them over time. The second part of this is to think about positive experiences about your extended network such as friends, acquaintances and co-workers. It's important to build a platform of positivity to combat negative relationships in your life, this is critical to loving kindness meditation. The final part of the meditation is to think about the wider world around you and how you can bring more care to the communities around the world who need it the most.
Finish with some tea
When we finish our meditation practice, we feel relaxed, happy and calm. This is a great opportunity to brew some fresh tea and chat to your family or friends. Be present and mindful as you drink the tea, breathe in the aroma and enjoy the taste as you drink it. Tea has a calming effect on our bodies and it's a great way to complete your meditation practice. Don't forget to be grateful for having the opportunity to meditate and enjoy tea in good health!