First things first, this article is called meditation 101 because that’s the stage of my knowledge on meditation. Another thing I would like to clarify is that, even though I am not a master of meditation, I would like to share about it anyway because it makes me feel good, and I like to share everything that is good. So, with that out of they way, I would like to share some things I’ve learned about meditation.
Anyone can meditate everywhere
No, it doesn’t take a tatami, a meditation pillow, a yoga mat or incenses and tea. You can meditate while you commute, or in the comfort of your sofa or bed. You don’t have to practice yoga or be a vegan. Not even a vegetarian, actually. Meditation started as a Buddhist practice, but it has been scientifically proven that it improves your health. Those same studies proved that meditation can reduce stress, anxiety, depression, insomnia and even chronic pain or cancer. So it’s not only about being zen, but it’s about mental and physical health.
Meditation is not about not feeling or thinking
Meditation is not about completely emptying your brain from thoughts. It’s about being able to not judge them. The result of this is not making them bigger than what they are. You know when your friend is in a situation and you can give great advice, but when it comes to yourself it feel harder? Well, that’s what meditation is about. Is about stepping back and watch your thoughts, in that way you can remain calm, slow down and know what is the best thing to do in a given moment. Cool, right?
That’s the approximate time between you feeling something and acting on it. It might seem very immediate when we are at the peak of a feeling and we want to express it. Truth is, in our culture, we learn to repress some of what we consider ‘negative’ feelings as anger, sadness or frustration. By repressing a feeling we don’t learn how to deal with it, which can lead to several problems. But, if all of us act on our anger, we end up hurting each other. The solution for that dilemma is what meditation gives.
Instead of repressing or acting on a feeling, if you can amplify that 0,1 second, you can learn to manage it. To question, why am I feeling like this? What do I want to do with this feeling? Look back, just like a friend giving advice, and be able to feel it, understand it and go through it.
So, if you think that is cool and you want to try it out, I would like to invite you to meditate. There are several ways of doing it, and you can choose yours. But if you feel a little bit lost on where to start, I am going to share how I started. First, I downloaded the app Pause, three years ago. For me, it is still the best when I want to meditate by myself. But lately, I have been looking at guided meditation to understand better the technics of it, and I have been using the app Headspace for that. I swear I am not being paid to write this, those are really my tips, and as I said, you can start however you feel like it. Here is a video from Headspace that explains in a short and simple way what meditation can do for you.