Tuesday, October 25, 2016

How To Find Calm With Meditation

By Sharee James

Perhaps you have tried meditation and come away disappointed - you were expecting to feel calm, happy and focused, and instead got into an internal battle against your unruly mind! Rest assured, you are not alone. Meditation is an incredible tool to help you feel calmer, happier and more centered but many novices are under the mistaken impression that they have to try to stop their thoughts - and sadly give up when they realize they are unable to do this.

Trying to stop your thoughts is a recipe for failure. Meditation is actually quite easy. Though there are countless meditation techniques out there (for example breath awareness, mantra repetition, noticing the sensations in your body, or gazing at a candle or a mandala), none of them require you to try to stop your thoughts. Basically there are just 2 steps to most types of meditation practices.

Firstly, focusing your attention on the object of your concentration, and secondly, when your mind wanders (which it will OVER and OVER again) simply notice and bring it back to your object of concentration. Rinse and repeat.

With practice, instead of squelching your thoughts, you begin to hone your ability to not to get LOST in your thoughts or passively dragged along by the stream of your mindand you start to tap into a different aspect of the mind: awareness.

Most of us spend the majority of our daily lives caught up in our THINKING MIND rather than our aware mind, and our thinking mind is where we experience our stress, frustration and worry. The nature of the thinking mind is to chew on problems, create a lot of internal noise and fixate on the future or the past. Unfortunately, the present moment is never enough for the thinking mind, it is always searching for something better or different, which of course, is a recipe for unhappiness.

Conversely, the aware mind, is not bound to the past or the future, but the experience of here and now. This leads to surrender, satisfaction and peace because it seeks nothing, it simply experiences the moment as it is. Regular meditation practice develops your mind's ability to slip into the state of awareness more easily, and gradually, this awareness starts to affect your everyday life in positive ways.

The benefits of meditation become more pronounced with regular practice, at least 10 to 20 minutes per day. So many areas of your life can change for the better: increased focus is a boon to your work life, increased compassion improves relationships and the new ability to be more self-aware means you can make healthier, more conscious choices for yourself. Your resilience and ability to cope with stress, anxiety or depression becomes stronger. And most importantly, being able to live in the present moment means you can truly enjoy all that your life has to offer.

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