De-stress and refresh through meditation.

In an increasingly harried, depressed world, it’s important to take time to de-stress and refresh through meditation. Its power has never been more evident and we need it more than ever.

Men need it.

Women need it.

Even Wall Street needs it.

Meditating.

Meditation.

Meditation’s health benefits have long been documented by science. Thousands of papers are devoted to parsing and investigating how meditation does help.

Recently, Harvard neurologists discovered that meditation can literally change the brain for the better. Celebrities, from Oprah to Madonna, all throw their hard-earned money on the most brilliant meditation gurus.

But how do you go about meditating?

There are many ways – as many as lotuses in a pond.

You can do meditation sitting or even standing up. There is no right or wrong way, but here is a good start if you don’t know how:

 

Basic steps to meditation.

Position for meditating.

De-stress and refresh through meditation.

  1. First, find a space where you’re comfortable and as free from distraction as possible. Turn off your cellphones, and other noisy gadgets for that matter.
  2. Find a chair and sit upright, with your hands and arms resting on your legs. Sit on the edge if you can’t sit straight. Or you can sit cross-legged, with a cushion on your bum. The important thing is to be as comfortable as you can without falling asleep.
  3. Look softly afar. Then take five breaths, so deep that you can hear yourself. As you exhale for the last time, gently close your eyes.
  4. Settle in. Take a mental note of your posture. Feel your feet touching the ground and your hips resting on the chair or floor. Note the weight of your arms resting on your legs.
  5. Then observe tension in different parts of your body, as if you’re scanning it from the head down, but don’t remedy it. Afterwards, observe the parts of your body where you are most relaxed. The scans for tense and relaxed parts of your body should take at least 20 seconds each.
  6. Next, notice your thoughts. Almost immediately, a train of thoughts will barrel in. Let it pass. Don’t attempt to derail it. Just notice the ones that come to mind as well as the moods they spawn, but don’t pass judgment.
  7. Then think about the reason you’re sitting now, and ever so gently let go of those motives. Remind yourself that your only responsibility is to sit.
  8. Turn your attention to your breathing. Observe how your body rises and falls with each breath. Direct your attention to where these rising and falling sensations occur, whether it’s your nostrils or your belly. Note how deep or shallow these inhalations and exhalations are.
  9. Count one as you inhale, two as you exhale, three as you inhale again, continuing this sequence until you reach ten. Repeat. Your mind may become noisy at this point. If it does, just take notice of the distraction in your mind’s eye and steer your attention back to your breathing. This is no different from weight training, when you simply try again after getting distracted.
  10. Spend the next 30 seconds sitting as still as possible. You may feel calm, but if you find yourself deluged with thoughts, just let your mind be. For example, if you find yourself thinking about your son’s tuition fees, just take time to observe this thought and not engage it and create a mental snowball, tossing it away.
  11. Also be mindful of your senses, of your body and feet touching the chair and ground, respectively.
  12. Gently open your eyes.
  13. It’s easy to segue into harried thoughts once you stand up. So form a mental picture of what you’re going to do next, whether it’s making coffee or gargling your mouth. Strive to bring your calm, collected feelings to this activity.

 

Your wild mind.

Most people have this notion of meditation as the systemic elimination of thoughts until the mind is a blank canvas. On the contrary, meditation involves letting thoughts flow and observing them with the detachment of an anthropologist.

Besides, it is pointless to resist the bends and turns your mind will take during meditation. Your mind is what it is, made to think. Don’t be upset about being distracted. While tabula rasa (a blank slate) is good, forgive yourself for your random thoughts. In time and with practice, your focus will sharpen.

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