What is meditation and how do we meditate?

Most of us live under stressful, challenging and tiring conditions. Due to the demanding structure, the high pace of the changing world order and the increasing number of stimuli around us; we lose the contact with the self, we forget what really does matter in life and we just keep struggling to catch up with life. Without fully understanding how the time rolled by from morning to evening or from Monday to Friday; we just live on the go. The rush of the daily life puts the mind, which is already very willing to generate ideas, in non-stop activity.

Also, the mind feels threatened all the time and can’t get enough rest. It can’t get away from the fuzziness of past and future. While the mind keeps making plans and assumptions for tomorrow, keeps feeling anxious about the future; we miss the joy of the present moment and can’t experience the things offered by it.

The numerous stimuli affecting us during the day prevent us to really understand what we really feel at the moment and causes us to rush into things and events unconsciously. We complete our daily activities without even realizing while we’re living in a universe of thoughts about yesterday and tomorrow. Most of the time while finishing the food on our plate, we wander around the chain of thoughts regarding yesterday and tomorrow and we notice that we swallow the food without even sensing the taste. Or, while driving, we shift into an automatic pilot and we dive into dreams or analysis. We can’t be in existence and we can’t be available to sense the relaxing feeling of the running water in the shower, the freshness of the water while drinking or while listening to a beloved one to comprehend the real feelings him or her that underlie his/her words. Because the mind is so busy that can’t notice the present moment.

So, does that mean that we shouldn’t be thinking at all? Of course not. Human beings live by planning ahead and prioritizing. By this means they can progress and develop themselves. Getting lost inside of the thought patterns, which have no benefit for us, means the connection between the mind and the body is interrupted and this interruption takes us away from the moment and from the joy of the present moment.

Try to remember, how many of these thought patterns were really useful for you? In how many of them have you find “the answer”? Or have you just drawn into the vortex of thoughts, every single time? The need for meditation arises right at this point. We look at a time frame, in which we can put an end to the rush of the mind, we can really hear our own subconscious and we can really notice ourselves, our inner worlds.

What is awareness meditation?

It is being aware of the moment.

It is getting know your body, your feelings and your thoughts.

It is getting know yourself.

It is observing without any judgement.

It is a conscious structure of thoughts and observations.

It is the meeting point of the mind and the body.

What it is not?

It is not a religion.

It is not “no thoughts”.

It is not “no actions”.

It is not an escape ticket.

It is not the remedy for only stress and anxiety.

It is not difficult.

So what are the things that we need to pay attention while starting meditation?

The wish and the real intention to start meditation is the perfect first step. In meditation, everything starts with the willingness and having the intention. By only this means, we can start breaking the habits of the mind and create a space for a calmer mind, which doesn’t rush itself among the thoughts. You can start meditation at this point, easily.

Spare time: The most important thing for practising meditation is sparing time for it. Because there is no need to buy special clothes, to go to a special location or to buy special tools or equipment for it.

Prepare the mind: The aim of meditation is not silencing the mind but it is revealing the subconscious, letting the thoughts come and go and also noticing our environment, our body and our feelings. That’s why you need to prepare your mind for a 10 minute of meditation.

Leave your judgements aside: While starting meditation, leave all your judgements about this practice aside and let yourself know that you’re getting into a whole new experience. Instead of having a positive or negative thought about it, leave all your opinions aside and only focus on your experience.

Show compassion for yourself: Please do not get mad or angry at yourself during meditation. Just be an individual, who observes him/herself without any judgement and love yourself. Don’t forget, this is an experience special for you, there is no one else in it, there is only you.

While practising awareness meditation;

Find yourself a comfortable and quiet place and place yourself in a seated position.

It is important that you sit in an upright position in order not to fall asleep.

While starting to relax and just know be aware that you are sparing this time only for yourself.

Close your eyes and first of all start focusing on your breathing. Let the mind focus only on your inhalations and exhalations. Follow and watch how the air fills in your lungs and then slowly leaves the body. Just focus on your breaths.

Try to notice the thoughts that are coming and going. Just have a look at what you’re thinking. Try to see yourself from a bird’s eye perspective. Which thoughts are appearing your mind one by one?

During meditation, your mind might shift towards different places from time to time, this is very expected. When you notice this, please bring your attention back to the practice.

Keep the practice of focusing on the breaths and noticing the thoughts for 5 to 10 minutes.

Every day, your experience might be different and at some days it won’t be possible to calm the mind. You might find yourself lost in the thoughts. Please don’t get the idea of “I can’t do it”. Don’t forget that this is a process and now we’re developing our mental muscles. What’s important here is putting an end to the nonstop rush of the mind. Noticing the thoughts, noticing the breathing. By only this means we can calm both the mind and the body.

Last but not least, please spare this 10 minute for yourself every day. Practising every day, at similar time frames will help you cultivate this as a habit.

+ BONUS: Practicing meditation during morning hours helps you make a very fresh and calm start to the day. Plus, you can apply the techniques that you’ve learned in your morning practice, during the day easily!

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