I first tried meditation a few years ago to see what all the fuss was about. Everyone was doing it and was claiming that meditation was life-changing. I sat down on a cushion, closed my eyes and sat and thought who knows how many thoughts in the space of a 15-minute guided session. I didn’t feel any different for doing it, if anything it felt like a waste of time. A few months later after more research, I decided to revisit meditation with a more long-term goal in mind. I decided to practice meditation regularly, even if I wasn’t feeling any of the benefits that many raved about.
I have now been practicing meditation for a few years. I’m not always consistent with it; I have taken breaks and I definitely can’t claim that I meditate daily and am now some sort of guru. At the moment, I am practicing just once a week, but finally, I am starting to see and reflect on how meditation has in fact changed my day-to-day life.
Although there are many different forms of meditation, it mostly involves sitting comfortably, focusing on something such as the breath or a mantra, and clearing the mind from thoughts and distractions. When thoughts arise which distract you from meditation, it’s about acknowledging the thought and letting it go, without any harsh feelings towards yourself or your mind. This practice is referred to as the noting technique.
Until recently, I hadn’t realized how much practicing meditation and in particular, the noting technique had influenced me and how I go about my life. Learning to acknowledge thoughts, accept them, and then let them go has not only helped to strengthen my meditation practice, but it has allowed me to learn to practice acceptance in many areas of my life.
I am a very organized person and always have been. I like structure, routine, and discipline. In the past when something has cropped up, disrupting my day-to-day life or throwing off my routine for the day, I have struggled and found it difficult to navigate my way through challenges. Transferring the meditation technique of noting into other areas of my life has allowed me to keep my mind at ease and be more mellow, even when disaster strikes. I am able to think about a problem more logically and really take a step back to assess a situation and how to improve it. I have become more accepting of problems, acknowledging them and letting them go, or if and when needed, taking the time to work out how to navigate them. Meditation has therefore taught me about the art of acceptance.
Resources for meditation
Whether you’re just starting your journey to meditation or looking to expand your practice and techniques, here are some meditation resources that have I have found very useful.
Oak – App
Oak has access to unguided and guided meditation sessions, breathing techniques, sleep sessions and they also have a 10-day course for mantra meditation.
Meditation – App
Down Dog has many apps available but their meditation app is one of my favorites. You are able to change many settings to find which best suits you such as the level of guidance, the amount of time and even the voice. You can also download the practices for when you don’t have internet access.
Headspace Guide to Meditation – Netflix
I am currently working my way through this new Netflix series. Headspace Guide to Meditation introduces you to many different techniques of meditation with the assistance of incredible visuals and an ex-monk called Andy. They also have a free trial if you enjoyed the show and wish to try their app.
The Mind Explained – Mindfulness – Netflix
Explained has a few different series on Netflix. Their episode within The Mind Explained called Mindfulness is very educational and walks you through the impact meditation can have on your body and why.
Meditations with James Van Praagh – Book
Meditations is a book that is filled with affirmations and meditations which allows you to connect with your inner self and your inner voice.
Five Minute Meditations – Podcast
If you’re looking for short unguided meditation sessions and some ambient music to accompany you, this Five Minute Meditations podcast will be perfect.
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Photo: Anna Ashbarry; Canva