There is so much written about, so much talked about meditation that it is a hot topic for much of popular culture. Unfortunately a lot of myths have developed around the idea of meditation. And the various spiritual philosophies can get a little complex (which we will explore in a later post) but in essence meditation means steadily focusing your attention on a single object or activity, and in this way stopping thinking.
For example, a common practice is to turn your attention onto your breath. Merely noticing the rise and fall of your chest as you breathe in and out. Or feeling the breath leaving and entering your nostrils. It is a gentle practice. If your attention wanders just refocus on your breath without judging yourself or your ability to keep focused. Keep it simple.
Another thing people do is listen to calming music and focusing on a specific instrument or note. This can be quite powerful because amongst all the different sounds and notes going on in a piece of music focusing on one sound can be difficult, but at the same time it can stop thinking very effectively. However, it’s important to pick music that does not stir up emotions or memories.
Another powerful way to meditate is through movement. For example, being fully aware of your feet as you walk. What sensations do you feel? What is the position of the sole of your feet in relation to the ground? What part of your foot touches the ground first? You can also do this through Tai Chi, or through Yoga
You could even focus on an image such as a picture, painting or a statue. There are also many ways to help you get into meditation: incense, candles, bells. Whatever you choose just relax, there is no right or wrong, there is nothing to achieve, just accept whatever is going on and make peace with it bringing awareness to the present moment. Stopping thinking will open up a whole new world.