Take a Little Time For Yourself - Meditation
By Dan Johnston
Meditation does not have to be a way of life, as many of you might think, but regular escapes into oneself. One’s mind has medicinal benefits that supersede most prescription medicines for a whole host of ailments. However, that being said, even if you already feel healthy in mind and body, it is worth brushing your spirit into shape, as those who have attempted brief jaunts into meditation would attest.
For me, the journey began some ten years ago or more, whilst living in Dubai. Even though my grandfather, who practiced meditation since his youth, regularly attempted to persuade me into following in his footsteps, explaining the limitless benefits of meditation daily, it wasn’t until I was in my late twenties that I enjoyed my first regular experiences. I had, some five years before, attempted a style of meditation which had turned out not to be for me, in the form of spiritual mediumship, meditation at a local church back in the UK, but I chose not to pursue it.That is one thing that can be said about meditation, not every form, style or practice is suited to everyone and the trick is to find what works for you but I’ll get back to that a little later.
For now, back to Dubai and my journey into the spiritual world of meditation and self-improvement. I was with a partner at the time who regularly practiced several spiritual activities, including Yoga, Pranic Healing, Meditations of varying sorts and was also keen on Tarot Cards. Her philosophy on life was, and still is, of pure, unadulterated love – love for everything and everyone in all that she encounters in life. This concept, at that time, was difficult for me to perceive but I certainly understand her more now.
It was she, who finally managed to encourage me to try meditation on a regular basis, starting with some open group meditations at the Third Eye Centre on Sheikh Zayed Road in Dubai. After my enjoyment of the classes we began regular yoga sessions and she eventually urged me to go further, diving into the practice of Reiki (a form of spiritual healing using the hands, for those of you who are not familiar). I loved it and it was a part of my life I would never forget. My experiences were too many to divulge here but the elevation of mind, body and soul undeniable. However, as with any spiritual journey, life intervened and I found myself leaving the practice of Reiki and ultimately, failing to meditate anymore at all. ‘Failing’ is probably a little harsh a word though, really, I just wandered away from it all.
Now, however, I meditate at least three times a day; in the morning as soon as I wake, midway through the day (time permitting) and just before I sleep. On a personal level, I find that this aids me in keeping a balanced mind and allows me to have more focus in my everyday tasks. And it is there where I find that meditation benefits me as an individual, although, as I began this little jaunt across the digital pages I type, I have to say that everyone meditates for different reasons and the benefits they gain also depend on the individual.
Enough about me and my journey anyway, why even meditate at all and with so much out there on the internet, how do I even know what meditation is right for me?
Reasons to Meditate
Starting with the reasons to meditate seems like a good idea and without even touching on the boundless spiritual reasons for doing so, as these are overshadowed nowadays with the scientific evidence from the benefits of such practices. For many years the scientific community frowned upon holistic approaches to things like mental health and wellbeing, favouring their more academically applied practices, however, that has all changed. Having applied their academic processes into exploring any possible gains to be had from regular meditations, they have found much to their surprise, that the practice of meditation has an unbelievable amount of healing properties, many of which are more effective than the conventional medicinal alternatives prescribed over the last century. Even the latest chemical alternatives cannot touch the regenerative effects on the brain that a good dose of meditation can give, in whatever form it is practiced.
I could also list a host of white papers to prove this, or research carried out by numerous psychologists, neurologists and the like using medical equipment such as MRI machines and other such brain viewing technologies that can read the activity of one’s grey matter before, during and after a good meditative state is achieved but this would be too long a task. I am sure if you don’t want to take my word for it, you can always browse through a host of information on our favourite web search engine to find out more.
Asides from heightened activity, the process of regular meditation is medically proven to enhance the connectivity of your brain, increasing neural pathways on a permanent basis and therefore allowing the brain to heal, if necessary, and or increase your abilities to focus and achieve in whichever field you pursue – much the same as regular practice of any given activity would. Meditation, alongside the practice of your pursuit, would certainly empower you to achieve your goals.
The level of focus you can acquire through simply spending an hour daily – half an hour if that is too much – can add so much to your daily life. It is also extremely addictive, once you find your prefered form/style of meditative practice, you are sure to desire more time to perform the ritual and discover a host of benefits I have failed to touch on in this brief splattering of words.
Finding the right meditation practice
On the subject of finding the meditation practice that is right for you Well, it is simply a case of trial and error. You can join a variety of groups, both physically and/or online if you feel guidance and support is what you need at the start. Or, if you are more of a reclusive sort, there are a host of apps for your mobile device – even downloading a few guided meditations from youtube helps.
Yoga in any of its forms,whether healing meditations such as Pranic and Reiki, more ancient practices such as those from the many gurus of India, Buddhist meditations (regularly held at local temples in your area), or more recent creations such as Mindfulness, it doesn’t matter, the gains you will experience from adding meditation to your daily routine will outweigh anything you think you might lose, such as the time it takes.
Just remember, if it isn’t right for you, try another style, change the practice,everyone can meditate, it is simply about finding what works for you. I have friends who just go for a walk in nature and tell me that it is their way to release and feel it is their way to meditate – something I can certainly relate to, as I feel the same way and also use cooking as a form of meditation, feeling at peace when I create and put my heart into the process.
Finding the time
As for finding the time, there is always time, no matter where you are and what you are doing. Just block off sections of your day to allow yourself a little inner peace, regardless of travel or being outside of home, simply stop, take a breath and close your mind to the outside world, look within and accept every thought you have, letting go of it as you draw your focus back to the action of the meditation you have discovered works for you. After all, as one of my favourite Buddhist quotes says
“If you can’t find time to meditate for half an hour in one day, then meditate for an hour”