Meditation for Modern Times
The journey to finding a meditation practice is a deeply personal and sometimes spiritual journey. For me, meditation is a means of connecting with the deepest parts of myself while allowing my worries to fall away. For those fifteen minutes a day I am free from all the stressors that everyday life brings, and yes that can include the stress of the Coronavirus pandemic. Now more than ever it is beneficial to your mental health to have a means of accessing peace while we keep each other safe by staying home.
The word “meditation” stems from the Latin word meditatum which means “to ponder.” According to mindworks.org, the origins of the practice reach back thousands of years ago. You may have written meditation off as an ancient practice that has no context in today’s fast paced world. I’d argue that taking time to “be still” has only increased in value over the centuries. With everything going on, it may seem impossible to attempt to slow your thoughts. However, with practice and patience you may be surprised to feel the effects of meditation in your everyday life. Here are some tips for a successful meditation journey:
1. Don’t go it alone! Having a meditation and mindfulness accountability partner can be crucial to keeping yourself accountable. Find a time that works for you and a friend and text each other before each time you plan on meditating.
2. Enlist help. There are some really great guided meditations on You Tube. You can also try one of many apps that will provide guided meditations some of which can be tailored for your specific needs.
3. Be flexible. It can be frustrating when it feels like you aren’t “doing it right.” In my experience, there is no “right” way to meditate. There are many techniques for meditation, but not every style may work for you. It can also depend on the level of peace you are trying to achieve. If your mind is still racing while meditating in silence, consider listening to calming music to help focus your thoughts. Be patient and trust that your trial and error period may be necessary to reach the perfect meditative practice for you.
4. Make time. It can be easy to brush off meditating because of the pace of our busy lives. The best way to ensure that you find time to meditate is to schedule that time in your day. Set reminders and do your best to hold yourself accountable. I like to meditate on my 15 minute breaks from work. That way I return to work a bit more centered and ready to be productive.
5. Set the mood. If you are able, sit in a tranquil and dimly lit room when you meditate. When my house gets too noisy (especially during the stay-at-home order) I like to escape to my car to meditate. It can also be refreshing to sit in nature or take a meditative walk. Try to find a space that reflects how you want to feel.
We all deserve an escape right now, and if we can’t go outside the next best thing is to go within. Meditation has been celebrated for its many healing properties. According to medicalnewstoday.com, researchers who worked with a cohort of young people with symptoms of PTSD and depression found that practicing Transcendental Meditation can help reduce or even reverse these symptoms. Whether you are safe at home or you are supporting our country as an essential worker, give your mind a rest and consider adding meditation to your routine.