Buddha was asked “What have you gained from meditation?” He replied “Nothing! However, let me tell you what I have lost: Anger, anxiety, depression, insecurity, fear of old age and death.”
Now it seems extreme that one can lose all of the above just by simply meditating but it can be done, I for one have experienced amazing benefits through meditation. Im going to write a very simple introduction to meditation, as it can get very deep Im going to try my best to keep it very basic. I hope you like and maybe have you attempting to meditate yourself;)
WHAT IS MEDITATION?
People always ask “What is meditation?” and I find the most simple answer is: “A time where one can enter great peace and be fully present”
Ok, so now you’re probably thinking, but my mind is always on the go? How do I silence the mind? Im far too busy! Why would I want to be quiet? Surely I am better off sharing my problems with another? What will I actually get out of it? Which leads me too…
There are so many health benefits to meditating, meditation allows you to enter a calm space, reducing stress levels. If we can reduce stress many health benefits follow not to mention the positive affect it has on those who suffer with insomnia, anxiety (me) and depression. It also allows you to have a deeper knowledge of self, allowing you to tap in to your passions and inner desires. When you are feeling centred and grounded it’s so much easier to be aware of what is going on around you and even more easier to respond to situations, whether negative or positive.
My personal experiences with meditation have lead me to a happier and healthier life. Im conscious and more aware now than ever and the most incredible thing about it is I am only at the beginning of my journey. Meditation has allowed me to tap in to my higher self and really get to know me, I have explored my limits and boundaries and by remaining quiet has also allowed me to monitor my emotions and energy. I now know when I am in a situation that is not good for me in one way or another, this is all energy and signs that were being blocked due to my busyness and constant on the go attitude. I thought I was working hard but in fact life was just passing me by and I wasn’t happy. I owe it to myself and my body to stop, clear my mind and just be still.
I was super nervous to start a class as I felt like a newbie who wouldn’t know what I was doing but all the centres I have been too have been so welcoming. (I will add links in this blog) Going on the buddhist retreat I went to also helped me massively and adopting the art of meditation with beautiful surroundings and consistently allowed it to flow more naturally.
WHO CAN MEDITATE?
Anyone!! Honestly I get asked all the time if a religious person can meditate and the answer is YES! When you see a buddhist bowing to a shrine they are not bowing to the shrine as an act of worship, they are bowing to their potential. The buddha stands for enlightenment, compassion and love. You are bowing to your potential. There are no boundaries and you do not have to be a buddhist to meditate.
HOW TO MEDITATE?
Ok, so there are many ways to meditate. I personally meditate whenever and wherever I can, in the queue whilst shopping, whilst cooking or even waiting in traffic. These are all a chance to check in, take some deep breathes and be fully present in the moment. There are many other times as well but I will now concentrate on the traditional method of being seated and still. I choose to sit cross legged with pillows to help my posture, but you can find any position that suits you. You want to be comfortable! Trust me! Nothing is worse than trying to meditate yet your knees or back are killing! Ha-Ha! When I started I would always meditate with guided meditation CD’S or I have 2 apps which are on my phone for when I am on the go.
Its really nice to create a calm space where you can meditate, maybe burn some incense, burn some candles, you could have flowers, a buddha, stones or crystals. Anything that makes you feel happy, calm and relaxed. Once you have your space set, its time to get comfortable. (Don’t forget to turn off all phone notifications as nothing kills a good meditation then a txt msg or call coming through!) Some of the apps just have sounds if you would prefer no talking and some have pure silence and just sound with an opening and closing bell. Once you have chosen your preferred guide click play and enjoy:)
To meditate is to be fully present and check in with you. Thought’s will come to your mind but you just allow them to pass without holding on to them or creating some scenario which then turns in to a big story board in your head! ha-ha! Believe me, I have been there! Just let them go like passing clouds. Breathing is everything in meditation and learning mindfulness of breathing is probably the best place to start. It also takes your mind off of thinking because you are concentrating solely on breathing;)
I hope this simple and short guide to meditating has helped and maybe get you to start trying it out! I would love to hear your feedback and you can e-mail in:
I will leave details of centres, retreats and phone apps below! Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoy the rest of your week!
LONDON BUDDHIST CENTRE