Updated: Nov 1, 2018
For those of you that have already been fortunate enough to attend an Inspired Medics meeting, you will know that we have started the evenings with a short group meditation. This has proved popular and surprised participants with how simple meditation can be. This article will expand more on what meditation is, the benefits and how you can easily incorporate it in your day.
What is it?
Meditation simply put is the art of observation; observation of one self, thoughts, emotions and bodily sensations. It can be practiced in numerous ways and may just involve paying attention to your breath wherever you are. You don't need any equipment or special skills. It is inclusive and accessible to all people from all walks of life.
"If you have time to breathe you have time to meditate. You breathe when you walk. You breathe when you stand. You breathe when you lie down." – Ajahn Amaro
The terms mindfulness and meditation are often used interchangeably and both in their essence are like two sides of the same coin. You could say that mindfulness is a form of meditation where you bring your full attention on the present moment, yourself and your surroundings. Meditation as an umbrella term, can involve other techniques and practices such as yoga and visualisation.
What is the point?
"Meditation applies the brakes to the mind." – Ramana Maharshi
It creates the feeling of space in a cluttered, busy mind. Some people perceive meditation to take a lot of time and effort, but most that develop a practice that works for them, find it creates more time than it takes. I have found investing in just a minute to slow my breathing down when I feel stressed or busy, results in improved mood and increased productivity and quality of my work.
Meditation can be life changing for many and can help to create a more peaceful, harmonious world. Through observation you learn about yourself. You learn about the nature of your mind, thoughts and feelings. You learn about the bodily sensations which arise in association with different emotions. You become more attuned to yourself and how you feel, behave and react in the world.
"The primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation but the thoughts about it. Be aware of the thoughts you are thinking. Separate them from the situation, which is always neutral. It is as it is.” - Eckhart Tolle
Out of ignorance we can keep reacting in ways which harm ourselves and others. We gain knowledge from the practice of observation and this habit of blindly reacting then gradually falls away. It can make you feel more in control of your experience of life by teaching you to navigate past unhelpful thoughts and beliefs.
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."
How can I start?
You can start right away. Bring your attention right now to your breath. Observe it. The pace and the temperature. Where are you mostly breathing from? Your nose, mouth, chest or abdomen? Can you slow your breathing down? Try breathing in right from the middle of your abdomen. Can you slow the out breath as well? Really let all the air out like a slow deflating balloon. Try counting in for 4 and or for 7. Do this for as long as you wish to. Reflect on how you felt before and after the practice.
This is a simple but effective example of meditation and I hope you feel inspired to try it. There is a wealth of resources that you can explore and experiment with to find a practice that works for you.
“The goal of meditation isn’t to control your thoughts. It’s to stop letting them control you” - unknown
Written by Dr Daisy Kumar