Meditation isn't new or unique to any particular culture or belief system, and it can take many forms ranging from movement to stillness, silence to singing. However, despite its role in our history, meditation rarely comes naturally to us, as we are increasingly consumed by our gadgets, commitments, and interconnectedness, it can be nearly impossible to disengage physically and mentally. But meditation has been proven to be a powerful tool for calming the mind and healing the body, and the best part is, it doesn't require any fancy tools or equipment to do it. Though if you are new to meditation or want to enhance your own practice, here are a few ideas for creating a meditation practice you enjoy:
1. Find a few minutes every day to turn off distractions and get quiet. For some people, first thing in the morning is the best time to clear their heads and prepare for the day. Perhaps you prefer to take a walk during your lunch break, or to meditate before bed. Find a time that works best for you and stay consistent. Try starting with just 10 minutes and work your way up.
2. Keep your mind from wandering to your to-do lists, texts, emails, and other ways the world demands your attention. If writing is therapeutic for you, have a journal handy to write down a few sentences or words to focus on. If you need to physically move to focus, try yoga or walking while focusing simply on your breath or a prayer.
3. Use a few simple props to enhance your practice and trigger your senses into "meditation mode". This could be aromatic through the use of a candle or essential oils, taste through your favorite cup of tea, audibly through a simple bell chime blowing in the wind, or something you wear- such as a mala bead necklace that serves as a physical reminder of your intention. As you practice meditation, your mind will begin to associate these triggers with "quiet time" and will help you focus for those few precious moments.
4. Breathe. Perhaps the most powerful meditation tool we have is entirely within us, our breath. By consciously slowing down and deepening our breath, we create physical space inside our bodies to clear away tension, stress, and stale energy. The best part is if you find yourself in need of a few moments of meditation while at work, on the road, or even in the shower- all you need to do is tune into your breath for a minute or two and take long, steady inhales and exhales. As you inhale, imagine filling your body up with oxygen, light, and a cooling sensation, and as you exhale, release the warm, old air and anything that no longer serves you. Breathing is the foundation of all physical movement and what sustains us subconsciously every day of our lives.