Bring up meditation at a dinner party and watch the table divide. One half will swear by the stress-reducing, sleep-inducing, life-changing benefits of both, while the other will argue that doing anything is better than doing nothing and that they would rather spend those precious minutes working out, firing emails, or indulging in a Netflix binge.
If you’re in the later party, Rajesh Ramani, Kamalaya Wellness Sanctuary’s Meditation and Life Enhancement mentor, has news for you. First of all, if you think you’ve never meditated before, think again. Entering a meditative state does not require being silent in dark room with you’re eyes closed.
Ramani explains, “It is not true to say that we have never meditated in our life. We could rather say that we haven’t done a conscious meditation practice. Every time we enjoyed a sunset or being enthralled by a piece of music we were in a state of meditation.”
“When people say that they are not ‘the meditating type, what they actually imply is that they are not the sitting and focusing type. I would ask them to start getting in touch with their body movements and sensations even as they go about their normal life.”
He continues, “They could practice other forms of non-sedentary practices like ‘walking meditation’ and ‘mindful eating’ exercises. A person without much body awareness or attention could start from physical exercises and pilates/yoga etc. This would help them ground their attention on their bodies.”
In terms of benefits, most of you would already know that meditation can help reduce stress and encourage regular sleep patterns, but beyond that there is a world of benefit that leaves those ‘too busy’ excuses in the dust, “Meditation is ‘the practice of seeing what is there’. A sustained meditation practice could take us to greater clarity in our mind. This will help in responding to life situations from a balanced place. It will improve our focus and concentration.”
Try meditating right before you are about to begin a mammoth task (or right before you’re about to open a killer Excel spread sheet) to become more focused and get through your job more efficiently. Read: better work done faster and more time for Netflix.
What’s more, “meditation could also help in opening up kindness and compassion towards oneself and the other’ meaning relationships — with colleagues, friends, and significant others, have a better chance at finding harmony. If that’s a goal of yours, Ramani recommends meditating both as a daily practice and when we are going through a particular pain or disturbance.
“We need to develop a habit of meditation in our life. Meditating only when we have a crisis will not be fruitful. This regular habit will help us when we have a crises/stress etc.
For helping in stress and sleep, we need to stick to our normal meditation practice. For emotional balance and relationship crises, we need to meditate when we go through the pain/disturbance. To increase focus and concentration, we need to practice just before the activity to be focused upon.”
Rajesh Ramani’s Beginner’s Guide to Meditation
- Start with a simple and easily doable practice.
- Choose a comfortable posture with your back erect.
- Be relaxed; be still; be watchful of what is happening in and around you.
- Bring your focus to the object of attention for 3 – 4 minutes (Breath, body sensations, sound, image, mantra etc) Rest your mind for a couple of minutes. Repeat this cycle of ‘focus and rest’ a few times.
- Do not try to control or empty your mind. If your mind wanders about, get back to the object with a gentle smile.
- Appreciate yourself with a smile when you find yourself focused even for a short period of time. Take a mental selfie of yourself meditating.