Our minds are very busy. There are many things we think, stress and worry about each day and we have become masters of productivity and multi-tasking.
By sitting in silence and focusing the mind, we train the mind to work in news ways. Instead of functioning at our usual rapid pace, meditation shows the mind the beautiful benefits of silence, space and awareness of our present moment.
Meditation can help with:
Lowering stress and anxiety
Alleviating low moods and depression
Improving regulation of emotions
Improving sleep patterns
Increasing attention span
Increasing immunity and metabolism
Creating a better connection to the mind and body
Connecting with values & desires
Awareness and appreciation of life
Increasing feelings of peace and contentment
The easiest way to meditate is using the breath. Focusing in on the breath and following the in and out. Over time you'll find you become less stressed, more centered and your perspectives on the world and life and what's important, changes.
The feelings I get after meditating include a sense of focus, grounded-ness, and this amazing sense of love. I feel more connected to myself and the world, and feel more open to give and connect with others.
With stressors, expectations, and competition in our society we can become closed up. We can have this underlying bitterness, anger, resentment, jealousy, dissatisfaction and be can be become very dis-connected from others.
With meditation you begin to realize that fundamentally we're all the same - we're searching for the same things, going through similar stressors and challenges and learning and growing through this crazy journey we call life. When you become more grounded and open, you realize that this doesn't have to be done in a dis-connected and negative way.
With meditation, I can feel myself better connecting to my true self. A deep down happy self that just wants to help others and see everything as love. Meditation also provides fuel for a lot of what I do.
When you meditate, you get past the chitter chatter brain and you better access the creative part of your brain. So many times I've had an aha moment while meditating or I've done my best work immediately after sitting.
Meditation can definitely be challenging... it can be difficult to calm your mind and get past all the surface chatter... but when you do, you notice that you feel things that you were cut off from before.
For the beginner I would suggest joining a beginner meditation group or course. I feel you learn best by learning and experiencing from others and with others and it serves as motivation for you and provides you with an understanding of what's happening to the mind which is also motivation.
You can also just start with 3-5minute breath meditations on your own and work your way up to loving-kindness meditations, expansion meditations which help to get those feelings of love and connectivity. Youtube is a great way to find guided meditations.
Is there a wrong way to meditate?
Many people get caught up on if they're meditating correctly. They often find that these thoughts affect their commitment to the practice. What you need to remember is that meditation is a practice of focus. It doesn't matter how many times your mind wanders...all that matters is that you eventually notice and then make a commitment to come back to your original point of focus (often, the breath). You'll get a lot of thoughts that say "Am I doing this right?" "what am I doing", "this is silly", "you're doing it wrong"... this is just your ego speaking to you out of fear of a new activity and the risk of change. You just have to acknowledge these thoughts and return to your breath.
We're not here to live stressed and dissatisfied lives. We're here to experience the love and the beauty of the world and to help others with our gifts and talents. And for me, meditation helps to access that.