Meditation is scientifically proven to reduce anxiety, depression, stress, insomnia, pain, and the list goes on. The list of benefits is immense, and no doubt you are aware of this.
So how can you meditate? What if you hate sitting still for long periods of time? What if you are too busy? What if you have tried it and it is boring to you so you gave up? There are solutions to all these problems.
Putting yourself into an altered state is easier than you think. And this is a way to get your foot in the door of mediation. Once you have calmed your mind easily, you have done all the hard work.
I have tried the traditional way of meditating, sitting in the lotus position, eyes shut, fingers touching, in silence, trying to stop my thoughts. This may work for some people but not all. If meditating this way has never worked for you, read on!
This is probably my favorite way to meditate, because music is one of my biggest passions but also because you can’t help but get transported to another realm.
But there is a trick here. Most people listen to music in the background, while they’re doing other things, or they listen to music for entertainment. The type of music that works for meditation is not the same stuff you hear on top 40 radio stations.
The 3 elements of music are rhythm, harmony, and melody. What is important for meditative music is only rhythm and harmony. The beat, and the main body of sound. Melody usually refers to the vocals, or a single instrument that stands out above the rest.
What we are looking for here is something rhythmic and calming. Ambient music, Shamanic drumming, etc. But you can also use different genres such as rock if the particular song has the right elements.
I avoid songs with lyrics as this just distracts you from the movement of the song. You want to focus on the beat and the overall flow of the instruments. Classical works for some people but for me it tends to be too erratic. I find songs work best if they flow, if they have a steady rhythm.
A good test is if you are able to sway back and forth to it. Become one with it and don’t be doing anything else. It doesn’t even have to be upbeat music, you can “dance” to slow music too, even music without a beat. Sway your arms as if you were directing the flow of air. Imagine the energy around you, and imagine yourself interacting with it.
This was a powerful technique that I learned from a book I read years ago, I believe it was a book on lucid dreaming. In lucid dreaming, you are aware within your dream, you know you are dreaming. Becoming aware is a very important skill to have in lucid dreaming as well as waking life.
So to do this, you can be anywhere doing anything, it doesn’t matter. You go through each sense and focus only on it. For example, what do you see around you? Find something in your field of vision of every color and focus on everything you see that is that color. Focus on each texture you see.
Then move on to hearing, and become aware of every sound you hear. You will be surprised at how many there are.
Then move on to what you can taste, if you are eating. Same with smells, usually nothing will be too apparent unless you are cooking or near a bonfire, candles, etc.
Then focus on what you feel, how your clothes feel, how the air feels on your skin, etc. Really just soak in EVERYTHING you can sense through all your senses.
This exercise imprints this moment into your memory very strongly. The first time I did it was years ago and I still remember every detail. Being aware of everything your senses are picking up is a great way to feel connected to nature, or wherever you are, and will also distract your mind from your worries and leave you very calm. From this point you can easily enter into a meditation, or just use this itself as the meditation.
Driving is very meditative, with or without music playing. Everyone feels better when they go for a drive and crank the music. But sometimes it’s very calming to turn off the music and just focus on the road and the hum of the car. It’s also particularly meditative when there is a light rain.
One time I drove with the radio off for about 2 hours when it was lightly raining, it was very calming and peaceful! Just a safety reminder; make sure you are using this as more of a mindful meditation as opposed to a trance-inducing one.
This kind of goes along with music but it’s separate because it isn’t music. You must listen with headphones. You can buy cd’s or mp3’s or entire programs based on this technology. YouTube is filled with them. Search for "binaural beats".
The basic concept of these programs is to put your mind into different states. Mostly alpha or delta, which are the states where your brain is in a state of relaxation. A popular company that does this is called Hemi-Sync.
The first time I ever listened to one of their cd's, my awareness was lifted out of my body. Not like an astral projection exactly, I couldn't go anywhere or see anything in another room, I just had a powerful sense that I was bigger than my body. I just FELT huge, I felt like the whole universe in my mind. But the minute I moved a body part, the feeling went away. So it is very important to be as still as possible while listening to these audios.
This is a technique I made up myself and it works quite well! When my mind is racing too much and I need to fall asleep or just calm down, I will imagine I am a giant mountain, in the middle of the open sky. Nothing but me and the clouds. I imagine myself so tall that clouds are floating by my head.
Then I insert my thoughts into each cloud as it passes, and that’s all the time I am allowed to think each thought. Then I imagine a gap in the clouds where I can regain myself and think no thoughts for a few seconds.
As this state never lasts long anyway, I give myself permission to think a new thought as long as I pause in between and wait for each cloud to pass.
This method also teaches you to let things go. I am a fan of Buddhism, and letting things go is a very Buddhist thing to do, and very good for your mind!
This is pretty self explanatory but in case there are any real beginners here, this is simply where you listen to an mp3 that guides you through every step, including telling you what to visualize. These are excellent for anyone who can’t stand not having something to focus on and listen to. You can find thousands of these on YouTube.
This is similar to the senses one I mentioned. Except instead of expanding your awareness to everything you can sense, you simply concentrate your awareness on one single thing. It could be a thing you are doing, such as doing the dishes.
It could be a thing you can look at, such as a candle. Candles are very good for this and probably why they are used so often in churches, rituals, and spells. Humans are drawn to fire, and whether it's a small flame or a roaring bonfire, the mind will start to calm when you look at it.
Nature is conducive to meditation because all the things that cause stress are because of our modern life, work, home life, technology, etc.
Once we remove ourselves from our man-made world, our minds can finally stretch it's legs and relax! It is much easier to do the traditional sitting meditation if you are outside in a calm environment. Just stay away from factories, traffic, barking dogs, power lines, and anything else disruptive.
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