Meditating your way to Inner Calmness
Meditating is a wonderful way of lowering anxiety and creating a lovely inner-calmness. It helps you become more concentrated. Here’s a simple technique you can use to treat yourself to a ten-minute session.
Find somewhere quiet to sit. On a chair or cushion. Make sure you’re comfortable. Ideally, your back, neck, and head should be aligned. Sit up straight if you can. Your meditation posture needs to be both relaxed and alert. Close your eyes to remove visual stimuli and make concentration easier.
Invite your thoughts to settle. Guide your attention to the breath. Examine its different characteristics, including the length, frequency, texture and sound as it constantly changes. From the point where the air enters your nostrils or mouth, down into the depths of your lungs. You’re not trying to control the breath – you’re simply allowing it to flow naturally. Give the breath your full attention, accepting whatever forms it takes.
It’s likely that your awareness will tune in to other objects that are presented to you, including bodily sensations, sounds, odours, feelings and thoughts. You may also be aware of subtle lights and colours – even with your eyes closed. The mind may create images, movies, sounds and discussions. This is natural – it happens to me frequently and I’ve been meditating for over twenty years. Accept each experience, either pleasant or unpleasant, without judging it and then bring your attention back to the breath. Being aware and accepting of these other objects instead of getting lost in them means you are present.
If you are struggling with concentration you can insert a count on the out breath. Breathe in, breathe out, count one, breathe in, breathe out, count two and so on up to ten, and then return to one. It’s fine if you lose your place. Simply return to the first count and start again. This counting technique gives the mind something simple to do, which prevents it from wandering off elsewhere.
Look for progress, not perfection. Be kind to yourself! There will be ups and downs to your meditation practice dependent upon how you’re feeling at the time. The most important thing is the practice itself. If you practice regularly, you’ll soon enjoy more inner calmness, less anxiety and better concentration.