Why do we meditate? And what does it look like for someone who doesn’t “meditate?”
I’ve never been that person who can sit comfortably for long periods of time, eyes closed, meditating on my thoughts. My mind races, my legs fall asleep and, in no time, my eyes pop open and I’m back up and running. To speak candidly, when I think of “meditation” I immediately become a little antsy. But I believe it’s only because I try to fit myself into a meditative “mold”. Meditation is personal, and different for each person. So, how can I have it work for me?
Before I explore anything new, I want to know why I’m doing it. What does successful meditation mean anyway? Basically (aka according to the dictionary), meditation is the act of continued or extended thought; reflection; contemplation. Some people say meditation is about training, focusing and silencing the brain, being mindful. According to the Huffington Post, “meditation is a science — the science of understanding the pathways of the brain and how they react to different situations, experiences and stimuli. Through this understanding, we can learn how to respond to these reactions and train the brain to focus.” But why do it? Anyone who regularly meditates can tell you their personal challenges and successes, but research has also shown that meditation may scientifically help reduce stress, strengthen the brain and cultivate positive emotions.
But what happens if you can’t reach a place of focus and reflection by sitting still? Is it meditation if it doesn’t “look” like meditation? For me, I reach deep thought when I am in nature. Hiking allows me the space and beauty to be one with my mind. In nature’s peacefulness, I am able to concentrate on my inner thoughts. One of my girlfriends meditates by listening to her records with her favorite incense burning. Meditation looks different for each person — and that’s ok! Whatever works for you, to slow your mind and ponder thoughts, is a form of meditation. Active or still, it’s up to you.
+How do you meditate? As someone new to meditation, I’d love to hear how you slow down and reflect.
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