Close your eyes for a few moments and listen to the sounds around you. There, you just meditated. We have all heard how good meditation is for us, but it also seems too difficult. We imagine we have to have some out-of-body experience or sit still on a cushion for hours without a thought in our mind. Meditation, though, is merely about being present. It is being aware of your body and your place in the world in this very moment.
I learned about meditation years ago and kept trying to do it but then giving up after a short period. Then I read some books by Daniel Siegel and learned his Wheel of Awareness. I now start my meditation by noticing all of my senses and then I do a scan of my body. I imagine energy coming into my body with my breath and then diffusing into each part of my body. Then I send out loving kindness to people in my life and all living creatures in the world. As I do these various practices, my mind wanders and when I notice that, I bring it back to the present moment. Now I meditate almost every day for 15-20 minutes.
At the beginning, I couldn’t sit still for that long, so I started with walking meditation. I went to a quiet area of the park and walked very slowly noticing the details of trees, flowers and rocks and listening to the birds. Eventually, I could stand still or sit for part of the time. And now I mostly sit, alternating between closing and opening my eyes.
Science has shown many health benefits in people who meditate regularly. It reduces our stress level, literally shrinking the organ in our brain that reacts to stress. One of the main effects is that it helps us learn how to be present in every moment. Meditation in practice is basically realizing that your mind has wandered and then bringing it back to the present moment. This translates into being mindful during our everyday lives. We better notice what is present for us in this moment. What are we thinking and feeling in our body? How are we reacting to others or a situation? How do we respond intentionally rather than react impulsively?
Try meditation and see what benefits you notice. Start with just a few moments each day or a few days per week. Notice your senses and your breathing. Feel your feet on the ground or your back against the chair. Just notice where you are in this moment. When you notice that your attention has wandered, bring it back to the present moment. When you bring your attention back to the present, you are meditating. If you want to go deeper than that, there are many teachers and apps available. I am certainly not an expert, but I can attest to the balance and grounding it brings to your everyday life. Please let me know how it goes for you.