Unlike the word’ mindfulness’ that is used nowadays in many contexts, I find that ‘meditation’ as a word can still be met with suspicion in many settings.
When facilitating training courses for health care professionals and introducing meditation, I rarely use the word, but will start with having a minute’s silence. Everyone seems to appreciate that, and it can be a starting point for discussing what happens to their thoughts in the silence. Also using relaxation exercises and short visualisations can open a way to meditation.
What is Meditation?
Even those who have been practising meditation for a long time may struggle with a definition. I like the description, ‘It is like coming home to yourself.’ It is remembering who we are. Something we have always known but forgotten.
There are benefits to meditation, like feeling calmer and clearer in our thinking. It is a deep exploration of who we are, how we are connected to others and, connected to everything. Practising meditation can be a struggle, but as the knowledge of self develops there is a growing confidence in oneself.
How Do I Start?
The only way to find out about meditation is to give it a try. You can start by finding a quiet place and sitting comfortably. Let your body relax, focus on the breath then repeat to yourself, ‘I am a peaceful being.’ If thoughts intrude return to the phrase, ‘I am a peaceful being.’ You can start by doing this for several minutes then extend the time with practice.
It’s Child’s Play!
My granddaughter age 5 and her brother age 8, both do meditation in class daily at school. To them it is ‘no big deal’, and they like it because it is a chance to be peaceful. Knowing that young people are learning meditation fills me with hope for the future!
Dr Craig Brown