The first time I heard the term ‘Meditation’, I was in school. I guess I was in the 6th standard at the time. A renowned Guruji had come to our school to interact with all of us. The entire school gathered in a large hall and there at the center of the stage was this man wearing a saffron-colored robe and sitting on the floor.
He looked simple and had a gentle smile on his face. All of our teachers seemed too respectful of this man. We, on the other hand, had no idea who this man was. All we knew was that he was some holy man who had come to meet us. Honestly, we didn’t care about his presence. We were just happy that because of him we had got a break from our boring classes.
Also, we were aware that at the end of this event, we would be given sweets to eat. So, that’s what we were most excited for; to get our share of laddoos.
Anyhow, the Guruji started talking about various things, most of which I don’t remember. But one thing I clearly remember is when he said something about meditation. He said ‘Meditation’ or ‘Dhyaan’ is something that can help you achieve mental clarity and focus. He further said that there are many ways of practicing meditation.
Now, this is the important part and I want you to remember it: There are many ways of practicing meditation.
The Guruji then shared with us two simple methods of meditating. He said either you sit at a place, close your eyes, and focus on your breath or you sit in front of a fixed object and keep looking at it continuously.
Now, since we were small kids, we didn’t realize the value of what this man had said. Our only thought was, “Who would be stupid enough to sit at a place and do nothing? We would rather watch Johnny Bravo on our TVs rather than sitting idly like this.”
Cut to the present day, the term ‘meditation’ is being thrown around everywhere. Every other social media post, celebrity, and blogger is asking people to meditate.
And I don’t necessarily believe that it’s a bad thing. Meditation is probably one of the most powerful things that you can do to make your life better. The problem comes during the implementation of it.
Think of it like this: You got convinced about the benefits of meditation and so decided to include meditation in your daily routine. You set up an alarm for 6.00 am and somehow woke up in time. You then sat down to do the actual meditation. You opened your meditation app and started listening to some guided meditation program.
The lady in the meditation app now asked you to close your eyes and focus on your breath. On doing so, you started feeling like it was working. You started to enjoy it. But while you were sitting with your eyes closed, you lost your focus and your mind started wandering towards random thoughts. Then bam!
Without realizing it, you had fallen asleep and when you opened your eyes you realized that you were late for work now.
This is a problem that not many people talk about. Meditation can be boring for people who are just starting. In the beginning, it can be difficult to keep track of your breath. This causes people to lose interest too soon and then they quit meditation altogether.
Since I’ve been in situations like these myself, I can relate to it. And since I’ve also had some good meditation sessions, I can also tell you the following things about meditation.
This is what meditation is all about
Meditation isn’t about a particular technique or a particular process. When you understand the basics of it, you can mould the process as per your needs. It’s not a one-size-fits-all process.
At the core of it, meditation is about being present. It’s about being aware of your current environment. That is why, when you focus on your breath, you teach your mind to stay aware of your present realities.
Similarly, various versions of meditation ask you to focus on the sounds that are around you. This practice is also about making you aware of the present. When you intently pay attention to things around you, you develop a sense of focus and clarity.
Remember what Guruji said? There are many ways of meditating. That’s what he meant by it. It took me 12 years to understand this. But now since I know what that means, I can customize my meditation program based on my lifestyle.
These unconventional methods can make meditation fun for you
Now that we’ve understood the core principles of meditation, we can explore different ways of meditating. Remember, there can be many. But here are a few that I like the most.
This is probably the most fun.
Since almost everyone likes music, this type of meditation is easy to practice.
Here’s how it works: You pick up your music device, plug in your earphones, and listen to music. That’s pretty much it.
Come on Shikhil, don’t joke with me. This is what I do every day. Is this what you call meditation?
I hear you my friend. Let me explain a little more. The difference between listening to music like we do and listening to music for meditation is the intent.
When you listen to music in your everyday life, you don’t really pay attention to it. You plug in your earphones and do other activities. You rarely put in your entire focus on the music itself.
However, in music meditation, you sit at a place and listen to music with your entire focus on it. You don’t do any other activity. You close your eyes and really listen to the music. You pay attention to the music notes, the voice of the singer, the background score, the interludes, the bridge, and whatnot.
Just like in conventional meditation, you focus on your breath. In music meditation, you focus on the music. The impact is the same. The only difference is that you won’t fall asleep while doing this kind of meditation.
Moreover, you might have heard people sharing their experiences about the therapeutic effects of music. That’s because knowingly or unknowingly they indulge in music meditation.
These are the activities that don’t require much of your mental work because your body and mind have been trained to perform them without putting much thought. Think of activities like cleaning dishes, brushing your teeth, taking bath, eating, walking, etc.
When you do these activities, your mind is usually busy thinking of something else. You don’t think of brushing while brushing your teeth. Instead, you are probably busy thinking about what you are going to do that day.
To meditate while doing such activities, simply put your focus on the things you are doing. When you are brushing your teeth, focus on how your hands are moving, feel the area where your toothbrush is touching, or be aware of your tongue.
Similarly, while doing dishes, focus on the area of the dish you are cleaning, pay attention to the sound of the water, or be aware of the movement of your hands.
You already do these tasks every day. So, why not put your focus on these and meditate. It’s that simple.
For me personally, I enjoy going out for cycling. It’s also a mindless task where your body is trained to pedal. But by focusing on the path ahead, by listening to the sound of the gears shifting, or by listening to the sound of birds nearby, I do my meditation.
You might have heard of creative people (be that artists, singers, dancers, or writers) who get so lost in their work that they lose their sense of time. They spend hours working on their craft without even realizing it.
That’s what happens when people work on their passions or on things they enjoy doing. (Even I didn’t realize when 2 hours passed while writing this article).
That’s the kind of effect hobbies can have on people.
Hobbies like art, craft, writing, gardening, or even reading can have a meditative effect. The point about hobbies is that you already love them. You enjoy doing them. While being busy in your hobbies you are fully focused on the task at hand. This, as I said before, is the core of meditation.
Hobbies are thus an easy way to meditate.
However, keep it in mind that watching movies or Netflix or gaming are not the hobbies that can bring such a meditative effect.
When you start looking at meditation in this way, it would stop feeling like a boring activity. Instead, you’ll be looking forward to practicing meditation.
And when done for a longer period, meditation will help you achieve a better mental focus, clarity, and calmness.
You can also check out the video below to know more about how exactly meditation can help us.
Thanks for reading. I am Shikhil Vyas, a professional content writer and writing coach. Subscribe to my weekly newsletter called Simpler Sundays by entering your email address below.
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