Meditation is a wonderful, free, available to anyone tool for making your life better. Who can meditate? Anyone! Whether you are 6 years old of 600, you can benefit. There is nothing too confusing a child can't understand. There are enough forms that anyone with any help challenge can find a format that works for them. What are some of the reasons people meditate?
To lower blood pressure.
To reduce stress.
For focus and clarity.
For fun and enjoyment.
For personal growth.
To increase concentration.
Who meditates? Many religions in many cultures practice meditation. Many Catholics enter a meditative state as they chant Hail Mary's or Our Fathers. There are Hindu and Buddhist mantras and chants. There are walking meditations and sitting meditations. Some meditations, such as Sedona method or TM are not connected to religions at all. Some are connected to exercise practices, such as yoga. Some are casual and unstructured, such as the meditation of watching fish in a fish tank. Studies show the blood pressure is lowered by this calming activity. If you do it quietly, letting your thoughts come and go as you observe the fish, you are meditating!
I was told one form of meditating is to "think of nothing." I found this very hard to do. No sooner had I sat down when a million thoughts assailed me. Everything from, "what's for dinner," to "why does my back hurt?" assailed me. I asked my friend what he thought of, to get to "nothing." He said he let his mind go black. For a while I thought I was just too busy minded to do meditation, and then I found one trick. Putting on classical music, or any music without words aided me to getting to the "no mind" state. When I found myself completely listening, I found I was no longer thinking on anything else. It helped to keep my eyes closed. You can experiment with what kind of music effects you the best, some such as "Gregorian Chants" were designed to aid people reach a meditative state.
I received further information regarding the "no mind" state from another teacher. It isn't required to have absolutely NO thoughts, it is a goal to become detached from the thoughts. Imagine you are sitting at a train station, the teacher told me. You see the trains come and go. You don't get on every train. The trains are like your thoughts. As you sit in meditation, they come to you. Observe without judgment, what comes up, and let it go. I found this easier than imagining "nothing" to start with.
You will know you achieved something if you feel more rested in lieu of more agitated when you are done. If your rested mind functions better overall. You find yourself solved problems more spontaneously, prioritizing better, getting along in relationships at work and at home, and getting those perfect check ups at the doctor regarding your blood pressure. If you are falling asleep, or ruminating or stewing, try starting with a shorter time period and working yourself up to longer meditations. Try starting with an active meditation, or a focused meditation.
An active meditation can be walking meditation, or the meditation of sweeping, or the meditation of cooking. Anything you do in a state of mindfulness can become a meditation if you let yourself enter the zone. One monk told me a lovely meditation, as he walked very slowly he would say to himself "I am home," as he put down one foot. Then he would say "I have arrived," as he put down the other. He would repeat this to himself slowly and purposefully knowing that whatever he put attention on, would expand. Another seeker told me a similar story, with two different sayings: "I am in God" and "God is in Me." He promised me profound change would occur as I started to think on that!
A focused meditation might be on healing psychological rifts. Close your eyes and think on the last incident that incited strong emotion in you. Imagine vividly the situation. Let your self feel where it rests in your body: in your heart? In your head? Where ever it is, let it be. Stay with the discomfort and anxiety. Ask yourself as you sit with it, "I am I willing to welcome this . . . (fill in blank)?" Be honest and courageous. When the answer is "yes" and NOT before, ask yourself the next question: "Could I let this go?" Wait for it, stay in the discomfort until you feel the answer is "yes." When the answer is yes, ask yourself the third question, "when would I let this (fill in blank) go?". Don't force it, stay in the meditation without opening your eyes, or straying to other thoughts. When it is for real, the answer will be "now." If you have been honest with yourself you will feel an emotional release. The incident will no longer bother you, if you did this perfectly. It will bother you less, if you haven't completely erased it. If you bring it down from an intensity level of a 10 to 6, be happy. You can work on it again next time.The important thing, is you are on your way to managing your emotions. You are not required to pay a therapist, or get absolution from an outside source. Meditation is available to you, now! As you continue to work through more and more incidents you will eventually start to see a pattern, and stick with it long enough, uncover the root cause to your anxiety. For example, why do over bearing people keep popping up in your life? Could it be one of your parents was overbearing? Heal the initial incident that started the pattern and you will see a marked decrease in overbearing people in your life. Or you will stop being effected by overbearing people. Eventually both with happen. That is the power of a daily meditation practice!