How to Start Meditation: A Beginner’s Guide for Stressed-Out Moms

Hey guys, I have another guest post today…this one is a two part post again about meditation. Meditation is a very hot topic …especially when I get this many requests for guest posts on meditation. When God created us, he created our minds to control every single thing about our bodies. The mind/body connection is extremely powerful. Although meditation originated in eastern culture, commonly from other religions that I don’t personally endorse, much can be learned from some of their methods. Anyone can apply them and achieve the benefits of meditation. I have a client now that deals with anxiety/panic disorder and have suggested some of these methods to him. It’s very difficult to convince someone to try something new that may take a little time when they are used to taking a pill in about 2 seconds.

If you’ve been paying attention, our society is beginning to put value on eastern medicine, from essential oils to acupuncture to meditation. There are many alternative methods of treatment not related to taking a quick fix pill, as our society is so accustomed.

If you think you’re too busy to learn meditation, then you’re exactly the type of person who needs to try it. Meditation is a useful life skill for anyone who deals with stress and anxiety on a daily basis.

Whether you’re a corporate shark who works nearly seven days a week or a supermom who holds down two jobs to support her family and raise her kids, proper and consistent meditation can give you the focus and stability you need in order to thrive and survive.

Meditation is Ultimately About Healing

While the practice of meditation has seen a rise in popularity over recent years, some people are still intimidated or skeptical about trying it out. And a lot of that fear and skepticism comes from the false notion that meditation is an ultimately spiritual experience. To be fair, this might be because historically, meditation does have deeply spiritual and religious roots.

All notions of traditional meditation are aimed at some form of mental and/or spiritual enlightenment. In vipassana meditation, practitioners are taught to become fully aware of all thought and sensation and recognize that all of it, whether bad, good, or neutral, are temporary – thus, there’s no sense in getting attached to anything.

It’s all about letting go of all worldly cares, anxieties, sorrows, pains, and all other types of suffering that beset the human condition.

The idea is that once you’re able to detach from all that suffering, you are that much closer to knowing your true self and the true nature of the world.

On the other hand, the modern idea of meditation is less about spiritual enlightenment and more about addressing the adverse conditions that stem from today’s hectic lifestyles. Even doctors and health experts recognize the fact that meditation can be a highly effective tool for alleviating stress, overcoming anxiety and depression, processing trauma, relieving pain, and fighting insomnia. Physiological healing relies a lot on the state of your mind, and if you can control your mental state, you can influence how well your body heals itself.

While modern and traditional notions of meditation seem to clash, the reality is that they’re actually both aimed towards healing and overall wellness. By meditating in order to overcome the modern maladies of stress, insomnia, trauma, and anxiety, you’ve already started on the path towards inner peace and true enlightenment.

So if you haven’t already done it, it’s time to give meditation a try.

Practice Meditating While Sitting Down First

Before you learn to meditate in bed, you first need to learn to meditate in the sitting position. Mindfulness is an integral part of proper meditation, and the best way to develop it is to start in a position that keeps you relaxed but also allows you to be fully conscious and aware.

The following basic meditation exercises are loosely taken from the traditions of zen meditation as well as vipassana.

Vipassana, also known as insight meditation, is the same method of meditation that Buddha and his followers used to attain enlightenment. Although its roots are buddhist, this method is allowed to be taught to people of all faiths, and in no way does it take the place of time spent with God in prayer.

It’s Not That Hard to Start Learning Meditation

For beginners to meditation, the first step is to get your body in the proper position. You can sit on a chair, on a mat on the floor, or even in the traditional lotus position – it’s up to you, as long as you keep your spine upright.

The next step is to breathe with your diaphragm. Keep your shoulders down and relaxed and try to use your core to draw air in and out of the lungs. Breathe deeply, but more importantly, as consistently as you can.

Now, choose a point of mental focus. It can be your breathing itself, a specific thought or idea, a memory, a mantra, or even a sensation – anything at all that you can keep in your head for the next 10 to 15 minutes.

Maintain your posture, keep breathing deeply and consistently, and keep your mind focused at all times. It may sound simple, but…

Sustaining Focus is the Hardest (and Most Important) Part of Meditation

“What am I doing? I could be using this time to work or take care of the kids. This position is really hurting my back. When is the next episode of Game of Thrones coming out again?”

These are just some of the thoughts that might start swimming in your head once you start learning to meditate. Allow them to happen, acknowledge the thoughts, but don’t dwell on them. Instead, pull your mind back towards your point of mental focus.

You can’t properly meditate while your mind is focused on something else, so while these questions are important, you can deal with them later.

Retaining focus is probably the most challenging as well as the most integral step in any form of traditional or modern meditation. By teaching your mind to keep focused, you’re sharpening your ability to ignore distractions, whether they’re in the form of thoughts, sensations, or memories.

Recognizing these distractions and then allowing them to pass is a technique that comes from Vipassana meditation. Although the traditional explanation and execution of the technique is a lot more nuanced, the idea behind doing it can basically be boiled down to one goal: achieving equanimity – calmness and level-headedness in the face of difficult situations.

So whether you’re beset by thoughts of responsibilities, sounds that you hear in the distance, or even a pain or discomfort while sitting upright, the idea is to let it all pass and maintain focus.

A sharpened mind can be a very powerful tool.

For buddhists who use vipassana as well as practitioners of zen meditation, the development of focus is an essential step towards inner peace and enlightenment. And for a stressed-out mom balancing work and parenthood, it’s a practical and drug-free way to deal with insomnia, stress, anxiety, pain, depression, and many other forms of mental and physical adversity that parents face on a day-to-day basis.

So, once you’ve got the basics of meditation down, always find some time in the day to meditate, whether it’s just 10 minutes or a full hour.

The more consistently you practice, the better you’ll be at attaining a sharp and level-headed state of mind, even in the face of extreme stress and adversity. And once you feel that you’re able to meditate properly at will, you can try meditating in different positions.

Wait, there’s more than one way to meditate? Part two of this post will be published tomorrow. You can click through to get to it here or just go to the home page tomorrow and read it there.

If Peter Mutuc isn’t sculpting, writing, editing, drawing, skating, cycling, wrestling with his Labrador, or actively regulating his sleeping patterns through at least 150 minutes of weekly exercise, he’s usually just online, creating and developing web content for One Bed Mattress. [www.onebed.com.au]

 

 

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