Meditation is the practice of focusing your mind intently on a particular thing or activity, while becoming relatively oblivious to everything else. The deep breathing activity I described in an earlier post could be considered a basic form of meditation with your own breath as a focus point. The mantra meditation used by yoga practitioners and many other mediators is another form that places the focus on a special sound or word, called a mantra. If sitting quietly isn’t your cup of tea, you can also combine mediation with a gentle, rhythmic activity, such as walking or t’ai chi. Personally, I really like walking. It is easy to do in any place, and not obvious to others.
A full-blow mediation session typically lasts at least 20 minutes. However, you can get a smaller taste of the experience by practicing a mini-meditation called “Counting to 10.” It is based on the old adage that you should count to 10 when you are upset. (My mother was a big proponent of counting to 10…) It turns out that this advice really works if you focus intently on the counting.
Here is a variation to try the next time you need to calm down quickly:
1. Take a few long, deep breaths to relax. Focus on the breath going in and out.
2. Imagine yourself in an elevator at the top of a 10-story office building. Breathe in deeply. Then silently say the number 10 as you breathe out.
3. Continue counting backward from 10 to 1 this way as you mentally ride the elevator down from the top floor to the bottom. With each passing floor, feel yourself sinking deeper and deeper into relaxation.
Please share your favorite mediation strategy with us…