Meditation has been growing in popularity in the West, and studies have shown that it has many benefits. These include stress reduction, which can lower the chance of high blood pressure, stroke and heart attack; providing a break in the day, thus refreshing the meditator who then has renewed energy and attention to put to whatever tasks may be at hand; interrupting a person's chronic patterns of thought, some of which are quite negative and not good for overall health and productivity; and bringing a person's attention more to the present day so that he or she can enjoy what's happening now more instead of being stuck worrying about past problems. These are just some of the benefits meditation can have.
There's a rub though. For many, it is difficult to sit still, focusing attention on breathing in and out. Some of us get distracted easily, or we get achy and itchy. It's just not always easy to stop, sit still and focus our attention on something simple, like our breath or on a pleasant scene, which are some of the methods suggested for beginners.
What to do? One possibility is to join a group that is led by a person who is skilled in leading meditation. Some people know how to produce just the right rhythm and tone in their voice so that those learning meditation can actually focus and begin to enjoy some of the benefits of the practice.
Another suggestion is to tell yourself that whatever is going on is OK. Give yourself permission to be a very bad meditator. Sometimes this sort of direction is all a person needs to relax and start to enjoy the process of meditating.
Another strategy, which has brought success to many, is to meditate to special music and sounds designed specifically to help you get into a meditative state. Using earphones makes the experience quite powerful. The best thing to do is to get recommendations from friends who've used CDs to enhance their meditation. Absent that, you'll just have to take the plunge and buy a few. Some may be disappointing, but you're likely to find at least one CD that's effective for you if you buy three or four of them. Andrew Weil is a good place to begin if you're looking for a healing CD to listen to.
Times for these meditation sessions on CD can range from 10 minutes to an hour. You can work yourself up to the longer sessions gradually.
As for the ones that don't work for you? You can give them away at office holiday sales or sell them at garage sales or on Ebay. The guide whose voice irritates you just might be the one to lead your neighbor to Nirvana. You never know.
Read about the TRUE story of a young, modern day and very competitive Ahtlete and how she has stumbled into the world of Meditation. Read her strange but true journey inwards...