Ever had the feeling that if you focused more on a particular task, you could have done better? Our ability to perform any challenging task depends on our skill & intelligence. But if you complete the same task while being intoxicated, walking in a straight line can also feel very hard.
So what changed? Our skills and intelligence did not change. But what we lacked was focus and awareness. It is a common thing to make mistakes like writing a text and making a typo, forgetting your phone charger at a restaurant, or not being able to perform better professionally. More than often, people are aware that they are clumsy & forgetful, but their IQ or intelligence may have nothing to do with it.
The problem is, their mind is not able to optimally focus on all tasks they perform. Luckily these attributes such as attention, focus, and ability to harness our own true mental potential are something that our mind can get better at through MEDITATION. Through meditation, we can improve our own ability to focus. And eventually, train our brain muscles to perform tasks efficiently.
Meditation is simply a practice where an individual trains their ability to focus and increase attention. Additionally, it also raises awareness of the self and surroundings. The individual does this by using techniques like mindfulness or merely focusing on an activity, object, or thought and observes it in a non-judgemental way. You can achieve mental clarity and a peaceful perspective of self & surrounding through regular training.
A lot of cultures have used meditation over centuries. Notably, there are a lot of methods out there that will help you train your mind to act more efficiently. It is essential to understand that meditation is as regular as working out. Our mind is constantly bombarded by thoughts and perspectives all throughout the day. In effect, it sometimes seems like we have lost ourselves in the abyss of confusion.
Meditation is not something that only sages & monks are supposed to do. Over decades it has evolved from its spiritual context and found its application even in business & health. Consider it a training exercise for your mind, which will only lead to a clear perspective and better focus. Likewise, the ability to be optimally attentive also increases.
Meditation can also help you fight depression, anxiety, pain. You can also delve deeper and reach a state of eternal peace. However, it is essential to note that like any training, you need to be consistent, patient & accurate to get the results you desire.
What Do You Get From Meditation?
Meditation is a skill, and it takes some practice. It is important to understand that what you aim for is not perfection. You can always grow and get better. Again the benefits of meditation can be numerous. According to Gaiam, some of these are:
Concentrating on the ‘present’ helps you focus better on tasks. When you are in the moment and not thinking about failure or a deadline, you only FOCUS ON THE SOLUTION. Meditation helps in keeping that state of mind alive, which helps in improving efficiency in tasks. Identically it improves your decision-making skills.
Relieves Stress & Anxiety
our mind, even in an idle state, tends to find thoughts to keep itself busy. It can sometimes lead to fixating on thoughts that can make you anxious. Our professions can also be the root of stress due to unhealthy working hours/practice. These can eventually push someone into depression. Meditation helps you get a tighter hold of those mental ropes and gives you the skill to direct your mind on paths that you want.
Self-Awareness & Finding Peace
Peace is subjective, and while there are many interpretations of it, it all points to delving deeper inside our minds. As a matter of fact, to control our minds, we need to fight our mental barriers and accept ourselves as we are. Meditation is something that helps you clear your mind and focus more on the self. It merely is like taking a walk inside our mind and exploring what lies within.
Fight Depression And Stay Happy
Once we accept & understand the reality of who we are and be truly aware & in control of our mind, fighting off depression can be more manageable. Our ability to control our mind grows with the practice of meditation. And eventually, it gives you a firmer grip on your emotions. Meditation also helps in accepting our surroundings and find constructive methods to deal with issues that bother us. `
Things To Consider When Buying A Gift For Someone Who Loves To Meditate
If you have a friend or a loved one who is inclined to practice meditation, you might feel like gifting them something that helps in the process. You might want to buy meditation gifts just to motivate someone to practice it. Or be like a constant reminder to meditate.
No matter what your purpose is, there are certain things you should consider before buying meditation gifts.
Whoever this gift is for, keep in mind who they are professionally and how much time do they have in their life to focus on meditation. If you are gifting someone who already practices meditation, then think of ways to enable their progress. Locate them on the meditative path and gift them something that will help them improve their own process, rather than suggesting a new method. Eg. If your friend prefers to concentrate on their thoughts and meditate silently, gifting them a singing bowl might not be the best idea. Instead, thinking of something like a meditation cushion or incense sticks can be better.
If you are looking to motivate a friend to try meditation, you might be better off buying something that you know how to use. Let your experience guide them. Keep in mind their lifestyle and try not to overwhelm them with a lot too soon.
The Perfect Choice
While a lot of meditation gifts are advertised as the perfect enablers to meditate. We must understand that there isn’t a perfect bath salt, or a perfect mala or a perfect buddha tapestry that will help all.
Try not to fixate on the attractiveness of products and their price point. On the contrary, think more logically in terms of how can you help enable meditation for the specific individual you want to gift.
Meditation Gift Ideas
If you find your friend cross-legged with their eyes closed more than often, you might just think of buying them a meditation gift. As The Good Body says, a lot many things can enable/motivate people to meditate.
Our olfactory sense has known to affect our mental state directly. A foul smell can drive us out of a store. Whereas, the smell of wet mud makes us feel pleased. For meditation, there are a lot of products that can help engage olfactory senses and help enable a peaceful meditation session.
Music & Sound
Our sense of hearing can also be used to attain a peaceful mental state. While all of us cannot afford to sit near a riverbank to meditate every day, we can undoubtedly find music and soundscapes for sale that can help create a similar effect. You have a huge choice in terms of music, chants mantras, and natural soundscapes. You can choose and see what fits best.
A lot of cultures promote the use of a cushion or some kind of separation between the ground and the individual while meditating. It helps in keeping the energy inside the body. It does not dissipate to the ground. Apart from this spiritual purpose, a cushion can provide lumbar support and help as insulation in cold temperatures.
A lot of meditation literature has been published. Moreover, the age-old knowledge has been translated into books of all languages. Books can help in self-teaching & sharing meditation knowledge to people with/without meditation experience.
A popular artifact used by a lot of people to meditate is the ancient Tibetan singing bowl. It is trendy and traditionally used by Buddhist monks to concentrate on a particular sound range to attain enlightenment. The bowl basically is made of metal and is capable of resonating with a sound field for a specific duration. It can work beautifully in silent & calm areas.
There are a lot of meditation stones available in the market (wearable/non-wearable). Now, these can be a little tricky to choose for a friend. The basic idea is, certain stones have specific effects on our bodies.
Some of them are known to have peaceful, calming & cooling effects. You will need to have a deeper understanding of your friend to choose very specific precious stones. Alternatively, you can also choose from a variety of meditation stones that are not expensive and work for just about everyone.
A mala or a bead necklace can help a lot in meditation done through chanting. The beads act as a counter for each chant of a particular mantra that you might use you meditate. There are a lot of materials of beads that can be used for meditation.
Meditation For Beginners
Innumerable techniques and methods exist to meditate. However, going through all of that literature can be overwhelming for a beginner.
It is essential to understand the basics first:
Most meditative techniques will start with finding a quiet place, sitting silently, calming the mind, and focus on breathing. Our breath is our life source which is also the natural beat of our body. Focusing on the breath helps us focus on the present, clears all distractions and let our thoughts and feeling go.
Our mind tends to wander off, and it will, at first. However, by meditating, you are not trying to stop thinking. Fundamentally, you are only trying to observe your thoughts without getting carried away emotionally. Through meditation, we try and build awareness and control the restlessness of our minds and thoughts.
How to Start Meditation?
Where & When: Decide when and where are you going to meditate. Choose a quiet place/time and adhere to it to make a habit out of it.
Duration: Decide a time frame of engagement. If you are just starting, aim for a small period, something like 5 minutes or 10 minutes should be sufficient. Try and maximize this duration with practice
Posture: Sit comfortably with your back straight. But not tensed through the session. Hold your posture and do not cross your arms and legs. Try to touch the floor with your knees for a better position. Use a cushion/tapestry/carpet if needed.
Guidance: Decide whether you want to do this on your own. Alternatively, you can have a guide in the form of an individual, audiobook, or video to help you through the first time. It is better to have a guide for the first time so that you can focus better instead of concentrating on the process.
Many advanced techniques exist, that will help you delve inward spiritually and mindfully. It does not imply that these techniques are more complicated. They are merely more engaging and purpose-specific. Once you have a meditation schedule, you can try these advanced methods which suit your goals and conditions.
Meditations through sound: The use of singing bowl to meditate, audio guided meditations are advanced techniques. It focuses on sound to achieve mindfulness
Meditation through visualization: The use of our imagination and visualization/concentration on a thought. Chakra balancing meditations, body scanning & visualizations are some advanced techniques.
Meditation through chants: Some advanced meditations like mantra meditation & sacred chanting focus on producing sound through our vocal cords to achieve mindfulness.
Meditation is a process of training & self engineering our mind. Meditation practice will help lead a better life by improving efficiency, focus, and attention. Distraction is common while meditating. But the meditation tools can help you get there quicker.
For something like meditation, you might come across an overwhelming amount of literature. Think of it like any other workout. And pick something that suits you. Further, believe in it. And finally, make sure you show up & do it every day.