Meaningful Meditation - Like Weightlifting for the Brain
By Josie Smith, Registered Yoga Instructor | Toronto Athletic Club
What is Meditation? Meditation is like weight lifting for the brain!
“Meditation is the act of training your brain to connect with the present moment”..
By letting go of thoughts of the past and thoughts of the future the practitioner is able to settle into what is and with practice can observe the ego or the mind chatter at a distance without going into the emotion of the thoughts. Thus discovering viscerally what is permanent and what is illusory. This discovery leads to a deeper understanding of what generates happiness. A seasoned practitioner does not search externally for fulfillment or happiness as they can see that a new car, a nice bag or a big house do not predict lasting forms of happiness.
Meditation when regularly practiced begins to change the way your brain works and is scientifically being proven to create new synapses in the brain. Yoga describes our negative thinking habits as Samskaras, which are like deep grooves in the mind replaying over and over creating potentially negative states of mind. Meditation creates positive states of mind that build new happy grooves, by keeping the practitioners focus on virtues like compassion the ability to be more compassionate grows. Like any muscle the mind needs to be trained to perform optimally.
Setting up for Meditation:
The state of meditation cannot be taught, like sleep it is a state of consciousness that cannot be forced, it has to just happen. What can be taught are methods for practice as well as parameters that will encourage meditative states.
Parameters: Getting Started…
1. Set a time of day you would like to meditate and try to stick to it, best times are just before bed or after waking.
2. Decided before you begin how long you plan on meditating and set a timer so you know when to come out of the practice. (10-20min is a good start)
3. Create a space that is clear of clutter or negative energy, designate this your meditation space.
4. Create a comfortable area to either sit on the floor or perhaps in a chair if you have problems sitting on the floor.
5. Begin by taking a few deep breaths to relax your body, sit up right but not tense.
6. Do not force the mind to be still, just watch it as if you are watching a move. IT will gradually slow down.
7. Pick your focus, be it to concentrate on your breath, a mantra like Let Go or a virtue like compassion, stay with the focus for the duration of the meditation.
Methods: Sound. Mantra. Breathe awareness.