The small meditation 1 × 1 - meditation made easy
What image do you have in your mind when you think of meditation? Maybe a monk in the lotus position, sitting quietly for hours and doing nothing? However, meditation is much more than that and can be practiced in many different ways. Therefore, in this blog I would like to answer at a glance all the questions that you often ask yourself when you want to learn more about meditation.
What exactly is meditation? And: What isn't it?
You can think of meditation as training your brain; exactly how you can keep your body fit with exercise. This practice is not only encountered in Buddhism; it occupies a certain space in many religions. However, this does not mean that all people who meditate are spiritual or religious. Another misconception is that meditation is a relaxation technique. The state of inner relaxation is actually a pleasant side effect, as meditation can be strenuous and requires a bit of practice.
Essentially, meditation is the conscious directing of attention. To be fully aware of what is happening in this moment and to move from “doing mode” to “being mode”, i.e. to simply be . Meditating means being in the here and now and using all your senses to perceive what is there in the present moment.
Or as Allan Watts said:
“Meditation is the discovery that true life is always achieved, in the present moment.”
Why should I meditate?
Maybe you're wondering what meditation actually means and why you're seeing this term more and more often. Meditation is actually a very old practice that has found its way into our “modern” world through psychotherapy as part of mindfulness-based approaches. But what exactly makes meditation so attractive?
We live in a very hectic world and people are increasingly feeling stressed and unbalanced. On the other hand, many people need a balance, which they find in meditation, for example. Because meditation has a calming effect: breathing deepens and the heartbeat slows down. Anxiety and stress are reduced, and the effects of meditation can even be seen neurologically in a change in brain waves. There is currently a lot of research being done into the long-term effects of mindfulness and meditation, and there is increasing evidence that meditation can have significant effects on well-being.
To give you a personal insight into the effects of meditation: For me, it took two to three weeks of daily meditation before I really noticed changes. I became more aware of my surroundings again and was much more easily disturbed (even though I actually get stressed out very easily!). Today meditation is an integral part of my morning routine and I notice that I am much more balanced. I am also very aware of my body again and feel what it needs. This means I can observe my feelings and thoughts more “distantly” and am no longer so reactive.
Although you can find a balance to the stressful everyday life in meditation, it is not about “pushing away” or suppressing stressful or negative thoughts that you have. Rather, you observe your own thoughts and notice what is happening at the moment. So you try not to immediately identify with what you think. Because we are not our thoughts, we have thoughts.
In this sense, meditation has no goal to “work towards”; the goal is simply to be present.
Sounds good, right? But what is the best way to approach meditation?
How do I meditate correctly?
First, I want to emphasize that there is no “right” or “wrong” way to meditate. At first you will probably find it very difficult to just let your thoughts pass you by and not go along with them. This is totally normal - our heads are so full of thoughts that it's difficult to imagine how we can calm down this "monkey mind". But as I said, it's not about not thinking, but about becoming aware that you are thinking and what you are thinking.
For example, you can use your breath as an anchor to continually return to the present moment. So when you find yourself wandering, focus on your next breath.
Meditation requires practice. You can train your brain like a muscle, and muscles need time and regular training to grow. Unfortunately, achieving a meditative state and calming your head doesn't work overnight. But just 10-15 minutes of “head training” per day is enough to experience the positive effects of meditation - so don’t worry, you don’t have to sit down for several hours every day for meditation to work.
Precisely because many people find it difficult to meditate at the beginning and not everything changes immediately, most people stop meditating after a few “unsuccessful” days. But if you force yourself to “hold on” for a few more days, you quickly notice that something is happening. So try to establish meditation as a habit in your everyday life, because it's really worth it. There are a number of helpful tools and apps that make getting started much easier - more on this in the next section!
Learn meditation and integrate it into everyday life
When is the best time to meditate?
In principle, it doesn't matter when you meditate. Many people, myself included, find it very pleasant to meditate lying or sitting in bed immediately after waking up. Then your head is even clearer and it is easier to reach a meditative state. However, you should be careful not to fall asleep again. But you can also meditate at any other time of day, whatever suits you and feels right for you.
How long should I meditate?
You can start with two-minute meditations and then slowly “work up” to 15 to 20 minutes. You don't necessarily have to sit cross-legged or close your eyes. An upright and relaxed seat is always recommended, but there are actually no hard and fast rules. You can meditate in whatever way is most comfortable for you. You might find it helpful to light a candle and focus on the flame with your eyes half-closed. You can also play calm music in the background if it helps you relax.
Where should I meditate?
You don't have to sit on a yoga mat to meditate or carve out a lot of time for it - in fact, you can meditate anytime, anywhere by consciously focusing on what's happening around you and within you.
However, meditation is usually much easier when you are undisturbed and in the quietest possible environment. External stimuli can quickly disturb you and it is difficult to keep your attention on yourself.
What exactly should I do?
There are no rules here either, but rather different variations and techniques, which I would like to introduce to you in another blog post.
Guided meditations, in which you are instructed, are a great way to get started. You can find guided meditations on YouTube, for example, but there are also great apps that introduce you to meditation. Headspace, Calm and 7Mind are probably the best-known apps. However, my insider tip is InsightTimer , because this app is completely free and you can choose exactly what you need from countless meditations.
If you don't want to be guided, you can also concentrate on your breathing, feel into your body regions one after the other or go through in your head what you are currently perceiving through your senses.
Do whatever you feel like doing. And most importantly: Be kind to yourself and don't get upset if things don't work out the way you want at first. Instead, recognize yourself for giving yourself and your head a little break and doing something good for yourself!
If you would like to find out more about the topics of mindfulness, healthy eating or sustainability, take a look here over.