Man with confused look in his face

Meditate? Pft. Who has time to put on lycra, get to a beach (or other serene location), sit on their bum, cross their legs, forefinger to thumb and think about absolutely nothing for 30 minutes in absolute isolation with no interruptions? Ummm… nobody I know.

Let me share a secret with you, meditation isn’t that pretty – or complex. Quite simply, meditation is to “engage in thought or contemplation; reflect” (dictionary.com). And yes, while that definition lends itself to pretty much the entire existence of a woman’s mind when she’s not actually sleeping, it’s really just about taking time out.

Just so we’re very clear, this is NOT your everyday Jane meditation:

A bit of work getting those stones balancing perfectly
A bit of work getting those stones balancing perfectly
I'm thinking this isn't too comfortable after about 30 minutes...
I’m thinking this isn’t too comfortable after about 30 minutes…
I'm not so keen on getting wet myself
I’m not so keen on getting wet, quite frankly

 

If that’s you, good for you. But chances are it’s not. (And if it is you, don’t tell people about it – you’re making the rest of us look bad).

My sister has one of those boards with a quote on it in her bathroom and it says “Peace does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, it means to be amidst the noise and still be calm in your heart“. Brilliant. And considering the point of meditation is actually to bring a tiny bit of peace into your life, doubly brilliant.

So, let me be very clear. Meditating does NOT:

  • Have to be outside
  • Have to involve a sunset
  • Mean you must be alone on a remote island
  • Involve absolute silence
  • Involve you thinking of absolutely nothing for any or the entire duration of the exercise (ie. ‘clear your mind’)
  • And no, you don’t need to live near a beach or forest.

 

Meditation is not that fancy
Nope, meditation is NOT that fancy

 

So then, what IS meditation, you say? Meditation is:

  • Finding somewhere comfortable which can be:
    • Bed
    • On a couch
    • On a park bench
    • A seat on a bus
    • Standing on a train
    • It can even be walking
  • Focusing on something such as:
    • Your breathing
    • Each part of your body, bit by bit
    • The sounds you hear around you
    • One particular sound
    • What you are feeling (sun on your face, the wind from a fan through your hair, a hole in your sock etc)
  • Spending SOME time on this process which could be:
    • The 2 minutes of time you normally try to squeeze in some extra sleep in the morning
    • The 4 minutes it takes to boil your eggs in the morning
    • The 15 minute bath you treat yourself to on a Sunday night
    • The 20 minute train ride to work
    • The 60 minutes you’re waiting for your child to finish basketball training, swimming, tennis, etc.
    • Every day or every week
  • Easy. Meditation is easy.

 

So to reset the expectation, meditation can look something like this:

This is more realistic for meditation
This is a more realistic picture of meditation
And yep, could be this
Or this
Or this (um, yes, this could also just be sleeping)
Or this (um, yes, this could also just be sleeping)

You don’t have to over complicate meditation. It’s not glamourous. There’s no lycra. And sunsets, water and poses are definitely not the point.

So then, what IS the point of meditating? Well, I’m glad you asked. The evidence shows that people who meditate have improved:

  • focus
  • immunity (yes, immunity)
  • emotional wellbeing
  • pain tolerance
  • performance under stress
  • memory
  • high blood pressure
  • inflammatory disorders
  • PMS
  • menopause
  • empathy
  • oh gosh, there’s too many to mention, I could go on and on, but you get the drift

 

Aside from drinking lots of water, getting enough sunshine and clean living, meditation is up there with my most recommended prescriptions for wellbeing. And now that you are starting to get an idea of how easily you can incorporate it into your day, maybe it’s time to just do it.

 

 

Photo credit: unsplash.com

REAL meditation
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Phillipa Huynh

Phillipa, a kinesiologist working in Park Orchards and Thornbury, Victoria, teaches you how to make your life ‘fit’ again. A big believer in positive change, Phillipa teaches you how to understand your past so you can map your future.