Why Meditation is So Important
I never realized how important meditation was until I started studying the chakra system. Then I started taking two-hour yoga classes at Sunshine Yoga with Mirta Romberg. Her yoga is based in tradition and the poses are slow and held for periods of time. Each session ends with a guided relaxation exercise, using singing bowls, tranquil guided imagery, and essential oil sprays. Finally, a guided meditation practice follows. She teaches her students the benefits of using specific mudras (symbolic or ritual gestures) and breathing practices (pranayama).
Meditation gives us more time by calming our minds and allowing us to be more focused, even during the chaos of modern life.
Learning to meditate might be one of the most important gifts you can give yourself. Meditation takes you out of the present, frees you from your earthly concerns, and allows you to connect – without attachment – to others, to the universe, and to the Divine. Meditation transports and transforms you. Meditation brings peace and harmony. Meditation clears negative energy. Our lives are hectic and involve fast communication, and we are bombarded with stimulation from televisions, computers, cell phones, and other devices.
When done regularly, meditation allows you to be unplugged without distractions, and to spend time in silence. Silence is rare, and it is becoming a precious commodity. Meditation allows you to have clear focus, and to concentrate on the relaxing aspects of your breath. Meditation allows you to have time for yourself – it clears your mind, and it ultimately brings peace to your inner self. Having a daily ritual of meditation can lead to healing, increased energy, and a feeling of calm. The ultimate goal is to experience bliss, but even if you don’t always achieve that, you feel good after meditating. Meditation allows you to unwind, to relax, and to feel connected.
There are various methods to meditate, but the most important guideline is to take time every day to spend in meditation. Some people start their day with meditation; others meditate before bed. Many have brief meditation experiences throughout the day. The key is to be consistent, even if you only meditate for ten minutes per day. Create a meditation space and ensure that you are free from distractions and responsibilities, and that you can be away from the world as you spend time in meditation. Some people prefer guided meditation. There are numerous tapes and downloads available to help you achieve a meditative state. Many people like to have relaxing music playing when they are meditating. However, I prefer silence, and I spend my time trying to focus on nothing but silence and my breath.
There are various mantras (repeated words or sounds) that you can use to help you concentrate during meditation. There are preferred Sanskrit mantras such as Om or So Hum. However, I have found that focusing fully on my breath is most beneficial. I literally say the words silently: breath one in, breath one out, breath two in, breath two out, and so on. The idea is to keep your mind focused on something that allows you to forget about the intrusions of your daily life, and to cease your internal dialogue and chatter. During my morning meditation, I play chakra music and sit in the lotus position on my mat as I repeat my breath mantra over and over, silently, with my eyes shut. I also love to sit in the woods, or by the beach, and perform a breath mantra meditation. And I always end my day by lying down and doing a visualization exercise, followed by breath-focused meditation. I do my late-night meditation in silence, without music.
I highly recommend the classic book Mindfulness in Plain English, by Bhante Gunaratana, as an excellent introduction to meditation and mindfulness.
To learn more about meditation, the chakra system, and art, check out my website. You can sign up for my newsletter and find out about by book, which will be released very soon as well as introductory Finding Balance chakra workshops.