By: Anca Budau
Meditation, Mindfulness, and Musings: What are these, and how do they help?
The noise in the streets, slammed doors, TVs that can be heard in the background, phones whose notifications don't stop, songs that resonate from the headphones of your office colleagues. All of these are part of our daily lives and they are all factors of stress, anxiety, frustration, and nerves. If it is difficult for you to concentrate, you have insomnia or you often find that you get too angry for trifles, there is a simple remedy that will change your life. Welcome to the world of meditation! Here's everything you need to know about this practice.
What is meditation?
Meditation, as first described in ancient Vedic texts in Old India and Hari Sharma's 2015 study, is an exercise that aims to go beyond the limits of the mind, in the deepest level of our inner self, our interior. Meditation is an exercise in consciousness, an experience of completing our being.
Meditation means transforming your mind so that you can live as well as possible. The purpose of this practice is not to transform you into a new person, but to teach you to see things from a new perspective and to better understand yourself and those around you. Also, the purpose of meditation is to help you live in the present and focus on the things you do without your mind "going" elsewhere.
What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a way of being, rather than a technique, it’s a contemplative state of the present moment. It involves allowing yourself to be exactly as you are, exactly where you are, and allowing the whole world to be exactly as you are, without wanting to be otherwise.
Therefore, mindfulness is a mental state, and our ability to achieve and maintain this state can be trained through mindfulness meditation. This can be practiced through several techniques, such as focusing on breathing, body scanning, or Hatha yoga. But the state of mindfulness, as a state of full awareness of the present moment, can appear without having meditated before. We can eat mindfully, we can wash mindful dishes. Basically, almost anything we do can be done in a state of mindfulness. Meditation is only meant to develop our ability to live this way.
What is musing?
Musing, as presented by Tara Bennett-Goleman, is meditative awareness. It combines elements of Eastern meditation practice with a Western search for a solution. Musing differs from meditation by a purpose: in musing the thoughts are followed from the moment of their appearance, during their development until their organic completion.
The goal is to understand things, emotions, and feelings as they are, without distorting them through the impulse and reaction inherent in any soul movement.
I keep hearing you are supposed to visualize, but I can't see words or pictures in my head, or have an inner dialogue. Now, what am I supposed to do?
5 tips for those who can't meditate:
1. Where should I begin?
You need to apply meditation without thinking too much about where to start. Any beginning, whether it is meditation, routine exercises, or yoga, begins with small steps. Start by sitting in a Turkish position, doing nothing. Relax! As you manage to get into the rhythm of the practice, you will always find time for it and you will do it every time with pleasure. Of course, this takes time, and you have to be patient to see the results.
2. I have no time
It is understandable that all the responsibilities, the career, the children take up a lot of your time. But everyone is in this situation. And everyone needs to find those five minutes to stop and focus on breathing. At first, you will have no revealing experience. But meditation can save you time when you practice it regularly. By being more aware and vigilant, you will eliminate mistakes that take time to resolve.
There are a few tricks you can do during the day if you feel very pressured by time. Any action, such as food or dust, or walking down the street, can be turned into action. In these moments we can pay attention to our sensations and to what is happening inside our being.
3. I can't stop my thoughts
It is true that we live in a world with problems and stress is more and more present. But in the end, it is a choice whether or not we focus on these negative things. Meditation is a method by which we can take a step back, we can disconnect, living at the same time in reality. So yes, the problems will be there when you return to reality, but wait for that moment to focus on them. It's about you now.
If you feel that your thoughts are still distracting you, keep a few moments before meditation to digest them. You can even write them down and then review them from a new perspective when you finish the meditation. Another way to stop them is to meditate with mantras and direct your entire focus on the repetition of some syllables.
4. I get bored quickly
Try to find pleasure in this state of mental peace. Change your perspective: it is not boring, it is liberating. If you still get bored of sitting in a static position, there are also more dynamic meditations. But to really get results, try to meditate with a mantra or listen to a guided meditation. You will certainly not get bored because you are constantly waiting to see what happens.
5. I can't find my balance
In the beginning, nothing offers special, remarkable results, that's why it takes time. Don't expect that, after the first meditation session, your whole life will change and you will be a different person, the one without worries and without problems. Meditation is extremely beneficial if you become friends with it, it will be part of your life and your daily routine. You have to think that it is your escape from the daily crowd, it is the time given to the self, therefore, with patience and perseverance you will reach the desired results and you will become a balanced person, both physically and emotionally.
You don't need a meditation marathon to reap the benefits of meditation: studies show that in 10-minute sessions you can improve your concentration, memory and even train your brain to better cope with everyday situations. Don't stress that you're not good at meditation. If you can't detach yourself from the thoughts in your mind, it's okay: simply acknowledge that at that moment this is happening to your thoughts and actively change your focus on your body and breath.