Meditation is defined as the practice of focusing on a particular thing for a period of time to improve the functions of your mind. Meditation originated from the term meditatum which means “to ponder” in Latin. My first encounter with meditation was in early middle school. My English teachers dedicated the beginning twenty minutes of class to sit down, close our eyes, relax our minds, and focus on breathing slowly. My teachers preached that the practice would improve our focus and memory, and I immediately doubted them. I thought, how could sitting unoccupied benefit me? It wasn’t until doing my own research that I found out meditation has proven benefits. With consistency, the practice can improve memory, sleep, and a stronger sense of self-awareness.
The earliest forms of the practice likely originated in India 1500 BCE in reference to Vendatism, one of the first philosophies of spiritual enlightenment. Enlightenment means an experience of insight into the true nature of reality, which is pretty much meditation. There are many types of meditation, but this article will forces on mindfulness meditation. The most talked about type of meditation today, mindfulness meditation likely originated by the Buddha around 500 BCE and was named Satipatthana. Mindfulness focuses on centering your mind and bringing awareness. This can be practiced at any time of the day, but the most common times are after waking up, and before going to bed. To do this, you’ll want to start by finding a comfortable seat, sit up straight and relax your body. After sitting, most prefer to close their eyes but that’s totally optional. Focus on breathing in and out, and it’s up to you whether you take deep breaths, normal breaths, or a combination of the two. You may get distracted by a sound or feeling, or a random thought that pops into your mind; we’re human, this is how our brains operate, it’s completely normal. When this happens, don’t get angry at yourself. Be ‘mindful’ of the thought, then let it go. What may help is centering your attention on a part or function of your body, such as your hands. After relaxing the rest of your body, try to focus on how your hands feel: are they warm or cold? How do they feel against the surface they’re resting on? When you’re ready, slowly open your eyes (assuming they’re closed) and reflect. Bring your awareness back to everything around you, and appreciate the whole day of possibilities you have ahead of you, and what you want to do with it.
It will take time to see big effects, like improved memory, focus and awareness, but these things are easily achievable from at least 10 minutes of meditation a day. In the midst of a pandemic, a lot of people are experiencing excessive stress which can increase feelings of isolation, making meditation especially prevalent.
Mead, Positive Psychology