In keeping with the demands and pace of modern life, we are often stressed and over-tired. Our stress and tiredness make us unhappy, impatient and frustrated. It affects our health. Meditation makes your mind calmer and more focused. A simple ten or fifteen minute breathing meditation as explained below can help you to overcome your stress and find some inner peace and balance. Meditation can also help us to understand our mind. We can learn how to transform our mind from negative to positive, from troubled to peaceful, from unhappy to happy. Overcoming negative minds and cultivating constructive thoughts is one of the purposes of meditation. This is a profound spiritual practice you can enjoy throughout the day, not just while seated in meditation.

Why Learn to Meditate

The purpose of meditation is to make our mind calm and peaceful. When our mind is peaceful, we are free from worries and mental discomfort. When our mind is not peaceful, we cannot be happy, even if we have a good life.By practicing meditation, our mind will gradually become more peaceful, and we will experience a purer form of happiness. Eventually, we will be able to be happy at all times, even in the most trying circumstances.

Often, it is very difficult to control our mind as it is easily swayed by external circumstances. If things go well, our mind is happy, and if things go badly, our mind immediately becomes unhappy. For example, if we are forced to work with a colleague whom we dislike, we will probably become irritated and feel aggrieved, with the result that we will be unable to work with him or her efficiently and our time at work will become stressful and unrewarding.

These fluctuations in our frame of mind arise because we are too affected with the external conditions. By meditating, we can achieve a clarity that will enable us to control our mind regardless of the external circumstances. Gradually we will develop a mental equilibrium.

If we practice meditation on a regular basis, we will come to experience an inner peace

A Simple Breathing Meditation

The first stage of meditation is to stop distractions and make our mind clearer. This is accomplished by practicing a simple breathing meditation. We choose a quiet place to meditate and sit in a comfortable position. The most important thing is to keep our back straight to prevent our mind from becoming sluggish or sleepy. We keep our eyes partially closed and focus our attention on our breathing. We breathe normally through the nostrils, and we try to become mindful of the sensation of the breath as it enters and leaves the nostrils. This sensation is our object of meditation. We should try to concentrate on it to the exclusion of everything else around us.

At first, our mind is very active, and we might even feel that the meditation is making our mind more active; but in reality we are just becoming more aware of the activeness of our mind. There will be a temptation for our mind to wander to other thoughts, but we need resist this temptation and remain focused solely on the sensation of the breath. If we find that our mind wandered, we should immediately guide it back to the breath.

If we practice patiently in this way, gradually our distracting thoughts will subside and we will experience a sense of inner peace and relaxation. Our mind will feel lucid and open and we will feel refreshed.

Even though breathing meditation is only the beginning stage of meditation, it can be quite significant. We can see from this practice that it is possible to experience inner peace and contentment just by controlling the mind, without having to depend at all upon external conditions. When the turbulence of distracting thoughts subsides and our mind becomes still, a deep happiness and contentment naturally arises from within. This feeling of contentment and well-being helps us to cope with the busyness and difficulties of daily life. So much of the stress and tension we normally experience comes from our mind, and many of the problems we experience, including ill health, are caused or aggravated by this stress. Just by doing breathing meditation for ten or fifteen minutes each day, we will be able to reduce this stress. We will experience a calmness of the mind, and many of our usual problems will disappear. Difficult situations will become easier to deal with, we will naturally feel sympathetic towards other people, and our relationships with others will gradually improve.


Written by: Andrew Walsh
La Maison De L'apothiquaire Spa & Retreat

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