Why meditate when there’s Netflix?
Why meditate when you’d rather watch Netflix? When you feel stressed, the immediate reaction is organic; we want to unwind. We tend to confuse distraction with relaxation. While a distraction might be relaxing from time to time, it is not the same as intentional relaxation.
Distraction is about shutting down the world, including your own life experiences. Meditation is about listening to your inner world.
Don’t get me wrong; I like a good afternoon movie on Netflix myself, but I try to focus on using that as entertainment, not distraction.
Meditation is my go-to for gaining clarity. Many people talk about meditation but very few practice it, and even less practice it in their day-to-day lives. Partly, this is because there is a lot of misunderstanding about meditation.
There’s no reason to think that you can’t fit your favorite binge-worthy show into your life if you also add meditation.
What is meditation?
Before you start practicing meditation, you must learn about meditation. The most commonly used meditation methods are breath-focused or mindfulness-focused meditation.
Meditation practice is just that; it is a practice, not a destination. You will always learn more about yourself and the world around you as you continue your practice. Meditation can involve various techniques, from focusing on an object, word, pattern, or engaging in an activity or group, such as silent walking meditations or group chanting – all of this is to train attention and awareness and achieve a precise and emotionally calm and stable state. There are incredible benefits to meditation, and different meditations have varied uses.
For instance, in some practices, there are body scans, focusing on the present moment, loving-kindness meditations, which focus on loving-kindness as an entity unto its own. Different types of meditation might be as short as a moment or a minute meditation, or they could take days.
Meditation is practiced in numerous religious traditions; prayer can be said to be a form of meditation. Certain rituals like lighting candles and moments of silence also can be meditation practices.
Why meditate? Why should I try?
Why not just unwind, though? Why not binge a series on Netflix or relax with a group of friends? Is there an alternative to meditation or learning how to meditate?
Well, for starters, you are already doing those things, and yet, here you are reading this post, curious to see if a walking meditation or different types of meditation might click for you.
Many of us stumble onto meditation this way. We might have been introduced to a meditation practice in the past. We learned how to meditate. We know that meditation practices are considered a good thing.
We have experienced ongoing thoughts and feelings throughout the day, and we might feel our inner peace isn’t where it should be. We may find our mind wanders to worry or anxiety, or we feel stuck in depressive thoughts.
We aim to reduce stress, find balance, focus, and perhaps just experience meditation. These are the reasons, plus many more, why we might try meditation.
Benefits of meditation
Science supports meditation as a vehicle to mitigate many woes that our society has created and some of which we organically unearth through the process of living. Researchers believe meditation helps with improving the health of the mind and body.
For my purposes, while I focus on a holistic space integrating the body-mind-spirit, my forte looks at how mindfulness and the brain create release and relief.
Studies show that meditation can help relieve stress, manage anxiety, reduce inflammation, improve memory, springboard focus, and attention, and heighten awareness.
Many doctors across most specialties prescribe meditation and relaxation almost as much as they prescribe anti-depressants and medication for blood pressure management.
What does meditation look like?
One might think that you have to sit in a contorted cross-legged position to meditate correctly, but the truth is that any comfortable place is appropriate. There are different types of meditation, and it is as varied as each person. We all come to the present moment with varying meditation needs because we have different genetics, life experiences, and desires.
How to meditate for a beginner?
The number of people who have meditated increased nearly tripled from 2018. While meditation has a rich cultural heritage in many countries such as India, China, and Japan, the practice is increasingly popular across the West. It is highly beneficial to mental health and requires less than 10 minutes every day.
One way to begin learning meditation is simply sitting comfortably for five minutes. Keep increasing this as you feel comfortable, up to ten or twenty minutes if you like.
Think of your body as a vase. Whatever you notice is appropriate and should not be considered “bad” or “good” thoughts. The vase is filled with many molecules that make up the water. These molecules might be anger, fear, happiness, joy, yearning, certain people in your life (past, present, or future), and might even be boredom or anxiety.
Allow yourself to observe the vase, and as you sit, imagine the water in the vase slowly evaporates.
All of it. It becomes a cloud that passes by and turns into different energy needed somewhere else.
The vase is now emptying; the void is there to give space to calm.
What if I don’t have time to meditate?
Most meditations are only five minutes. In fact, the more you become comfortable with meditation and active your relaxation response, the more you can bring a loving kindness meditation into your life in a matter of seconds.
For instance, once you learn and meditation becomes something you crave, you can attach a word to it, like “Love” or “Sunshine.” When you are busy, you can think or say that word you assign to relaxation and feel your body respond to the medication techniques you’ve taught yourself. It becomes second nature.
You can also learn mindfulness through your daily actions. You can apply what you learn in your longer sessions throughout your day, every day. Remember that medication is a practice. It is for your mental health; it is not supposed to cause stress.
If you notice meditation causing stress, reflect on why that might be? Are you too hard on yourself? Do a body scan; are you holding tension and expecting that tension to vanish because you hope it to be gone? That might cause great suffering. When you learn how to meditate, you can focus and pay attention to your present moment.
When you do chores at home, you can incorporate a walking meditation and include a body scan when you shower. When you learn how to meditate, you can begin to practice mindfulness meditation; the act of being mindful becomes part of your medication technique.
Do not worry about mind wandering; that is normal and common. It means you are human and have a creative spirit.
Instead of being stressed, focus on a walking meditation or running an errand when you get the mail. Practice loving kindness to yourself as well as others. As you learn how to meditate, you are learning how to initiate meditation for beginners; so you can’t expect perfection.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this writing, you should never feel you are perfect at meditation; it is a practice. One that I hope you join along with me.
The link planner below will help you begin to organize your healing journey.
12-Month Self-Healing Planner
The planner helps you to curate your self-help endeavors, create monthly themes and organize your healing. I will also send you “doses of zen” prompts and inspiration, weekly.