Welcome to the 10-part meditation blog series that focuses on the various ways that meditation can assist you and your overall well-being.
Each week I will publish a blog specifically dedicated to how a meditation practice can assist with lowering anxiety levels, seeing your path, help your thoughts go by more easily, etc.
Before diving into this week’s topic, I want to take some time to provide some definitions and answer some questions to ensure that we are all on the same page.
Meditation: thinking deeply or focusing one's mind for a period of time, in silence or with the aid of chanting, for spiritual purposes or as a method of relaxation
Mindfulness: the practice of maintaining a nonjudgmental state of heightened or complete awareness of one's thoughts, emotions, or experiences on a moment-to-moment basis
Why should I care about meditation?
Because it has a direct connection to health benefits such as lower blood pressure, improved blood circulation, lower heart rate, less perspiration, slower respiratory rate, less anxiety, lower blood cortisol levels, more feelings of well-being, less stress and deeper relaxation.
Who should meditate?
EVERYONE! You don’t have to have some enlightened, spiritual abilities to practice meditation. You don’t have to be a yogi and go around saying namaste to everyone. You don’t have to know someone within the meditation community to be invited into it. Literally anyone from toddlers to elders can do and benefit from meditation.
Where should I start?
Take your time in trying out all different types of meditation and mindfulness activities to figure out what suites you best (resources provided below). After more and more time is spent meditating you will become more and more comfortable with the idea of being still and focusing your attention to your breath.
Quick Practice: Let’s Give It A Go!
1. Find a quiet space
2. Sit or lie down and get comfortable
3. Close your eyes
4. Breathe natural. Make no effort to control your breathing
5. Focus your attention on your breath. Observe your bodies movements with your breath. Focus your attention on your breath, remembering not to control it and allowing it to flow in and out naturally. When your mind wanders, that’s okay, just thank your thoughts and return your focus back to your breath.
a. Start with doing this for a few minutes, and then add one more time as your practice progresses.
The Mindful Twenty-Something
Wherever You Go There You Are
How to Walk, How to Sit, How to Eat, Reconciliation
Coming to Our Senses
Headspace Guide to Meditation and Mindfulness
UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center
Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley
Insight Timer-Meditation Timer
judg·ment | \ ˈjəj-mənt \
variants: or judgement
Definition of judgment
1a: the process of forming an opinion or evaluation by discerning and comparing careful judgment of the odds
b: an opinion or estimate so formed is not worth doing in my judgment
2a: the capacity for judging : DISCERNMENT be guided by your own judgment showing poor judgment
b: the exercise of this capacity a situation requiring careful judgment
As humans, it is hard not to judge. We can hardly help ourselves, it’s instinctual that we judge but also that we know it’s not right to judge others, so then we just end up judging ourselves! This endless cycle causes anxiety and uncomfortableness that make it difficult for us to press pause.
One thing that can assist you in finding the pause, or stop button is meditation. This intentional process can allow you to let go of the responsibility you have for others and frees you to focus on the more peaceful aspects of life.
Advise for releasing judgmental thoughts during your meditation practice:
1. During a meditation, acknowledge your judgmental thoughts that come up, thank them, and simply release them and return back to your meditation. This will happen often, so just repeat the process and continue your meditation process.
2. Throughout the meditation, try to replace the judgment with observance. The more and more curiosity you bring to the table, the easier it will be for you to turn your judgments into compassion.
3. Karma yoga focuses your meditation on serving others, and not yourself and this can assist in achieving a higher level of internal peace.
Try it out now:
Guided Meditation For Having No Judgement For Self Or Others - Listen here
Guided Meditation For Releasing Judgement - Listen here
Shannon Gonter is a professional counselor in Louisville, KY who works with young adults and specializes in mens issues. She strives to create a counseling environment that men and young adults can relate to, feel heard in and find new solutions to their negative patterns in. Learn more about her and the services she provides at www.therapybyshannon.com.