Everyone’s meditating. Gwyneth Paltrow, Jennifer Lawrence, Beyonce – you name it, everyone’s doing it. Russell Brand says it saved him from addiction while Cameron Diaz claims it’s “super empowering”. With such ringing celebrity endorsements, I’ve been giving it a go myself.
Truth be told, I’ve dabbled in meditation for a while after taking a class at the Dublin Buddhist Centre eight or nine years ago. However, I only began to take it seriously over the past year. And I mean really seriously (sometimes twice a day, dontcha know!).
So why the sudden interest in all things transcendental? Well mainly because I was stretched to breaking point last year and I needed a practice to help me take a step back from it all.
As someone who is a slave to her emotions, I needed a goddamn break and meditation has given me that break. I should point out, however, that it’s a temporary relief. Meditation is not cumulative and works best as a daily practice. Just like sleep, you can’t store it up for later use – it’s a use-it-or-lose-it type of practice.
Before I started my daily practice last year, I’d had an epiphany – that my biggest asset is time and I was throwing it away every day on projects I wasn’t passionate about. And while my workload hasn’t decreased, I’ve begun carefully clawing back my precious free time to spend with people I love and on my own health and well-being.
Whether it’s ten or 30 minutes, I’ve been learning to sit in the silence, focus on my breathing, pray and give thanks – before rushing off to attend to the rest of my day.
And it works. I’m calmer, I’m happier, and I’m more fun to be around (so says Mr TBI). Of course, some days when I feel like pants, I still feel like pants after meditation but just less pants.
Finally, if you are interested in trying for yourself, here are a few tips to get you started on the road to enlightenment. Namaste!
Take a class
Meditation can be baffling. At first I didn’t quite understand the concept, couldn’t concentrate on my breathing, and couldn’t keep my mind from racing. So it can be helpful to take a class in meditation and learn from a master. As I mentioned before, I took classes at the Dublin Buddhist Centre and found it beneficial to learn from experts who had an existing framework of knowledge.
Use an app
Most days I use the free guided meditations from the podcast TheMeditationPodcast.com. Approximately 20 minutes long, the meditations use something called binaural beats to help you relax into a deep meditative state. Basically, binaural beats are signals of two different frequencies that are played separately into each ear forcing the brain to try reconcile that difference, thus inducing a relaxed state.
I also use a meditative album called Binaural Beats on days when I don’t want a guided trance. The album features tracks from three minutes to 30 minutes in length, so you can do as much or as little as you want.
Buy a book
I love a good meditation book. My favourites are Pema Chodrun’s How To Meditate and Susan Piver’s Start Here Now but any book from a reputable author will do – just get inspired and get on that meditation pillow!
Do you meditate? What advice would you give to budding Buddhists?