LIFESTYLE

Begin Meditation For Goal Setting Least Important

Meditation is one of those cloudy areas of personal development that people shy away from because the conception (or misconception) is that meditation is spooky or weird. That is far from the truth though. There are many levels of meditation, just like there are many levels of one’s individual thought process.

In ancient times, meditation was a daily part of life for many cultures. Now in Western cultures, meditation is a hot topic among those who have heard of its benefits toward prosperity in mostly health and wealth. But meditating to gain something can be a misleading practice for those who are just starting out in meditation. For myself and others who practice meditation, we have found that to begin meditation for goal setting is least important. What is most important in starting meditation is to understand meditation and why it works.

Meditation Knowledge

People do not agree on the definition of meditation. One theory is that meditation is a religion. Another theory is that meditation is a science. My theory: meditation is a practice – a practice of stillness. That is the definition that works for me. For those who need to understand meditation more and its origins, you won’t find it within this article. I would encourage you to continue your research on Google, at your local library, or even finding a meditation group on Meetup that is open to join. The fact that you are curious means there are probably more resources that can give you the answers you need.

This article is written from my experience with meditation. I am a thinker and I love knowledge. There is so much on the subject of meditation, from which great thinkers practiced to meditation, to meditation yoga poses, to meditation for children, to meditation for CEO’s, you name it and there is something somewhere that is written about meditation. I am not open to criticizing one teaching of meditation over another. I learned from an elder a long time ago:

In life, you need to lean how to eat the chicken and throw out the bones.

So I take the definition that what works for me from meditation, and leave alone that which doesn’t. From all the information I have read about meditation, one of the more consistent themes I have read is that mediation involves being still. That still definition is also called being silent or silencing the mind. So how does one silence the mind?

One silences the mind by slowing down their thoughts. Sounds simple, right? Well it is not that simple. If you think of the comparison theory that the mind is more powerful than a computer, having billions of neurons that analyze and process information, then you know the challenge in doing something to halt all of that processing – as best you can. So how does one slow down their thoughts?

Probably the most popular method to slowing down one’s thoughts is to focus on something else, like breathing or anything else that doesn’t require any physical action. For example, some people focus on the waves of the ocean, the hum of the air conditioner, or the sound of the wind. I guess this focus can be on just about anything that is steady and continuous. This leads to the next point that this practice of stillness for longer periods of time is the catalyst for steady meditation.

Steady Meditation

In my study of mediation, I learned that if I am going to get the benefit of meditation (which for me is to be still and calm my mind), then I need to earnestly give myself the room and the opportunity to meditate. For those I know who practice meditation, meditation is a part of their life. They know that at some point during their day, they are going to meditate. One of my friends meditates twice a day because they have figured out that works best for them.

Does it matter what time of the day one meditates? This can be tricky because if the point is to be calm, for some that means to take advantage of calmness when it is present – and that is close to the time when one arises. Some people meditate while laying in the bed and others meditate shortly after waking up. I think it is best to meditate before the wheels of daily life start turning. How much easier is it to stop a train that’s just starting to gain momentum than one that is moving full steam ahead?

Getting into the habit of meditation also gives rise to the question of the length of time of a meditation session. Honestly, this is personal preference. Some people meditate for 15 minutes, 30 minutes, an hour, or even for hour (there are monks in India who meditate this long!). As long as there is a benefit gained from meditation that does not interfere with one’s responsibilities, then in my unprofessional opinion, one can meditate for as long as it is beneficial.

Meditation Benefits

What are those meditation benefits I mentioned? I have heard people tell stories that meditation has helped them physically, spiritually, and mentally. I personally know people who through meditation have overcome anxiety, reduced stress, calmed their fears, gained self-confidence, sharpened their focus, practiced self-love, gotten closer to their spiritual guides, stopped addictive behaviors, and even found their should mate. That seems like a lot of positive outcomes to attribute to meditation, but if it works, it works. Now those benefits came after practicing meditation for more than a week. So I stress again that for beginners new to meditation, it is important to get into the habit of meditation and understand why it works.

Why Meditation Works

I believe meditation works because rather than being prone to the magnet of the physical life that pulls images and experiences into one’s mind and thoughts that require notice or action, meditation slows down the thoughts from external influences. Once the mind is slow in one area, we can pay attention to another area.

It is no coincidence that is how we plan and live our lives for the most part. Here is what we say, “After I get through this busy period at work, I am going to take a vacation.” We learn that busy, busy takes up its own space and we live with it. While meditation does not render external influences powerless, I think meditation does provide a stable conscious atmosphere for one’s internal thoughts to surface and gain momentum.

Conclusion

Richard (his name for the purpose of this article) is a friend of my family who took a trip to India to learn more about meditation. He was shocked he could not meditate for longer than 30 minutes after practicing for a few weeks. Meditation takes time.

Because meditation involves slowing down one’s thought process (mainly influenced by external topics), I am not convinced those new at meditation should fill their meditation time with an abundance of desires and personal goals. Just relax instead and revel in the stillness. We all need that stillness in order to birth those desires and goals in a unique-to-me way. Do you agree? In what ways do you practice meditation? If you have any comments or questions, please leave a comment below or send me an Email.

12 Comments

  • C

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts about meditation. I agree that meditation is a practice of Stillness. I think it’s good that in earlier times it was something that people practiced more and their daily life. Now there is not as much Stillness and there is a lot more activity in people’s daily lives. I meditated yesterday morning and I thought it felt nice. I sort of do a breathing thing and it can be very centering. 

    Thanks for all these reminders because I’m still a beginner to meditation so reading your article helped me a lot.

    • Anilise Starre

      You are so welcome C. Thank you for mentioning the word “centering”, because that is a good way to look at meditation. It is like not straying too far to the left or too far to the right. For some reason, I picture a tightrope walker who has to stay right in the middle to get from one side to the next. Even in my example of a tightrope walker, it takes time to get across the rope. And meditation is not a quick action that you do once and that’s it. It really does take deliberate continual practice to keep getting benefits! Thanks again for your comments. Good Luck in your meditation journey. Make sure you check back often and if you have some questions or comments or want to see more information on meditation at that time, drop me an email.

      Anilise

  • jessetoikkanen

    Nice and informative article! Hundreds or more than a thousand years ago people used to meditate as their normal lives but now it seems to come more popular again. I have done some yoga and I think its some kind of meditation as well. Or meditation is part of yoga. What do you think about yoga? 🙂 
    Kind regards -Jesse

    • Anilise Starre

      Hi Jesse, I tried Yoga but I could not get the flow of the chanting correct. The chanting was a distraction. If yoga works for people, it works. Maybe if I had stuck with yoga, I woud have learned how to practice it effectively. Thanks!

  • Dave

    Hallo there Anilise, 

    I have been doing meditation for over 2 years and I can confirm what you are saying. Meditation is more of a practice than anything else. You have to teach yourself to look inside and calm the external forces that disrupt your focus. And this takes time.

    I remember when I started out, I could barely mediate for more than 5 minutes. Every time I came to focus well, I was lost into other thoughts and concerns of life. But as I have learnt, this is how it works and through consistency and patience, you get to start focusing and then the benefits roll in. 

    Thanks for sharing this post. 

    • Anilise Starre

      Dave you are absolutely correct. Consistency, patience, and focus. All of these work together and not always to the same degree. If I am consistent by meditating every day, that doesn’t mean that I am always focused. It does become a practiced art of sorts!

      Thanks for the comments!

  • RoDarrick

    Wow! Let me firstly commend you for writing this great post concerning meditation. Meditation like you have stated is the state of being still and being sensitive to thought and to a realm of silence to discover the most important and set priorities right. Though I’m still new to meditation but I think the maximum I have gone is 30minutes too. But within that periods, I do get my thoughts sorted out more easily.  Like you said, one should just enjoy the stillness and the process involved Iin it. Interesting read this article was, for me.

    • Anilise Starre

      Thank you RoDarrick. Yes there is something to be gained from the stillness. We go and go and go, until all of sudden we don’t know what we are doing! Have you heard the saying, “I’m running around like a chicken with his head cut off”?  All of the frenzy and commotion of running around and you can’t think – your mind is gone! 

      Meditation brings it all back so that things can settle down within the mind. It is not a one-time process either. It took me several times to sit there and feel like I was doing something worthwhile, because nothing happened at first. Then sometimes I would get a vision or insight. But now I’m just still and whatever happens in meditation happens. I am not expecting anything. I’m just enjoying knowing that I’m doing some internal resting.

      Thanks again! 

  • Aaron Skudder

    Hi Anilise.

    I spent many years meditating daily.  I found that it was easier to meditate if I met with others for group meditation.  In those days I would meditate with the followers of Osho. Do you agree that meditating in groups helps to deepen the meditative state?

    There was a point in my meditative state when my brain would switch gears I would have visions and deep clarity.  I have heard this referred to as the alpha state.  Have you had such experiences in meditation?

    • Anilise Starre

      Aaron, Small world! I have also meditated with the followers of Osho. I did not participate in group meditation often. It was not as beneficial to me and I think it was because I was sitting in an uncomfortable chair! I was not comfortable enough to relax. Had I been in a more comfortable position, then maybe I would have received more benefits. While I do believe in the power of groups, I am not sure if I belive a group setting would deepen meditation more for an individual than meditating alone. It seems maybe group meditation would benefit the groups goals…

      Yes I have reached the alpha state in meditation where I received visions and insight about certain topics. I liken the alpha state to having an infusion from infinite intelligence. But I will add that I reach the alpha state easier when my life is calm; I am well-rested; and my personal environment is in good order. Maybe the alpha state in meditation is the reward for maintaining peace in the physical realm. Just my thoughts.

      Thanks for the good comments for engaging conversation! 

  • Carol5162

    I myself have never taken meditation seriously until recently. I was one that used to think that meditation was somewhat of a religion. I could not understand why someone would choose to seclude themselves in order to meditate,I have realized the power of meditation and it is amazing!

    I believe that meditation surely calms anxieties. With the focus to breath and let your mind relax, the benefits are obvious.

    Thank you for such a beautiful reminder to meditate and let go. This is a very insightful article.

    • Anilise Starre

      That sounds like me – I heard meditation was either a religion or part of religious practices. This alone kept me from learning about it to the point where I would even consider meditating on my own. I am glad that you could relate to the article. For me it does calm anxiety – or better yet, it stops thoughts before they become an anxiety. Good luck with your meditation journey! 

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