When the world around you is ensconced in madness, and you can’t quite seem to find a moment of peace in the storm of the day, it’s time to step back and remember those blissful moments as a child where we merely lost ourselves in the world. World Meditation Day is a call to the world to take time to participate in this millennia-old practice and clear our minds, remembering that we are people first, and workers second.
History of World Meditation Day
The History of World Meditation Day can be traced through the History of Meditation itself. Meditation has been an integral part of many religions and was first found spoken of in written form in about 1500 BCE in India. It plays a prominent role in many religions throughout the world, especially Buddhism and other Eastern faiths, but is also practiced by those who are neither spiritual nor religious as a way of easing stress and clearing their mind.
In today’s world meditation is vital regardless of whether you’re a spiritual person or not, the frantic hustle and bustle of daily activity prevent many of us from ever having a moments peace. While extremist religious groups have sometimes villainized meditation, it has been shown to have positive mental and physical effects when practiced. Reduced blood pressure, a calmer demeanor, and more precise thought have all been shown to be results of practicing this ancient art.
How to celebrate World Meditation Day
Celebrating World Meditation Day is best done by setting some time aside for yourself to clear your mind and relax. How meditation looks can vary broadly from person to person, with some preferring physical activity accompanying their practice (often Yoga or other exercise oriented activities) while others prefer to sit and take their ease.
For your own World Meditation Day celebration, find a place where you feel at ease and relaxed, whether that’s in the bath, at the gym, or even overlooking a natural environment like the ocean or forest. Then simply put yourself in a comfortable position, close your eyes, breathing steadily, and let all thoughts wander clear from your mind. This last part can be challenging at first as we are not accustomed to such mental peace in our day to day lives, but with practice, you too will be able to enjoy the benefits of regular meditation!
If you’re a beginner, you shouldn’t feel the need to meditate for long periods of time, meditation and wellbeing consultant Emma Mills tells The Independent.
“Start out with two to five minutes of meditation so as not to overextend yourself or become bored,” Mills states.
Time your meditation wisely
If you don’t think you an easily fit a session of meditation into your day, it may be best to try meditating first thing in the morning or just before bed, Mills says.
“First thing in the morning your mind is fresh from sleep and hasn’t received a days worth of impressions and so it can be easier to focus than at the end of the day when you’re full of the days ideas and concerns,” the meditation expert states.
On the other hand, meditation may help you drift off to sleep quicker in the evening.
While some think that meditation can only be practiced in a crossed-legged position, this isn’t a correct assumption, explains Will Williams, wellbeing advisor for the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and founder of World Meditation Day.
Instead, you should place greater importance on being as comfortable as possible.
“There is no need to sit with legs crossed or with a straight back, in fact it often works better when you’re in a relaxed seated position,” he states.
Close your eyes and focus on your breathing
Once you’re settled in your chosen position, the next step is to close your eyes, Williams says.
Then, you can start concentrating on your breathing pattern, making sure that your inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth.
Williams warns not to breathe “to the point of strain”, keeping your breathing nice and relaxed.
Pay closer attention to your body
When your eyes are closed, this allows you to focus on your other senses to a greater degree.
“Scan your body, connect with every part of your being and identify the most dominant sensation you feel,” Williams states.
“You should let your attention gently rest there for two minutes. By putting our attention there it will help the body settle.”
Bring your meditation to a close
When you decide you’ve finished your meditation session, rather than abruptly open your eyes, Williams advises finishing at a gradual pace.
“Once you’ve completed your time, stop thinking the sound,” he says.
“Keep your eyes closed for one and a half minutes and just tune into your breath once more, allowing yourself to integrate the experience before opening your eyes.”
Use a meditation app
If you’re in need of further guidance when learning how to meditate, then you could use a mindfulness app.
There are plenty available for iOS and Android smartphones, including Headspace, Stop, Breathe and Think, 10 percent Happier, Insight Timer and The Mindfulness App.