There are constantly thoughts in our heads, up to 60.000 per day. Being angry with an annoying client, who floats around in one’s head the whole day, or to be tensed up because of an upcoming exam that has an impact on our focus. Things like that come together with fears for the future or traumatic happenings in the past. Eckhart Tolle, a worldwide known spiritual teacher and bestselling author comments: “Every human sorrow is caused in ourselves. Thinking is a manifested automatism we don’t think about. We try our mind to deal with something all the time, we let us stimulate by the many ways of information, the endless flow of our senses. Our thinking has become a disease, it is out of balance.”
What is meditation?
“Meditation is about learning to be in the moment without disturbing thoughts – to be present.” This is how Harry Mishō Teske describes meditation. He is a Zen master in Kiel and has been practicing meditation for more than 30 years. I am very grateful for his information about meditation and I will cite him in this article. Meditation gets more and more popular and is a form of concentration. You just perceive your surrounding without judging it. In search of themselves or while looking for opportunities to deal with problems, more and more people get in touch with different techniques of meditation and mindfulness, for therapy as well as for private use. “Meditating for the first time you will notice how your thoughts start thinking independently. Controlling this process needs training.”
What is meditation good for?
“At first you will develop a certain degree of mindfulness. You will notice what is happening around you, you will notice how you are feeling and how you deal with your feelings. You will notice your minds’ condition, you will notice the thoughts you think.”
It is verified in scientific studies that meditation develops benefits in most aspects of life. One gets more of compassion, empathy, emotion control, pain tolerance, memory performance and concentration. The quality of living rises. Thereby you will feel less tension, sorrow, anger, stress, blood pressure, fear and depression. The burden falls.
How to meditate?
There are many ways of meditation: free or instructed, passive or active, using mantras, using breathing techniques… Also, in Kiel there is a variety of offers. Zen-mediation, light-meditation, different Buddhist groups, yoga groups, Facebook groups. Or just alone at home, everyone has his or her own preferences.
Here is an example for a simple breathing meditation:
Sit down in a comfortable position. In the lotus position you are sitting cross-legged with your feet on your thighs which is optimal for meditation. But the Indian style sitting or just sitting on a chair are fine as well. If there are health problems, you can also meditate in a lying position. Now breath through your nose. A few deep breaths benefit relaxing and then your body will find the best breathing tempo by itself. Do not influence it any longer. Watch your breath. Concentrate on your breath, how it rises your stomach or how it feels in your nostrils. If your thoughts start straggling just bring them back to your breathing. It is okay to straggle, but get back and concentrate on your breathing.
The Zen master recommends:
“Close your eyes but leave it wide enough open to see something. Look at a point that is one to three meters away from you. Fix your eyes on that point. Start counting your breaths. When you have reached ten, you start from the beginning. You really must concentrate not counting eleven but to restart with one. Start from the beginning when you lose count.”
What if there are thoughts coming?
“Thoughts are no problem. Fighting against them is, because then they get even more. You must release them and not create lines of thought. Let them simply come and go.”
When is the best time for meditation?
“The best time is dusk and dawn at twilight.” At this time the thoughts aren’t as active, and cognition is unfiltered. The subconscious is more open. But generally meditation is always effective.
How long and how often should you meditate?
If you can, meditate 25 minutes per day. In the beginning 10 minutes are sufficient. Already after no more than 21 days you will notice more mindfulness.” Also, scientists from the US found out that meditating 25 minutes on three days in a row effects less emotional stress.
So you could put your smartphone aside for a few minutes and use this time for yourself. If you are still unsure whether you should try it think about the Zen masters’ words: “You should meditate now for not thinking about a blue elephant.”
Author: Armin Kessler