What Is Meditation & Why Should I Do It?

You hear me talk about meditation all the time, and one of my goals with starting Tranquil Fern is to spread this practice far and wide. I truly believe that everyone should be doing it. But first, what even is it?



What Is Meditation?

A simple definition: Meditation is a practice to train the mind, using techniques to increase focus and awareness, creating a sense of calm and relaxation. Who doesn’t want to feel more relaxed?!

So, How Do You Do It?

There are many ways to practice meditation, and part of my mission with Tranquil Fern is to explore those with you. But basically, the practice is to choose a point of focus to anchor your mind to, such as your breath, a mantra/phrase, a visualization, etc. While you focus on this single object, your thoughts and mind activity will continue - you’re human, it’s okay. The goal is to become an observer of your mind. So, as thoughts pass through, you don’t need to resist them or try to stop them, you just need to practice not getting carried away by them. Acknowledge them without judgment, and then immediately bring your awareness back to your point of focus. You will need to do this over and over again, anytime you catch yourself thinking. Just because you have a busy mind, it doesn’t mean that you aren’t good at meditating. It just means that you need more practice. Just like anything else, the more time you spend training your mind, the stronger the muscle becomes. With time, the gaps between your thoughts may begin to grow longer, leaving you with more silence and peace. But until then (and this may be years), keep practicing. You are still getting the benefits, even if you feel overwhelmed by mind chatter. Sitting in stillness, slowing down, and consciously working toward inner peace is always a good thing to do. It will still allow you to feel calm, more focused, and better in touch with yourself. Don’t worry about what you think the experience should look or feel like for you. Just practice exploring each moment as it comes. Just practice settling your awareness on your point of focus - over and over again.

Why You Might Think Meditation Isn’t For You… And Why You’re Wrong

1. “My mind is too busy.” Like I mentioned above - a busy mind is not a reason to keep you from meditating. Quite the opposite: it’s a pretty big reason for us all to meditate.

2. “I don’t have time.” Another issue many people have mentioned is that they don’t have time to meditate. Now, I know many of us are busy with full schedules and full lives. Constantly running from one place, one obligation, to the next. But this is the exact reason we NEED meditation. To reverse some of the stress we are putting on ourselves with all the rushing. This is important. Make time for it. If it means waking up ten minutes earlier, spending less time on social media, or meditating during your lunch break from work, you have no excuse. Really. You don’t need to meditate for an hour every day. Just five or ten minutes whenever you can fit it in is a great start. Once you get into the groove and begin to feel the benefits, you’ll WANT to make time for it. I promise. Besides, a consistent meditation practice can actually help you learn how to manage your time better. 3. “I’m not spiritual.” Cool. You don’t have to be. Meditation is a great complement to any existing spiritual or religious beliefs/practices. BUT it’s also a perfectly practical, non-spiritual practice if you want it to be. 4. “I don’t practice yoga.” That’s okay! You don’t have to. Although meditation is technically part of the yogic tradition, it can be totally separate if you want it to be (I do believe that EVERYONE should be practicing yoga asana, also, but that’s another conversation). And you don’t need to sit in any special yoga posture to meditate. Sitting anywhere, in any position, is fine - as long as you are comfortable. You can even lie down if you prefer (just try not to fall asleep!). 5. “It sounds boring.” For me, this practice has been my safe space. A time for me to do nothing - with no guilt. To sit with myself, all parts of myself, and just be. Maybe that sounds boring to you. Maybe that sounds unproductive. But being on all the time, always productive, always going and doing, has left many of us anxious and stressed and overwhelmed, and our bodies and lives are suffering because of it. Our world today is so fast. So busy. So full of stimulation and information. We NEED the time to slow down. To give our minds a little break. 6. “I can’t sit still.” Sitting still will get easier with time. It’s okay to fidget and move your body during meditation if you need to. Eventually, you can work to find more stillness, detaching from your bodily sensations, but that takes lots of time to work up to. For now, you just need to worry about being comfortable, so fidget if you need to. And if you feel antsy like you want to get up and get stuff done (even experienced meditators feel this sometimes), try to stay. That’s what the practice is for - to detach from the mind chatter, to find stillness, and to slowwww down. Even if it’s hard. Especially if it’s hard. And soon, I bet you will begin to appreciate the time of having no obligations. Time just for you. 7. “It’s too weird/out there for me.” Nah, it doesn’t have to be. You are basically just sitting and breathing. That’s it. Sure, there are additional rituals that you can add in to your meditation practice that make it more “woo woo” (we’ll get into more of that stuff another time). But all that stuff is totally optional. You can absolutely keep it simple, making it work for you and your life.

8. “It’s not cool." Guys. Hugh Jackman, Kristen Bell, Clint Eastwood, Jerry Seinfeld, Oprah, Lady Gaga, Steve Jobs, Martin Scorsese, Jeff Bridges, Lena Dunham, Jennifer Aniston, and Paul McCartney all meditate on a regular basis - just to name a few. I’d say these are some pretty cool people, so saying that meditation isn’t cool is just silly. Besides, mental and emotional health is the new cool. Take care of yourself. Be kind to others. Be mindful. That's cool.


Okay. So What Are The Actual Benefits Of Meditation?

There are no prerequisites to this practice. You don’t need to be anything or anyone other than who you are to benefit from and enjoy this practice. Meditation can benefit every. single. one of us. That means you!

After reading the following list of meditation benefits, you have no excuse to not give it a try. We all deserve to be the best versions of ourselves so that we can make the impact that we want to make on those around us, on the work that we do, and on the world.

Reasons To Meditate:

-Reduces stress.

-Improves sleep.

-Lessens symptoms of depression & anxiety.

-Increases focus & productivity during work hours.

-Boosts memory.

-Improves cardiovascular health.

-Lowers blood pressure.

-Increases feelings & acts of kindness. (We ALL need this one.)

-Promotes emotional health & self-image.

-Fights the powers of addiction.

-Improves relationships.

-Increases compassion.

-Reduces burn out & increases job satisfaction.

-Improves quality of life.

-Promotes empathy. (YES!)

-Increases your sense of connection to the Universe.

-Inspires a deeper connection to yourself.

-Enhances creativity.

-Improves decision making abilities.

-Enhances your immune system.

-Reduces physical & emotional pain.

-Increases gray matter in your brain (areas of the brain associated with sustained attention, self-control, compassion and bodily awareness).

-Reduces anger.

-Connects you to your Intuition.

-Allows you to discover your true Self.

-It’s FREE!

-And it can be done anywhere at anytime with little to no supplies.

Alright, how many of you could benefit from one or more of the above? (Raise those hands!) So, what are you waiting for? Let’s get started!

How Do I Start?


Visit the home page of my website, and join my mailing list (by clicking on the link at the top of the home page that says “Get started with a free guided meditation!”). You’ll get a meditation link sent straight to your inbox, and you’ll be the first to know about any new meditation opportunities!

Stay tuned for my 30-day meditation guide and recorded meditations to be released for sale SOON! Plus, lots more free meditation tips and guided meditations on the horizon. In the meantime, here’s another meditation for beginners to try:

https://soundcloud.com/nicoledunlap/meditation-for-beginners/s-Ugw1J

(You want more? Check YouTube. There are so many options out there! And I will have more for you soon, too.)

Thanks for being here and for taking the time to read. Do yourself a favor and find a little stillness today. See what you discover- even if it is just a few moments of chill in your day. Because we all could use a little more of that.

The Divine light in me honors the Divine light in you.

I bow to you.

xo,

Nicole

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