Sumay published this article in February 2019.
Four years ago I started meditating. When I had trouble sleeping I would sit up and focus on my breathing. Focusing on my breath helped me relax and fall asleep. Three months ago I started to understand the deeper value of meditating, and the effect it was having.
Our family just started meditating first thing in the morning. My mind is so clear. I used to be my thoughts, but now I see them and can make them come and go. My mom and I have been using an app called "Headspace", which guides us through different meditation exercises such as, letting go of stress, neutral thinking, love and compassion. Guided meditation can be helpful when we have trouble understanding the goal of the particular exercise. I don’t believe you need an app to meditate, but it might help if you are unfamiliar with the concept of trying to be in complete control of your mind.
For me, the goal of meditation is to address the issue of unhelpful thoughts. I only want to keep thoughts that make me feel good. Meditation helps me gain control of my thoughts. By learning to be consciously aware of normally unconscious actions, like breathing, I realize my thoughts are not hardwired into my brain. I meditate to keep me in the moment. I'm in the present. Not the last breath, or the one that comes next. I'm here...I'm now.
Meditating keeps you aware and in control in each moment...so when the unexpected happens, you can have more control of your reactions. For example, last week my Mom asked me to do my laundry while I was playing. I became very upset and yelled. I didn't even have time to think...it just came out. This week, the same thing happened, but this time I saw the feeling rise up inside of me. I was apart from my thoughts. I gently said hello to my anger and then gently told it to relax. I realized I was running out of clothes and responded sweetly ... telling my Mom, "I would be glad to do my laundry!"
In summary, meditation allows you to see your emotions and space to choose how to act on them. This is crucial...not just for getting your laundry done, but also for relationships...a crucial source of day to day happiness! I highly recommend even just five minutes of meditation each day!
This post was originally written as a post-script to our review of the book, "Beginning Meditation"...a family favorite.