You may have a lot of preconceived ideas about meditation. I did too. But I’ve learned that meditation is more than what I thought. Inside this post, I share my skeptic’s guide to meditation and how to get started.
Skeptic’s Guide to Meditation
It’s fair to say I’ve generally been a skeptic of meditation. Getting my mind to a state of nothingness has felt more like a chore than an act of self-care. Trying to perform a task I’m not even sure I’m capable of all while spending time doing it. It seemed like a lose-lose situation until I learned what meditation is supposed to be.
When I was able to get outside my stereotypical idea of what meditation was and see it for what it was intended to be – I started to develop more interest in it. Surprisingly, I learn that I was already practicing meditation. I just didn’t call it that.
I know how critical creating mind-space is to my current self and future self. But it started by setting down my preconceived ideas about what meditation is and learn what it means. That’s what I hope we can all do today. To set aside what we think we know about meditation and learn what it really means.
Unlike common thought, the goal is not “nothingness.” It’s an act of shifting what you think—choosing instead to fill the mind with truth.
Understanding this gives meditation more substance. It makes it practical, igniting a desire within you to experience the benefits. Today on the podcast (and the third episode inside the latest series – 8 life-transforming health tips you need), I am interviewing the queen of meditation and founder of the Muse Meditation Devise, Ariel Muse.
Inside this podcast, you will learn common misconceptions about meditation, how to get started and why retraining the brain is the secret to health. This is your guide to meditation.
Skeptic’s Guide to Meditation: Facts about Meditation
If you’re like me, meditation is not what you think. It’s not about clearing your mind to get to a blank slate, entering into a place of nothingness. Yes, it’s about clearing space, but space to fill it with truth – grounding yourself on good things, on truth-filled things, creating a way to connect with your breath, your body, and the place where your two feet stand.
It’s a present-living kind of place that slows your worries and fears, bringing you back to current day living. Not to stay stuck here but to keep reminding your mind of the purpose of here. Something we rarely do in the fast-paced world we live in – choosing to honor the chaos of life by adding more problems while simultaneously hating life.
But this is not the purpose of life. Of course, it’s easy to stay stuck in these negative patterns. Not because you want to but because your brain has been trained to stay here. As the great neuropsychologist Donald Hebb once said, “Neurons that fire together, wire together.”
Negative Feedback Loops
Most people are stuck living in negative patterns, not because it was the intended design, but because it was trained deep within our brains. Negative thoughts fire negative patterns, which get woven into the wiring. These patterns create your emotional intelligence.
The good news is, it doesn’t have to stay this way. Your brain can change, and meditation is one practice to help it change.
Meditation is nothing more than quieting your mind and learning how to quiet the negative pathways of the mind. In a way, it’s a letting go.
A letting go of the sixteen million things that will come to your mind during this simple practice, which is constantly working to refocus your mind. The more you refocus your mind, the more you’ll fire these positive connections, creating new wiring developing new programming.
This is the power of meditation.
Health Benefits of Meditation
Meditation has extensive research with extensive positive effects. That should be a given under any circumstance that offers to control what feels out of control. Making sense of what feels chaotic inside the mind creates emotional intelligence.
Given your mind never sleeps, even during meditation – meditation allows you to be more in touch with your emotions, your dreams, and your beliefs. All around, this leads to a healthier life and improved relationships, including the power to make better decisions while simultaneously not being controlled by previously addictive behaviors.
These benefits are why this comes in as one of my top eight life-changing health practices you need.
If you can change the wiring of your brain, you change your patterns, which create the action you take—making meditation a key to healthy habit formation and healthier desires. You’ll never feel better without a vision of what that means. Meditation creates that vision.
Of course, it has incredible benefits outside of emotional intelligence like reduced anxiety, stress levels, improved sleep quality, sex life and even reduced blood pressure. It’s a comprehensive tool to help you cope with the pressures of human and modern society, increasing your flow of energy which increases every positive aspect of your life.
God’s View of Meditation
If you’re a skeptic like I was, your skepticism could have been formed around your religious theology. Ironically, most religious practices are based on Christianity, and meditation is not different. Meditation is one of the oldest health practices known to man. It started at the beginning of creation inside the religion of Christianity.
As David Mathis said, “God designed us with the capacity to pause and ponder. He means for us to not just hear him, but to reflect on what he says.”
Christian mediation is founded on the truth of the Gospel and using that to fill your mind with biblical and theological substance. The truth outside of yourself. This truth gives your mind a place to fixate outside of the negative loops you’ve created for yourself.
God’s truth, the Bible, is the very essence of meditation.
God’s truth, the Bible, is the very essence of meditation.
Joshua 1:8 states, “This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.“
Perhaps this call of God to Joshua was how He stayed “strong and courageous” throughout his journey of leading people from the wilderness to the Promised Land.
Perhaps this was how Joshua kept moving forward, even though his old patterns wanted to leave him running back into the old story of slavery in Egypt.
But God, in His goodness, offers you hope and truth. A hope that you should meditate on and in the meditation will bring a power that exceeds all things. The more you meditate on what God calls you and what He has spoken, the more you will believe it by forming patterns that keep you standing firm in his truth.
Meditation bridges the gap between hearing from God and speaking to Him.
The Guide to Meditation
The mind is always thinking, constantly reacting, and always working. What you think about repetitively becomes your way of life.
Meditation is one way to make your brain work for you on the same path you desire your life to move. With over 60,000 thoughts per day, you can see how quickly the wiring in your brain can change. But this can only happen when you shift your wiring from what you hate to what you want. Mediation is a great tool to help you do that. Plus, it’s simple.
Sure, it may not be easy. Sometimes, it can be downright tricky to slow those negative patterns in your mind and help it to see something new. Trust me, you won’t come up feeling ‘zen’ right away. Like all good things, it takes time.
You may spend most of your meditation practice trying to forget your to-do list. This is normal and part of the process. It will take time, practice, and trust for your mind to open up to this new way of thinking. The key inside the guide to meditation is consistency.
Five Tips To Start Meditating
01: Find a Consistent Time Every Day To Spend Meditation.
I’d suggest adding it to a habit you already have established. Maybe you do it when you sit down for your daily devotional or your nightly bath. The more consistent you are with a time, the more your subconscious will prep for it, making it easier when you do sit down.
02. Make Your Goal Two Minutes.
Start with two minutes working up to five, then ten and even twenty minutes a day. Beginning with two minutes leaves little argument that you don’t have time. There are no excuses with two minutes.
03. Close Your Eyes in Whatever Position Is Comfortable.
You don’t have to sit cross-legged while wafting sage for meditation to work. Close your eyes in whatever position is comfortable and pay attention to what you think. This might be all you do for the first few times you meditate.
04. Understand Your Mind Before You Change It.
The first step is to pay attention to your mind. Don’t do anything else before you have an understanding of it. Once you understand your mind, start to let go of the negative patterns you keep spinning in by shifting your attention to the truth, feasting on the word of God or that greater vision for your life. Let your mind dream, let your mind see goodness, and stay there for as long as possible.
05. Choose What You Think About.
When thoughts threaten to derail you, acknowledge them but then let them go. Don’t give too much attention to anything other than your meditation. The more attention you give them, the more energy they have to grow.
Repeat, Repeat, Repeat
Repeat over and over and over and over. Like anything, the more you do it, the better you become. Choose to stick with it.
If you need help in the area, I’d recommend you try a meditation app. Or my favorite product, Muse Meditation Devise. The benefit of Muse is that it gives your real-time results on the status of your mind, helping you to see quantitative progress and real-life results.
Use code POD10 for a discount on any Muse Product.
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