Written by Julie Meek.
I have tried a handful of times over the past twenty years to embark upon meditation. I have tried introductory courses several times and each time finished the course feeling no more competent than before. So far, the well-known benefits of this age-old practice have well and truly eluded me.
Thoughts on Meditation
It is obvious to me now that one does not embark upon or tackle meditation like an exercise program. It is a ritual or routine which requires time and practice. Considering that people have been meditating for thousands of years, perhaps it’s not surprising that I haven’t been able to master it in a couple of decades.
The definition of meditation depends on the form you are practicing, however many forms involve training your mind to focus and achieving a state of being and awareness.
It is well documented that many successful people make meditation part of their day and in fact find it essential not just to their health but for developing their ability to focus on the truly important things in their personal and professional lives.
Meditation Helps Develop Skills In:
- Knowing what your mind is paying attention to;
- Working out where your mind’s attention needs to be focused; and
- Maintaining attention on what you want your mind to be focusing on.
The difficulty with developing focus is not just the external distractions in our lives but also the internal chatter of our minds. It is very difficult to sit and keep your mind focused on a single thing when automatically your attention is often drawn to replaying the past, worrying about the future and other negative thoughts. Feeling relaxed and focused is a quickly acquired positive side-effect of meditation but it can also help develop mental strength, resilience and performance.
Experts in this centuries-old practice have various methods of meditation including focusing on the breath, counting and mindfulness. Although many people may associate meditation with spiritual practice, in a practical sense it is attentional practice.
If, like me, you have found meditation to be challenging, there is good news to be found. In my research on this topic I have discovered that meditation doesn’t need to be lengthy and many have suggested that simply focusing intensely in a concentrated way for 30-60 seconds is better than trying to maintain focus over a long period of time, while your mind wanders here, there and everywhere.
Balance, Focus & Harmony
Interest in maximising performance has been gaining momentum for a while but there is no doubt that times are changing. Amidst the incessant demands that we are subject to each day, people are more interested in things that bring balance, focus and harmony. Meditation is one of those things.
A nutritionist and dietitian, Julie Meek is one of the most respected sports’ dietitians in Australia with over 15 years’ experience in public, sports’ and corporate nutrition. www.juliemeek.com.au
Take a moment to try our introduction to basic meditation recordings.
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