Meditation is an interesting word. While its definition seems pretty straight forward, what it evokes in people differs greatly one to the other. In fact, if you asked your closest friends and family, you would most likely receive some starkly different responses. Though the idea of meditating may seem to some as 20 minutes of boredom, or even wasted time, what acceptance of this word can do is outstanding.
One doesn’t need to go on a lavish retreat in a foreign country, or seek out a guru, to learn about the benefits of meditation. All you really need is a few moments of concentration, a little creativity, and the desire to learn a new tool. Meditation isn’t about sitting alone, cross-legged, in a dark room with candles and incense, it is about mindfulness. It’s about bringing focus and acceptance to daily tasks. While we all have to-do lists containing less desirable boxes to check off, being able to go about this in a mindful way can actually make the menial more meaningful; it just takes a different approach than what we are used to.
With a simple Google search, one is able to pick up easy tips on what it is to meditate. According to the Buddhism About page, meditation is the amalgamate of 4 simple steps:
1. Mindfulness of Body
2. Mindfulness of Feelings
3.) Mindfulness of Mind
4.) Mindfulness of Dharma
Mindfulness of Feeling - While this can (and should) include what emotions become apparent during the action, what feeling means is literally how the activity works with the senses. Instead of eating while watching TV, reading, or even having conversation, try taking a few moments to engage with your food before scarfing it down. It may be weird not to use utensils, but try feeling your food, exploring the texture or temperature, smelling it, and getting a good visual image before actually taking a bite. While chewing, see how that texture feels in your mouth. Listen to the noises the food makes. See if you can still catch wafts of the food's scent. These small steps take only a few moments, but help you engage with your food, tasting it in a way we oft experience.
Photos courtesy of the Guardian, Memecenter, and Connect113