Highly qualified, established food & lifestyle writer, former restaurateur, founder professional writing business, Articul8. Long, diverse writing history, passion for food culture, the land & inspired food language.
Published November 19th 2010
Many people here the word 'meditate' and conjure up weird and wonderful images of sitting in contortionist positions and repeating unpronounceable chants. Wrong!
While meditation can be practised in the lotus position, and chanting mantras is a very worthwhile practise in its own right, meditation is basically the repeated practise of stilling the mind and body to give the spirit some time and space to surface and integrate with the rest of us.
There's no need to fear the word 'spirit.' While it means different things for different people, it is also that vibrant, alive 'you' that can easily get trampled on in western societies, which generally pay less attention to matters of spirit than their eastern counterparts. Also, the word 'meditate', which comes from the Latin root 'meditatum', simply means 'to ponder'. Now, there's nothing too weird and wonderful about that.
Meditation has been practised for centuries with very good reason. It is thought that primitive hunter-gatherer societies might have discovered its power to access altered states of consciousness while staring into the flames of their fires. You can read a little about its journey through time to western societies here.
Meditation, even just five minutes a day to start with, inevitably leads to increased self-awareness and brings many health benefits: stress reduction, a heightened ability to problem solve and deal with life's challenges, decreased risk of heart disease, and happiness. There are many other wonderful benefits. Read more about them here.
Learning to meditate is simple – and it is recommended that you keep it that way. It is best practised at the same time and place each day, and that you follow a simple procedure. Meditation can be practised in a group class situation or simply alone at home.
Some of the best guidance for going it alone I've come across is a free, online and easy course run by the Meditation Society of Australia. It offers all you'll ever need to start practising a way of life that will greatly benefit you both almost immediately and forever into the future.
It guides you through the preparation phase and offers many classes, or simple meditations, to follow. Starting with Class 1 is best, as is sitting (literally) with one class for a week or so before moving onto the next class.
It's a fabulous resource, which gives you access to a bunch of other things to complement your meditation, such as free meditation music and having an inspiring one-minute daily meditation emailed to you on a daily basis.
There's nothing else in the world like meditation. It's free, easy, always available and promotes health, happiness and peace of mind.