What comes to mind when you hear the word ‘meditation’? Sitting on a big pillow, legs crossed, putting every thought out of your mind and wondering when it will be over? Mental pictures such as these evoke the response, “I don’t have time to meditate”, or “I tried it once and can’t do it.” The truth is that meditation is simply the act of getting quiet for as long as you determine and doing nothing. That’s not a task, that’s a mini-vacation.
Just 5 minutes of meditation daily can make a huge difference in what may be a very stressful life. You don’t need a pillow, or incense, spiritual music, a secret mantra to chant, or a guru to tell you what to do. All you need do is find a quiet place, sit with your back straight and close your eyes.
During these few quiet minutes, whether it’s 2 or 5 or 10, your only task is to focus attention on your breath: where it seems to start and end, how deep you breathe, how long it takes to inhale and exhale and how each of these steps make you feel. Thoughts will cross your mind – not to worry – that’s called being human. As they appear, refocus on your breath. That’s all you have to do.
Stress can destroy minds, bodies and lives. Focusing on your breath for 5 minutes, whether you are getting ready for an important meeting or about to make a speech or have a ‘talk’ with your significant other, stop, sit and breathe. Taking just 5 minutes a day to breathe in a quiet place can release hours of stress, convert worry into peace and eventually change your entire way of living.
Dr. Marcia J. Hootman