Always considering the question of 'who am I, really?', meditation is increasingly revelled in as a form of escapism. For many, the challenge is where to start and what truly constitutes effective practise. There are many different approaches, though seeking out a quiet place to comfortable seat one's bottom to devote a moment to switching off, and creating even a modicum of inner space is a fairly good place to start.
'Soften inner dialogue, slow it down, and gently try to catch those thoughts that sneak back in under the radar. Be mindful and simply witness. And above all - let whatever happens be OK.'
This is the general guideline that I have divulged from years of questioning people, as well as the benefits of devoting those precious minutes of the day that would otherwise be spent on skates, as a wife and mama, third year student of parenting, part-time editor, culinary try-hard, chauffeur, washer-woman and dish-pig.
If the effects of meditation were to enable me to more calmly achieve all that I expect of myself daily, while mastering a delightful disposition all the while, then it has my full attention.
Research has so far enlightened me thus -
Nerve cells in our brain generate electrical impulses that are constantly fluctuating as we go about life. These rhythmic fluctuations are called brain wave patterns, which are closely correlated with thoughts, emotions and our state of being. Four categories of brain waves exist: Beta, Alpha, Theta and Delta. Beta is the most rapid and the pattern of normal waking consciousness, allowing us concentration, cognition and alertness. It may questionably be our friend in fight or flight mode but is undoubtedly our foe in causing anxiety, unease and feelings of separation. Alpha is associated with pre-sleep, pre-waking drowsiness and the magic word.. meditation. We know Theta as dreaming sleep, and Delta as deep, dreamless sleep.
If we are able to slow our brain wave patterns to Alpha and free ourselves from our daily Beta thrash mode, we benefit from projecting our tired and over-worked souls into a happy realm of relaxation, coupled with a bonus treat of increased serotonin levels bouncing around inside us, which work to regulate mood, sleep, aggression - and a big favourite - appetite.
In my book, this is definitely temptation enough to start with twenty minutes of cultivating a happier me each day.