For years, people have tried a number of things in order to clear their mind and help them relax. All manner of different activities have been created, all with the sole intent of trying to find a way to relax. Some of them work fantastically, others less so, and many of them work great for one person but not at all for another.
This is simply the way human beings work. Not only does an activity sometimes work for one person but not another, but sometimes the activity works for a person, but only if they do it slightly differently. This is why you may have heard many people speak of the virtues of meditation, yet hear them all talk differently about it. This is because meditation is the sort of activity that each person comes at from a different perspective. For some people, it can be a spiritual activity. They treat meditation the same way as some people treat prayer to a divine being.
Others treat meditation as a way to help them learn. It helps them clear their mind, allowing them to focus more easily on a thing they’re trying to do. Without the benefits of meditation, they say, they simply wouldn’t be able to get their brain working the way they need it to work. Thus, by meditating on a regular basis, they help train themselves to remain calm and focused, giving them an easy tool to get down to work.
So what is meditation? It’s all of those things! Meditation is simply a process to help you clear your mind and focus on things. This happens many ways for many different people. Some people focus on a particular word, speaking the word in their mind over and over, focusing on what that word means and how it sounds. Other people use relaxing music and incense, helping them focus on those things and thus, take their mind away from all the troubles and stress of the day. The important thing is that they find a way to relax and clear their mind.
If you’re interested in the idea but have no idea where to start, it’s not that difficult. Maybe you’ve even tried before but found yourself unable to unhinge the way you were told you need to. That’s a common problem with beginners. They try to meditate; only they haven’t been taught how. So after five or ten minutes, they realize they simply keep thinking of random stuff from their lives and declare it a failure.
The problem is that meditation doesn’t happen over night. Being able to clear your mind and focus is a skill, just like any other skill. You have to build up your abilities over time, little by little. In the case of meditation, this starts by trying to meditate for short periods of time at first. Set things up so that you can more easily relax. If you like music, put on some music. If you like the smell of incense, then light some. If you don’t like those things, then don’t do them. There’s no right or wrong way to meditate.
Once you’ve set things up to help you relax, set a timer. Try to meditate for a short period, maybe five minutes at first. After you get used to clearing your mind for that period, then set the timer for longer. Little by little, you’ll learn to be able to clear your mind for longer and longer periods of time. You’ll wonder why it took you so long to start!