With a lot of influence and roots in Eastern culture, meditation has been incorporated into religious practices and everyday lifestyles for thousands of years. The earliest records of meditation date back to 3500 B.C. to 5000 B.C. found in Indian scriptures rooting into the practices and traditions of early Hinduism, as well as in ancient art found all over the globe. Though meditation has recently picked up popularity in the Western world, practices have been used in ancient traditions in almost every major religion worldwide.
Photo: Ian Stauffer on Unsplash
Though meditation is often thought of as simply closing the eyes and chanting an “Om” mantra, this is only one way that meditation can be practiced. Eastern practices such as meditation and yoga were brought to the United States through the early twentieth century, popularized by an actualized yogi by the name of Paramhansa Yogananda. The beauty of these deeply rooted practices is that they mean so much to every single culture that they are a part of, and spiritually ascend said religions in many different ways; dually, meditation is also an incredibly simple tool to ascend everyday activities, mental health, spiritual health, and overall well-being. Meditation can seem like a very daunting task to start off with, but like anything, becomes easier with time.
Meditation, in essence, is clearing the mind in order to check in with the body, mind, and soul, subconsciously. This is much more difficult than imagined, because our brains are constantly being stimulated - exactly why it is so beneficial to meditate. To start, all you need to do is breathe. Close your eyes, and focus on your inhale and exhale - the rise and fall of your chest, the sensation of the oxygen leaving and entering your body. There will be thoughts that float into your mind, but that’s okay. Acknowledge them, but don’t give them any attention. They’re just thoughts, and you can imagine them floating by, just like clouds in a blue sky. Starting with just one or two minutes of this a day, and working up, has proven many benefits to overall health - from reducing stress, to giving a new sense of clarity to life, to staying in check with emotions and the physical body.
Though there are countless forms of meditation, the second simple practice to start with is a mantra meditation. If you look up the definition of meditation, it is a written or spoken discourse expressing considered thoughts on a subject. Similarly, a mantra is a thought or statement that is repeated out loud, or silently to oneself. Rather than just focusing on the breath, you will focus on an intention that is relevant to the present moment, and goals you want to accomplish whether they’re in the next few minutes, hours, days, or years. Some great mantras are:
I give and receive love abundantly.
My heart is open and full of joy.
I am healthy, well, and strong, and will use my strength for good.
I am grateful for the abundance I have, and the abundance that flows my way.
I will do everything today that my future self will thank me for.
I am fulfilled.
I will find the light in every situation, and I will be the light in every situation possible.
I am beautiful in every way.
I am grateful for ____.
There are so many more, and so many that are apparent to your life right now. Just by making a few minutes of meditation routine can drastically change routine, mindset, and overall well-being. Take some time to find your intention, breathe, and remember that the most powerful words are, “I am.”
Jorgie Ingram is a seventeen-year-old artist, activist, writer, dancer, and choreographer, currently living in New Hampshire. Finishing her high school studies online as a senior, she looks forward to continuing her studies in college, majoring in dance. Jorgie's passion is to inspire - whether that be through her artistry, writing, or everyday interactions. She loves to give back, and aspires to do so throughout her life. Apart from dancing all over New England, choreographing for the stage and film, painting, writing, baking vegan goodies, and spending time outdoors with her family and friends, Jorgie is the founder of local environmental group, Kearsarge Changing Climate Change, and one of the lead organizers for NH for Humanity's performance art events.