Meditation is an exercise which aims to improve attention and awareness. There are many techniques to help with meditation, including mindfulness or concentrating on a particular item, thought or action. The aim of meditation is to "achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm state."1
"The goal of meditation isn’t to control your thoughts,
it’s to stop letting them control you."
It has become especially popular since the 19th century, with many choosing to add meditation to their daily routines, aiming to negate the impact of the frantic lives we lead and better connect with themselves.
Meditation has been linked to an increase in feelings of self-worth, inner peace and overall happiness, whilst reducing stress, anxiety, depression and pain.
There are many ways that you can choose to meditate. Generally meditation is a solo activity, but it can also be practiced in groups.
One of the most common ways to meditate is through concentration. Choose a single point to concentrate on; be it an object, an image, a sound or activity. Focus all of your conscious thoughts on this. If your mind wanders or you get distracted, do not get frustrated, simply reorient your concentration back to your focal point.
Used correctly, both writing and drawing can be an effective method of concentration meditation. Copying text or a photograph can improve your mental concentration and focusing the brain on the sensations surrounding these can help focus the mind.
If you are a writer, you can copy your favourite text or simply write and rewrite your personal mantra. If you prefer to draw, choose a photograph you like, then set to copying it. Do not worry if the lines falter and do not aim for perfection. The aim is to allow your mind to be free of conscious thought, except for the acknowledgement of the act itself. Think of the way you hold the pen, the feel of the pen touching paper, the sound as the tip glides across the page.
Getting into nature and drawing a beautiful vista can also be used as a form of meditation. When you shut off the world outside apart from the view, the natural sounds and the art you are creating, you can free your mind and find meditative peace.
Another popular form of concentration meditation is called ‘The Heart of the Rose’. Inspired by Robin Sharma’s book, "The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari", this technique is used to strengthen your control of your own thoughts.
"All that you need to perform this exercise is a fresh rose and a silent place…Start to stare at the center of the rose…Keep staring at the rose. Notice its color, texture and design. Savor its fragrance and think only about this wonderful object in front of you. At first, other thoughts will start entering your mind, distracting you…This is the mark of an untrained mind…Simply return your attention to the object of your focus. Soon your mind will grow strong and disciplined."2
Keeping a meditation journal can be a great way to log your meditative journey.
After meditation, spend a few minutes jotting down your experience. This makes you relive the session and reflect on the thoughts and feelings which may have come to the surface during.Inside blogger Kristine Macabare's meditation journal
It also is a good way to keep track of when you have had a difficult day with lots of distractions or if you’ve had a very successful and peaceful meditation session. Looking back through your meditation journal can help you identify patterns of success and alter day or your sessions to improve your meditative practice and overall wellbeing.
The practice of writing in itself can also help improve your meditation. By writing down the thoughts and emotions which may have otherwise distracted you during meditation, you bring these out of your subconscious and begin to think about why they are affecting you. Writing is known to be cleansing and cathartic and can help you work through any anxiety, trauma or concerns. In this way your mind can be cleared, ready for your next session.
We suggest the beautiful Bomo Art ‘Roses’ design journal for anyone practising ‘the heart of the rose’ technique. Available in a range of sizes, you’ll find one that is perfect for your needs.