What is Meditation?
It refers to quiet time during which the mind can focus on a simple activity or the repetition of a single word or image. Meditation techniques will let you empty your mind of its anxieties, worries, anger, and sadness. It will make you highly conscious of your surroundings, while you focus on the moment: not the past, not the future. Meditation will permit you to live for the present, to enjoy the manifest pleasures of being alive. During meditation, you can forget about your cancer, your depression, your frustrations, and focus on being relaxed in the moment. If you are a spiritual person, it will enhance your sense of spirituality and give you a sense of being one with the universe. Doctors have demonstrated that meditation has numerous salubrious benefits for the mind and the body. It has rapidly found a respected place in many medical procedures, and so doctors recommend it to patients suffering from a wide range of illnesses.
While meditation is an essential activity for dealing with the pessimism, anger, and unhappiness that accompany cancer and its treatments, it is important to choose the kind of meditation that works most effectively for you.
The following meditation techniques will help you achieve positive emotional effect and recovery:
Whether you live in a big city and walk to work or just walk for exercise, it can be done anytime. To start a walking meditation, begin by standing still and focusing on your breath and then your whole body. Ask yourself where you are feeling discomfort and try and let that discomfort go. Focus on being still for a moment before you begin your walk. Then decide on what you would like to meditate on?
Choose something such as peace, softness, gentleness, kindness, forgiveness. Walk at your normal pace, whatever is comfortable for you. As you walk notice the movements of your arms and legs. Focus on those movements and the pace of your breathing. Now feel your lungs expanding and contracting. All of this will keep your mind engaged. If your mind wanders, bring it back to focus on the movements of your arms and legs. The amount of time you spend walking does not matter. Walk for as long as you’re comfortable doing so; if you are tired, then stop. Start again, when your level of energy increases. The walking meditation is also good exercise and good for your circulation.
To get started, you should be in a quiet place where you won’t be interrupted by the telephone, friends, and relatives. Plan on setting aside about 20 minutes. You may choose to lie on a flat surface, such as a bed or the floor, or sit in a straight-back chair that permits you to sit up straight. If you are the kind of person who falls asleep during a massage, then don’t lie down during this meditation. Choose to sit on a chair. Guided meditation is the simplest form of meditation, defined as “meditation with the help of a guide.” The guide can be an audio tape, CD, or an app. There will usually be three or four different meditation techniques from which you can make a choice. Try all of them and then choose one that you find the most beneficial. Simply turn it on and follow the instructions.
I have found the breathing, full-body, gratitude, and walking meditations wonderfully effective.
Do this in a straight-back chair. Place your hands on your lap and close your eyes. Slowly breathe in through your nose, and try to visualize each breath as it enters your nostrils, and then exits. Don’t rush. Find a pace that is relaxing. You may want to say to yourself, I am breathing in, and now I am breathing out. In and out. In and out. Do this for 20 minutes. Every time you find your mind wandering away from focusing on your breathing, bring your thoughts back to the breath entering and leaving your nose.
The Full-Body Meditation
Lie on the floor or a firm mattress. A carpeted floor will likely be more comfortable than a hardwood floor. Place your arms at your sides and close your eyes. Begin by focusing your attention on the top of your head. Silently say to yourself, I am focused on the top of my head, now on the back of my head. Then move your attention downward, focusing it on your forehead, then your eyes, your cheeks, your lips, your chin, your neck, first the front of it, then the back of it. This should be done slowly, feeling the tension leave every part of your body that you focus on. Say silently to yourself, I feel the tension leaving my forehead. I feel it leaving my eyes and eyelids. I feel it leaving my cheeks. My lips are relaxed and slack. I feel the muscles in my neck relaxing. Moving downward do this to your entire body, right down to your toes. After which, you should linger for a few minutes, feeling all the stress and tension leaving your body, then open your eyes and take a deep breath, then slowly exhale.
You may also choose to listen to a guided meditation on an iPod or other device. This can help to turn off a chattering mind and bring you back to the peace of a focused meditation.
Either sitting or lying down, close your eyes and think of the person to whom you feel the greatest gratitude. Imagine that person’s face, every aspect of it: the color and texture of that person’s hair, the color of the eyes, the shape of the nose and lips. Now focus on that part of the face that you most like. Without speaking, express your gratitude to that person. Now think of another person and do the same imaginative exercise again. Do it for a third, fourth, fifth, and sixth person. The individuals may be your parents, other relatives, your spouse, your doctor, a nurse, a teacher, a friend, anyone at all.