Have you heard of meditation and thought it just wasn’t for you? Perhaps you tried it but found it too difficult to quiet your mind so you stopped trying. We urge you to try again. Picture meditation as the calm harbor in the storm of daily life – a tranquil haven where stress dissolves, and the mind finds clarity.
The foundations of holistic therapy
Before we delve into this journey, let us first lay the groundwork for understanding holistic therapy – a resource that supports the mind, body, and spirit as a harmonious whole. It aims to promote overall well-being by addressing the root causes of mental and physical health issues, rather than simply treating symptoms. Awakened Path Counseling takes a unique approach to holistic therapy, combining Traditional and Transpersonal Psychotherapy techniques with the profound benefits of meditation and mindfulness.
Meditation: where to start on the journey within
Meditation is a practice that has been revered for centuries for its ability to connect individuals to their inner selves. Although meditation is sometimes presented as a spiritual or religious practice, individuals from any cultural or religious background can reap its benefits. Awakened Path Counseling recognizes meditation as a potent tool for self-discovery and emotional healing.
There are countless reasons why meditation is beneficial – here are a few ways meditation can make a positive impact in your life:
Stress reduction: In the chaos of everyday life, stress can take a heavy toll on our mental and physical health. Meditation provides a sanctuary where you can release stress, calm your mind, and regain mental clarity.
Improved cognitive function: Using neuroplasticity, consistent meditation practice helps our brains form new neural connections. Studies show that meditation, “may be able to offset age-related cognitive decline and perhaps even increase cognitive capabilities in older adults.”
Emotional balance: By delving into your inner thoughts and feelings, meditation allows you to understand and manage your emotions. This self-awareness can be transformative in resolving emotional conflicts.
Increased self-acceptance: As you practice meditation, you learn to accept yourself for who you are, imperfections and all. Awakened Path Counseling encourages the journey of self-acceptance as a powerful step toward holistic healing.
Mind-body connection: Meditation helps bridge the gap between your mental and physical states. By tuning into your body’s sensations, you can address physical discomfort and promote overall wellness.
Focus your mind with mantras
If you wish to reap the benefits of meditation, where to start is probably the first question on your mind. Selecting a mantra is a great first step. Mantras are sacred sounds, words, or phrases often used in meditation practices, originating from ancient spiritual traditions such as Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. The word “mantra” is derived from Sanskrit, where “man” means “mind” or “to think,” and “tra” means “instrument” or “tool.” Therefore, a mantra is considered a tool of the mind.
In meditation, a mantra is repeated silently or audibly to aid concentration, focus, and spiritual connection. The rhythmic repetition of the mantra helps quiet the mind and can lead to a state of deep relaxation, reduced stress, and heightened awareness.
Beyond their psychological benefits, mantras are often considered sacred and imbued with spiritual power, providing a means to connect with higher states of consciousness or one’s inner self. The vibrational energy generated through mantra repetition is thought to have a harmonizing effect on the body and mind. Research has suggested that mantra meditation has the potential to support the body through stress relief and reduction of hypertension.
When using mantras in meditation, individuals often choose words or phrases that hold personal significance or align with their intentions. The key is to find a mantra that resonates with you, your meditation goals, and your larger life goals. We’ve compiled a list of ideas to inspire your choice of mantra:
Meaningful words or phrases: Consider words or phrases that hold personal significance or convey positive intentions. These could be qualities you want to cultivate, such as “peace,” “love,” “harmony,” or “inner strength.”
Sanskrit mantras: Traditional Sanskrit mantras have been used for centuries in various spiritual traditions. Examples include “Om,” “So Hum” (I am that), or “Om Shanti” (Peace). Research the meanings and vibrations associated with Sanskrit mantras to find one that resonates with you.
Affirmations: Choose affirmations that align with your goals or aspirations. Positive affirmations can be empowering and uplifting. For example, “I am calm,” “I am present,” or “I am grateful.”
Tap into your intuition: Trust your intuition. If a particular word or sound feels right to you, even if you don’t fully understand why, it may be the perfect mantra for your practice.
Feel free to experiment with different mantras and discover what feels best for you in the moment. Try speaking the mantras out loud, silently in your mind, and varying the rhythm at which you speak them. Your preferences and needs may change over time. It’s okay to adapt or change your mantra as your meditation practice evolves.
Discover the existing calm within
Meditation has the power to support a state of inner calm and help you transcend ordinary thought. Although you may feel caught up in a cycle of negative or chaotic emotions and events throughout your daily life, we believe that the calm within you can be reached with practice and consistency.
- Learn meditation with a certified therapist as your guide. Some holistic therapists are uniquely experienced in supporting individuals in meditation practices. They can assist you with getting started and selecting a specific mantra based on your specific needs, goals, age, gender, and lifestyle.
- Practice often. Establish a consistent meditation routine – this could look like taking 15-20 minutes in the morning and in the evening for your meditation. Regular practice allows the mind and body to settle into a state of deep rest and helps individuals experience the benefits of the technique.
- Find a quiet and comfortable place to meditate where you won’t be disturbed. Sit comfortably in a dimly lit area with your eyes closed to minimize external distractions.
- Repeat your mantra effortlessly. Allow the mantra to come and go naturally without concentrating or controlling it.
- Let go of any effort to control thoughts or concentrate. Allow the mind to follow its natural tendency to settle down when given a point of focus, which is the repetition of the mantra.
- Transcend ordinary thought. One major goal of meditation is to transcend ordinary thought and reach a state of pure awareness or transcendental consciousness. As you continue to repeat the mantra, you may experience moments of deep inner stillness and calm.
- Accept thoughts without judgment. It’s normal for thoughts to arise during meditation. Instead of resisting or judging thoughts, accept them without attachment and gently bring your attention back to the mantra. This non-judgmental awareness can prove difficult at first, but over time you will notice yourself becoming less judgemental of your thoughts and yourself.
- Notice the aftereffects. After your meditation session, acknowledge how you feel compared to before you started your session. Many people report feeling a sense of calm, increased clarity, and reduced stress. These effects often extend beyond the meditation session into daily life.
- Be patient. It may take some time to fully experience the deep calm and transcendent states that meditation can offer. Be patient with the process and persist in your regular meditation practice.
- Integrate meditation into your daily life. As you become more familiar with the practice, consider integrating moments of mindfulness and calm from your meditation into daily life. This can help you maintain a sense of inner peace in various situations.
Consistency is essential
Consistency in meditation is crucial because it allows the mind and body to adapt and benefit from the practice over time. Meditation is a skill that develops through regular, repeated engagement. Just as physical exercise strengthens the body with consistent training, regular meditation strengthens the mind, fostering a deeper sense of focus, calmness, and self-awareness.
A consistent meditation routine establishes a ritualistic anchor in one’s daily life, creating a habit and a dedicated space for self-reflection. It is through this regular commitment that individuals can tap into the transformative potential of meditation, cultivating one of the major reasons why meditation is beneficial – an enduring source of mental and emotional calm and stress relief.
Mindfulness: living in the present moment
Along with meditation, mindfulness is another essential component of the Awakened Path Counseling approach. Mindfulness involves intentionally observing the present moment without judgment. It can be integrated into your daily life to reap the following benefits:
Stress resilience: Mindfulness equips you with the tools to deal with stress in real-time. By staying present, you can reduce anxiety and regain a sense of control over your thoughts and emotions.
Improved focus and concentration: In our distraction-laden world, it’s challenging to stay focused. Mindfulness training enhances your ability to concentrate, increasing your productivity and well-being.
Enhanced relationships: By cultivating mindfulness, you become a more attentive and empathetic person. This can lead to healthier, more meaningful relationships with loved ones and colleagues.
Emotional regulation: Mindfulness empowers you to respond to emotions rather than react impulsively. This is a vital skill for managing conflicts and fostering healthy reactions to everyday problems.
Begin by incorporating short mindfulness exercises into your daily routine, such as mindful breathing or a brief body scan. Set aside a few minutes each day to engage in these practices, gradually increasing the duration as you become more comfortable. In therapy, counselors can assess each individual’s comfort level and tailor mindfulness interventions to their individual needs and preferences.
Getting Started with Awakened Path Counseling
Awakened Path Counseling is on a mission to help individuals find holistic healing through therapy and powerful practices like meditation and mindfulness. In a world filled with stress and chaos, these techniques offer a path to inner peace, emotional well-being, and self-discovery.
The evidence-backed approach of Awakened Path Counseling ensures that you receive the best in holistic therapy, and the benefits can be life-changing. If you’re ready to embark on a journey of transformation and healing, our team of therapists Awakened Path Counseling is here to guide you. Through personalized plans, individualized support, and the integration of meditation and mindfulness into your therapy sessions, you can unlock your full potential and awaken to a new, empowered you. Schedule a call to get started.