It is possible to relieve stress through meditation if you have the courage to sit and do nothing.

So how to meditate to relieve stress effectively?

Firstly, meditation is a technique which uses internal focus to restore internal balance. There are many different techniques so you can pick and choose which one appeals to you the most. Some involve repeating a mantra, others focus on the heart centre or compassion, other use prayer, others simply request to witness what is arising moment to moment without grabbing onto anything or labeling, other techniques involve devotional singing such as kirtan, etc, following your breath… You name it, they are all out there. There is bound to be a technique which suits you. At the end of the day, they all have one and the same aim and that is to turn your awareness inside, there the real show is going on.

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Secondly, once you have chosen a technique, or several, you have to set some time aside to meditate!!!

That is probably people’s biggest challenge. Everybody today seems to be short of time. Too much to do and not enough time to do it… Well that’s partly why they are stressed out in the first place. So make a commitment to yourself to take time to unwind … really unwind … watching television does NOT help you unwind. Gardening may do that, or having a nice bath with essential oils is a good start, but that is only the beginning. Meditation goes really really deep and helps you unroot the cause of stress altogether. Beware though, it is not always easy. You will come up with all sorts of reasons why you don’t have time to ‘do nothing’. I dare you to catch yourself doing it.

So now you have made your resolve to meditate regularly, what next? Well, just stick with it, and stick with it, and stick with it. You may change techniques every now and again, you may meditate on your own or with a group, you may have your special meditation cushion you sit on cross legged or your comfortable reclining chair but whichever way you go about it, stick with it. It is like brushing your teeth: just because you did it yesterday doesn’t mean you don’t have to today.

What happens when we meditate?

The body-mind-spirit ‘unloads’ data. What does that mean? Well, everyday you go about your business, you experience this and that and the other and at night your mind rehashes what happened and mixed in with your previous life experience you make a big salad of it all. When you meditate, you allow the thoughts and feelings to come up. They may disturb you at first but over time you cultivate the ability to become more detached and less reactive to events. The deeper your meditation, the more you can transcend the physical, emotional and mental planes of existence. These planes is where stress gets hold of you. As you keep up with your meditation practise, you learn to rise into the subtle, causal and super-causal realms. This is where you let go of stress. It looses it’s grip. Doesn’t mean you become a vegetable, it just means you then have a choice of how to respond to a situation instead of being on automatic pilot and reproducing the same responses over and over again, most of which are tied to the past and inappropriate for the present moment. Over time you free yourself of reactivity and you become more response-able to the present moment. So-called ‘negative’ feelings don’t stick around as much and you increase your capacity for enjoying life as it presents itself, not as you’d like it to be.

So when a stressful event comes along, with your increased capacity to monitor your feelings and thoughts you have a choice of responses and you can do what is best in that situation. Stress then releases it’s grip on you. You are well on your way to freedom.

To recap:

1) choose a meditation technique which appeals to you

2) decide when and where you will practise your meditation

3) stick with it…

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