Although meditation has been around for thousands of years this ancient healing art draws new meditators every day. With documented images of meditation dating back to 5000 to 3500 BC the adaptability of this practice is remarkable to say the least.
No longer is meditation synonymous with spiritual enlightenment or some new age fad. There is a growing population of people who are seeking the health benefits of meditation.
According to research conducted in 2016 many people start meditating for the following reasons:
- General Wellness
- Improve Energy
- Aid Memory and Focus
- Anxiety Relief
- Stress Relief
- Depression Relief
With the pandemic highlighting the importance of mental wellness meditation has proven itself to be a sought-out practice that is mainstream now more accessible than ever! Guided meditations are just a click away on apps like Calm, Insight Timer, and Headspace.
So why aren’t more people meditating? Well, the numbers show that the number of people who are meditating has tripled since 2012. But the statistics are not clear about the number of meditators who start and eventually give up. Most have tried meditation at least once, but fewer build a consistent practice that grows and evolves through the years.
It is not uncommon for new meditators to be excited about all of the possibilities and benefits of meditation but in most cases once the excitement fades so does the practice. Beyond the benefits, cultivating a meditation practice that grows with you is birthed from seeded intentions that will bloom over time.
With such a popular and heavily researched practice like meditation expectations tend to be pretty high. You would think that meditation can make everything that is wrong in the world better, but I would caution us all about this unrealistic expectation. Instead of focusing on what you will gain from the practice consider how you will approach the practice.
Setting an intention is an aim or plan that sets the tone for your practice. Imagine meditation as a tool and setting an intention is how you pick up and use the tool. When you are able to approach meditation with an open and curious mind the practice has space to expand. So, check your expectations and set your intentions.
At the beginning of my meditation journey my meditation teacher recommended that I select the type of meditation that I could stick with it for at least six months before exploring other types. That guidance served me well as a new meditator. I focused on Mantra-based meditation and set a timer to meditate for 20 minutes each day for six months. It was not easy but here is what I learned. When you prioritize the practice your focused purpose of discipline will emerge. When establishing your meditation practice determine type, time, and duration in advance. When we fail to plan distractions and busyness can slowly diminish well-intended practices that were once a priority.
They say that variety is the spice of life and I have found that to be true with my meditation practice. Intention and discipline can still exist when practicing various forms of meditation. Whether it be Unguided, Guided, or Movement meditation can take on many forms throughout the various seasons of your life. Instead of giving up on meditation consider exploring other forms of meditation like yoga, journaling, chanting, walking, or sound based on your needs during a particular season. During the fall and winter months I lean into my seated mantra-based meditation and yoga practice and during the spring and summer months I enjoy moving meditations like walking and hiking.
Remember meditation is focused awareness. So, take that awareness with you off the mat into the world and learn how to meditate every day of your life without limits!
Sherrell draws upon her more than 10 years of experience in Human Resources, Yoga & Natural health, and her adventures in the military when delivering impactful leadership training and transformative wellness presentations.
Sherrell effectively coaches and guides new and seasoned managers through various workplace conflict, crisis, and health-related matters while successfully decreasing organizational liability. She routinely, provides audiences with success-driven strategies that combine wellness and military approaches to becoming a more conscious leader. Her commitment to training leaders was recognized by the Environment Protection Agency when she was awarded the agency’s Bronze Medal for commendable service for delivery of EPA’s Successful Leaders Program to newly appointed managers and supervisors.
Sherrell also has a strong commitment to community service. Her local and global community service efforts include work with her non-profit organization, The Vet Space, MindBody FAITH, various faith-based organizations, and missionary work in Africa, to include her honorable active duty service with the U.S. Army, demonstrates her track record of dedicated service in business and the community.