5 Simple Meditation Techniques for the Modern Western Lifestyle
Why meditate when you can scroll through social media, play video games, watch Netflix, or get something done around the house?
We live in a world of constant distraction, and it can be very difficult to stay on track without some sort of mindfulness practice.
The mind is constantly jumping from one topic to another, one emotion to the next.
It's understandable, the human brain has evolved to detect potential threats for your survival. But what about when you're safe in bed at night, and your mind is still racing?
It's too easy to get wrapped up in the complexity of the brain's threat detection system.
Humans only live an average of 80 years, how and why should we be expected to overcome millions of years of evolutionary programming in our short life-spans?
There are many different reasons to meditate and many methods to do so.
To some it is related to tuning an instrument before playing it, to others a connection with the divine.
Meditation can be used to detach from overwhelming fear and anger, or even as a rejuvenating hiatus from work for more energy throughout the day.
Regardless of the reason for meditation, a short 15-20 minutes set aside per day has a plethora of benefits.
I've been meditating for about 7 years on and off, and there is a tremendous difference in my state of mind, and what I do with my day, when I do and don't meditate.
I'll be honest, there are times meditation tends to get monotonous and I take a break, but the break always gives me a greater reason to start again as I remember why I started meditating in the first place.
There are 5 simple meditation methods that I have found to be beneficial throughout the years, that are also realistically obtainable to the modern western individual.
5 Simple Meditation Techniques
Heartfulness meditation is a simple 4 step meditation technique free to learn online at the heartfulness website. They also provide the free opportunity to learn in person.
Heartfulness is a technique focusing inwardly on the heart center to find inner peace and strength throughout the day. It is a perfect addition to a busy lifestyle.
If interested in the free 4-day course, the playlist is available here: Free Heartfulness 4-day Course
Transcendental Meditation and Mantra Meditation
Transcendental Meditation is among the most popular techniques in the West as it has been a go-to for celebrities such as Jerry Seinfeld, Oprah Winfrey, Russel Brand, and Hugh Jackman. It is a simple evidence-based mantra meditation technique normally taught by an instructor.
Transcendental Meditation is taught through a nonprofit organization, but you do have to pay for a lifetime membership. The membership covers the guidance of a mentor and the community of other meditators anywhere with a TM center for life. The one on one instruction is currently unavailable due to the pandemic, but a simple mantra meditation is a great way to get started.
Here is a guided mantra meditation (The basis of TM) guided by Russell Brand in a sheet. This is more or less a free Transcendental Meditation training session (without the label).
If you aren't seeking a Transcendental Mediation mentor or community, this video will perfectly suffice as a mantra meditation guideline.
Wim Hof Method
"Over time, we, as humans have developed a different attitude towards nature around us and we actually forgot one thing, “inner power.” This is the relationship by our physiological mechanisms to adapt and survive within our natural environment, which is direct and effective." -Wim Hof
The Wim Hof Method is an evidence-based meditation to regain control over the primordial connections between the brain and body, the way nature intended. He provides free guided meditations on Youtube as well as online courses on Wimhofmethod.com.
This Technique is a great technique to start the day.
Yoga Nidra can be translated into sleep yoga. This is a great method to alleviate insomnia as it calms the mind through focus on different points throughout the body.
I personally have had an extreme case of insomnia throughout entire my life, and this method is the best I have found for sleep.
There are a plethora of options for free guided meditations on Youtube, as well as apps such as Headspace and Calm.
There are countless reasons to meditate, and there is a saturated industry covering the broad spectrum of guided meditations.
Youtube Channels such as Jason Stephenson's and Meditation Vacation offer their services for free.
A Last Word
So, after a 7-year ongoing journey with meditation, these are my honest top picks for beginners. I constantly find myself revisiting each of these techniques on a regular basis.
I have taken on many practices throughout the years, but I've found these have been the easiest and most beneficial exercises to balance into a busy lifestyle.
I wish you a great day; and remember, we're on a rock with no roof hurtling through space and time with the perfect conditions for life to have evolved over 4.5 billion years to give you this human experience of here and now.
The human experience is the purpose of human life, let's make the most of it!