If I asked what meditation was, many of us would probably give the right answer. Because we more or less know that it is a process of focusing your mind on something for some time, either as a religious or spiritual activity or as a way to relax and calm down.
However, if I asked how to meditate and who from us meditates, I am sure very few people would give a positive answer. Many of us probably have in our minds this image of an old yogi, sitting cross-legged on a mat with his eyes closed and contemplating for hours, if not days.
For a very long time, I had a similar idea of what meditation was about. I thought it took hours, and it was not for me because I just had no time for it.
But then I was asked if I would be interested in testing new meditation apps called Pause. Since I learnt there were plenty of short sessions to choose from, I decided to give it a go.
Pause is an Android and iOS mobile app that teaches you how to meditate and then helps you with it.
You can choose between guided and free sessions. In the guided section there are seven series (each focused on a different subject) with many meditations.
So, you can start with Foundation Series that will explain the basics and then choose sessions connected with love or dealing with stress or curating thoughts, etc.
I am a rookie meditator, and l love these guided sessions.
Firstly, the instructor has a very calming voice: I feel so relaxed just by listening to her.
Secondly, she explains everything in a very easy way.
And thirdly, the meditation makes you think deeper about subjects it covers, like relationships, feelings, thoughts.
However, you should not worry that once you start using the meditation apps, you will be spending long hours reflecting on your life. The sessions last between 3 and 30 minutes while the majority of them are up to 10-15 minutes.
And this is great because it means you shouldn’t have a problem finding time to do it every day. And if you forget, you will receive a gentle reminder.
What I also like a lot is that when I open the meditation apps for my daily sessions, I have an option to say how I feel. And then specific meditations are suggested based on me being sad, happy, stressed, etc.
Additionally, should you have a panic attack, there is a special SOS session that will help you to calm down.
If you prefer not to have a set topic, you can opt for free meditation. Here you can decide what background sound you would like to listen to, e.g. river, fire, forest, even train!
My personal favourite is the sound of waves. It is calming from one hand, but on the other, it helps me to concentrate. You will also decide how long you would like to meditate and whether you need guidelines for breathing.
I worried a bit if I would know how to meditate without a guide. But Pause covers this area too.
Some specific sessions will teach you necessary skills that are extremely useful when you do free meditation. And although I still prefer the guided ones, I am sure that before long I will be ready to do my own meditations.
Having tested the app now I know, I am going to continue because I actually like it.
I enjoy having several peaceful minutes per day just for myself. When undisturbed by anybody and anything I can concentrate on myself, on my breathing and my thoughts.
Psychological studies show those moments of slowdown that we consciously enjoy help us feel better and have more original ideas. Afterwards, it is easier to focus on a task and finish it faster.
That’s why every day I am happy to Pause, spend several minutes meditating and save some time for enjoying my life.