Meditation: Enjoy Living in the Moment

Text:UM Reporter Sally Liang │ Photo:Ella Cheong, Jack Ho │ ISSUE 79  May 2018  My UM

Some people choose to relax and unwind from the stress of work or study by shopping, eating, surfing the internet, playing video games, or singing karaoke. The effectiveness of these forms of entertainment varies from person to person. But here at UM, one group of students chooses to relax through meditation. By focusing their attention on their breathing, they train themselves to live in the moment.

 

Quieting the Mind

Sit comfortably. Focus on your breathing. Let your mind quiet down and let your body relax. Meditation is as easy as that! Wang Qiran, a fourth-year student in the Department of Portuguese, started meditating in the morning during her second year at UM. This morning ritual keeps her energetic throughout the day. She explains that very often people don’t even realise that they are upset. Meditation helps one become calmer, more tolerant, and less likely to get angry. Wang believes the key to achieving the maximum effect of meditation is to do it persistently. ‘If you don’t stick to a daily schedule, it would be harder to enter that state, and you are also more likely to fall asleep from tiredness,’ she says. She believes when it comes to meditation, it is not the duration, but continuation, that counts. ‘15 to 20 minutes a day is enough,’ she says.

Improving Sleep Quality

The concentration that comes with meditation can help one gain clarity about one’s current situation, thereby reducing unnecessary pressure. Choi Hoi Man, a postgraduate student majoring in educational psychology, says, ‘Meditating at different times of the day can achieve different effects. Meditating at night can help improve sleep quality.’

From left:Wang Qiran, Choi Hoi Man

Training Meticulous Thinking

He Jianning, a third-year student in the Faculty of Business Administration, uses auto-suggestion when meditating. Apart from focusing on his breathing, he would imagine himself sitting on a mountaintop, looking down at a forest below taking shape until eventually he zeros in on the contours of an individual leaf. He learned about meditation in his second year in college through the book How Self-control Works. Later, inspired by the film Lucy, he started to incorporate imagination in his meditation practice. ‘Sometimes I would imagine that I were a lonely boat in the ocean, with all the obsessions in my heart being washed away by the wind and the waves,’ he says. ‘Meditation helps me focus on the present, which trains me to think about the future in a more meticulous manner. I have also become a more efficient learner because of meditation.’

From left :He Jianning, Yeung Wai Kong

Focusing More on the Present

Whatever method one uses for meditation, the positive effect will manifest itself in time with persistent practice. However, the process may vary from person to person. For Yeung Wai Kong, a fellow of the Stanley Ho East Asia College, meditation is like taking a time machine to go back to his teenage years, the happiest time of his life, when he was reading intently in the dimly lit library. Yeung explains that he still hasn’t achieved the state where he can completely empty his mind during meditation, but even focusing on one sensory experience, be it taste, touch, or smell, allows him to let go of the wandering thoughts in his mind and focus more on the present, so he could make better judgment of his actions, reflect on the past, and envision the future.