Types of Meditation
Types of Meditation
Some people got used to saying that public speaking is a talent that you have, or you are devoid of it. If you were not lucky enough to have been born with a flair for public presentation, there is no chance you would become a good public speaker. Maybe, this opinion has a grain of truth but only for those who do not try to change things. When you give up and think that you are doomed to be left without an ability to speak in front of crowds (or any other ability in general), you admit only your weakness, not your strength. The strength in this case means not big muscles and the ability to lift up heavy things but the ability not to give up and achieve goals in spite of any obstacles.
I am an international student who always had problems with communication, to say nothing of public speaking. In particular, I felt some kind of anxiety when I had to communicate with somebody, for example, not so close friends, acquaintances, teachers, and unfamiliar people in the streets. Obviously, at school, it was horrible experience when I had to present a project in front of my classmates or to make a speech reporting about biology or chemistry. I always viewed it as a normal thing, trying to justify my behavior by saying that I am just a closed person. I have never tried to understand what happened in my mind, analyze reasons for actually feeling this anxiety, worries, and trembling. Overall, I gave up and agreed to be a bad speaker, explaining my failures to others that it was just not my cup of tea. Nevertheless, it was not a way out. I was hiding from the problem, blaming for my inability everybody but not myself.
Fortunately, speech class at my college opened my eyes. At the very beginning of visiting this class, I was suspicious. I thought that it was impossible to acquire a talent just by listening to and applying some techniques developed by someone. However, it interested me and gave me a new push. I started to make research in the Internet, looking for some information about public speaking. Consequently, the first thing I understood was the recognition that I had to find out the reasons that prevented me from good public speaking. I started this attempt by trying to understand my thoughts and feelings while I think of possible public performance. Suddenly, I experienced the breakthrough.
This first revelation let me understand clearly the basis of the problem. I recognized the fears that did not give me a chance to be a good speaker. I was full of them, and I am still. Nonetheless, now, I see the direction, the way out. I decided to write down my fears in order to understand their nature better. The first one was the fear of being not understood and not welcomed by the audience. I was afraid that I could be mocked, that people who are listening to me could stand up and go away because of my bad speech, because of me. It was a painful thought for me to think of. Shortly, I discovered that this fear was based on my low self-esteem as I judged myself through the behavior of other people and their acceptance of me, and that was the reason I always took it close to the heart when someone was yawning or speaking with somebody else. I thought that it was my fault since my speech was not interesting or important for them. The second fear was that before every speech, I thought that I could be not competent enough to tell about something. I anticipated my defeat, imagining the situation when people started asking questions and I was not able to answer them correctly. Then, they became disappointed with me, and I felt miserable because of that. As a result, it dawned on me that these problems only occurred in my head, and they had nothing in common with reality. The last problem I experienced concerned the fact that I was an international student and had difficulties speaking English in a good way. Therefore, my third fear was connected with the fear of making a mistake in English. When I started speaking English, I immediately became nervous and lost my confidence. Perhaps, if I had to give speeches in my native language, it would be easier for me to stay calm and sound more confident and persuasive. After my class speeches, it became easier for me to speak in front of the public as the course helped me overcome some aspects of my fears. However, the problem is not solved completely. People should never stop improving their skills and abilities.
During the course, we have applied many techniques and approaches to make our speech effective and get rid of fears that did not give us a chance to be effective speakers. Definitely, in order to succeed, I needed an internal motivation. For me, it was the recognition that I really wanted to improve my skills, but the more important factor was the challenge—whether I was strong enough to get rid of my fears and change myself to the better. In order to do it, we were offered to apply some meditation techniques. Firstly, I was suspicious of meditation since I thought that meditation and public speaking had nothing in common, but I was wrong. Some of meditation techniques I found really useful and helpful to get rid of some fears. In general, meditation is all about mental well-being, positive attitude towards life, and finding inner peace. Looking at these aims of meditation, a person starts understanding that successful speech aims at the same. In particular, it needs these meditation principles as a basis for success, confidence, and persuasiveness. For me, the most effective part of the process of becoming a good speaker was the acquaintance with meditation techniques. Namely, I started to learn about the mindfulness meditation, which is the practice of deliberately focusing on the present moment, accepting, and not paying any attention to the sensations, thoughts, and emotions that arise. Although it seems unconnected with making speeches, it is not so. While making speeches, people need to focus on the subject of their speech. However, sometimes, they fail to do it as they think too much about how the audience perceives them, how much it loves them and is interested in the speech, how the speaker himself/herself looks like, and many other thoughts and ideas might come into people's mind in a stressful situation. Low self-esteem and prior bad experiences even worsen the case. Therefore,, it is important to learn to focus on one thing and do not let other thoughts or ideas penetrate the mind. That is the reason I started to practice. Firstly, I began to concentrate on my body. I just sat (making sure that no one would disturb me) and tried to focus on my breathing. I breathed in and breathed out trying to think about nothing except for breathing. I could not do that for a long time. I wanted to give up. I could not hold my attention for a short time, to say nothing of a long time. I started to think that it was useless. However, the thing that helped me progress was my internal motivation and obstinacy. I had a goal and ambitiously tried not to fail and achieve it. Consequently, I succeeded. It became less and less problematic for me to concentrate on one thing, trying to ignore others. I moved on to developing, and tried this meditation not only at home but also in other life situations. People who wanted to offend me instead of this could see how apathetic I was about their attempts to bring me down. I cannot say that I mastered the mindfulness meditation, but I made some steps that I think were important in achieving my aim to become a good public speaker. I went on practicing and started applying these techniques while preparing and delivering speeches in front of my class. It did not work immediately, but over time, I realized that I started to apply them unconsciously. Besides that, I resorted to other methods of public speaking improvement. For example, I practiced my speeches in front of the mirror, trying to notice the gestures and facial expression I had and correct them if necessary. Furthermore, I got used to giving some speeches in front of those I knew very well and was not scared to speak. They include my parents and my cats. By these means, I practice my speech again and get rid of a little piece of anxiety and fear every time. I continue working in that direction, trying to make my speech more effective and confident.
To conclude, I should admit that practically all techniques and meditations acquired during our classes were useful for gaining good public speaking experience. However, the means that I mentioned above such as the mindfulness meditation, helped me most of all, and the ideas and thoughts that I felt during it were the true ones. Therefore, I will continue working in the same direction and achieve defined goals in public speaking abilities.
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