Meditation refers to a state where your body and mind are consciously relaxed and focused. Practitioners of this art report increased awareness, focus, and concentration, as well as a more positive outlook in life. Meditation is most commonly associated with Monks, Mystics and other spiritual disciplines. However, you don’t have to be a Monk or Mystic to enjoy its benefits. And you don’t even have to be in a special place to practice it. You could even try it in your own living room.
Although there are many different approaches to meditation, the fundamental principles remain the same. The most important among these principles is that of removing obstructive, negative and wandering thoughts and fantasies and calming the mind with a deep sense of focus. This clears the mind of debris and prepares it for a higher quality of activity.
The negative thoughts you have those of noisy neighbours, bossy officemates, that parking ticket you got and unwanted spam are said to contribute to polluting of the mind. Stopping these garbage thoughts allows for the cleansing of the mind so that it may focus on deeper, more meaningful thoughts.
Some practitioners even shut out all sensory input no sights, no sounds, and nothing to touch and try to detach themselves from the commotion around them. You may now focus on a deep, profound thought if this is your goal. It may seem deafening at first, since we are all too accustomed to constantly hearing and seeing things, but as you continue this exercise you will find yourself becoming more aware of everything around you.
If you find the meditating positions you see on television difficult i.e. those with impossibly arched backs and painful-looking contortions, you need not worry. The basic principle here is to be in a comfortable position conducive to concentration. This may be while sitting cross-legged, standing, lying down and even walking.
If the position allows you to relax and focus, then that would be a good starting point. While sitting or standing, the back should be straight, but not tense or tight. In other positions the only no-no is slouching and falling asleep. Loose, comfortable clothes help a lot in the process since tight fitting clothes have a tendency to choke you up and make you feel tense.
The place you perform meditation should have a soothing atmosphere. It may be in your living room, or bedroom, or any place that you feel comfortable in. You might want an exercise mat if you plan to take on the more challenging positions. You may want to have the place arranged so that it is soothing to your senses.
Silence helps most people relax and meditate. So you may want a quiet, isolated area far from the ringing of mobile or the humming of the washing machine. Pleasing scents also help in that regard, so stocking up on aromatic candles isn’t such a bad idea either.
The monks you see on television making those monotonous sounds are actually performing their mantra. This, in simple terms, is a short creed, a simple sound which, for these practitioners, holds a mystic value.
You do not need to perform such actions; however, it would pay to note that focusing on repeated actions such as breathing, and humming help the practitioner enter a higher state of consciousness.
The principle here is focus. You could also try focusing on a certain object or thought, or even, while keeping your eyes open, focus on a single sight.
One sample routine would be to while in a meditative state silently name every part of you body and focusing your consciousness on that part. While doing this you should be aware of any tension on any part of your body. Mentally visualize releasing this tension. It works wonders.
There are also many guided meditation videos and audios that have been scientifically proven to alter your brainwaves in such a way to help you achieve deep meditation, find out more about these. In all, meditation is a relatively risk-free practice and its benefits are well worth the effort.
Meditation is a group of mental training techniques .You can use meditation to improve mental health and capacities, and also to help improve the physical health. Some of these techniques are very simple, so you can learn them from a book or an article. Among the documented benefits of meditation are less anxiety, decreased depression, reduction in irritability and moodiness, better learning ability and memory and greater creativity. That’s just for starters. Then there is slower aging feelings of vitality and rejuvenation, less stress, lower blood pressure, and higher blood oxygen levels.
The different meditation techniques differ according to the degree of concentration and how foreign thoughts are handled. By some techniques, the objective is to concentrate so intensely that no foreign thoughts occur at all.
In other techniques, the concentration is more relaxed so that foreign thoughts easily pop up. When these foreign thoughts are discovered, one stops these and goes back to the pure meditation in a relaxed manner. Thoughts coming up, will often be about things you have forgotten or suppressed, and allow you to rediscover hidden memory material.
Why You Need to Meditate
The side effects of meditation are positive and countless. Studies have demonstrated that those who meditate on a regular basis have reduced illness, stress and need for rest.
But one of the most compelling reasons to meditate is that the process of meditation itself is sublime. Meditation is not dependent upon the result, but the act of meditation itself is a blissful one, transporting one to a state of contentment and tranquil awareness during the training of meditation itself, not just at the end of training. Actually, because the means equals the end, the training has no beginning and never ends.
All of us in modern times experience a constant onslaught of stress. We are bombarded by uninvited energies in the form of such things as Television, noise pollution, arguments and angry or envious people. In order to counteract this enormously overwhelming force of negativity and distress, we need a superior power gathered within ourselves; and meditation connects us to this internal reservoir of cleansing, enlightening energy.
In former times, nature surrounded people in their daily routines and rituals of existence. There were no artificial sound vibrations from telephones or machinery; there were no stresses and diseases resulting from urban industrial complexities. There was the sound of water, the hum of the wind, the beauty of the stars in the sky, and the scent of the earth. There were natural tempos in every aspect of life, as people planted seeds, nurtured them into foodstuffs and as they observed the cycles of nature they felt a connection to them. Nowadays we can live our entire lifespan without ever contacting nature in a direct way. We live in artificially controlled climates, we gather food from fast food restaurants or from stores where it is packaged in a factory; we have separated ourselves from our natural origins and our organic, original pace of life.
Meditation allows us an easy, convenient, portable method to enter into those lost natural rhythms and aesthetics, by closing out the world around us, letting go of our bodies, and clearing the mind of all the artificial stress it gathers knowingly or unknowingly during the course of lives.
Meditation costs nothing, it has no harmful side affects, and it wont add calories or cholesterol to your body. Nor is it addictive in the sense of drugs and alcohol. But it does provide practitioners with an elevated sense of well-being, often compared to a natural high more powerful than those induced by drugs and this component of meditation is one that can be fully embraced for positive, healthy benefits.
The human body is a complex creation, and in the brain the body naturally produces drugs that are hundreds of times more powerful than pharmaceutical narcotics. As one meditates, the body secretes mysterious hormones and chemicals that actually provide an incredible rush of energy and happiness and this is only one of the amazing side effects of meditation practice.
Meditation is different things to different people. Some use it in place of, or in addition to, psychotherapy. Others find it most valuable as a tool to enhance sports or work performance and to increase the memory and other mental functions. Some people rely upon it to help them deal with grief or the aftermath of trauma or tragedy and to regain a contentment and appreciation for life beauties. And there are those who use meditation as a creative tool to inspire them in the arts. Meditation gives us stronger and more sustainable vigour, and calm, as it provides a restfulness that is comparable to deep, exceptionally restful sleep.
There are countless reasons to meditate, and one way to make the world a better and more peaceful and harmonious place, is for all of us to dedicate some time out of our stressful lives to pause and drink from the mental oasis of meditation practice.
Learn To Meditate
In today’s hectic world, learning to meditate can bring a sense of calm and inner satisfaction. The practice of meditation is a gateway into your inner consciousness, resulting in an enhanced awareness of your own existence and your overall relationship to the cosmos.
Whether you are looking to answer the age-old question, Who am I and why am I here? or simply to implement simple relaxation techniques meditation may just be the answer for you.
Although there are hundreds of established techniques how to meditate is really up to the individual. You can pick and choose amongst different schools of thought and find a technique that best suits your personality. However, although meditation has many different cultural contexts, there are certain general facts which transcend the bounds of any one specific culture.
Wondering how people who live to be 100 with a great quality of life do it? They cultivate a sense of peace, well-being and maintain a positive attitude. How? Here is one of their biggest secrets: meditation. What is ironic about meditation is, it has just become known in the West as a healing technique, but it has been practiced for ages in the East.
According to Eastern philosophy, to meditate means to think on the eternal, explore you soul from within or rather to expand your consciousness until you are at one with the cosmos as a whole. Transcendental emotions like grief, euphoria or even love can fade away, but the universe is forever. Eventually, with practice, learning to meditate can bring you in closer atonement with the very root and purpose of existence itself.
Even if you are not interested in the metaphysical implications of meditation, meditating has undeniable health benefits. Learning to meditate can have positive effects on stress induced illness such as heart disease and high blood pressure. In conjunction with traditional Western approaches to medicine, meditation can target the root causes behind stress-based conditions by calming and clearing the mind.
There are many relaxation techniques meditation incorporates. You can meditate sitting, standing or lying down, in a chair or on the floor. Learning how to meditate is not difficult. There are numerous programs online that can teach you the basics and help to get you started. These programs can guide you each step of the meditation process, provide tips on appropriate posture and teach you how to create the ideal setting for your meditation session.
Meditational exercises primarily use the experience of the body and thought as a means to reconnect with the environment and its healing power. Meditation, when practiced frequently, has been proven to promote inner peace and wellness. Meditation is also a mental practice in which the mind is directed to one area, often the breath. It draws its energy from the human connection to nature and creates a sense of unity or one-ness with it.
This unity has been shown to increase communication with the spirit of the body. It has also been known to allow positive thoughts in and to stimulate positive physiological and psychological effects. Meditation techniques are easy to learn and can easily be incorporated into any lifestyle. If practiced regularly, meditation will bring balance to your body and mind.
General benefits of meditation and breathing exercises include:
Deep inner peace
Reduced medical care
Slowing/reversal of aging
Reversing of heart disease
Stimulation of the body’s immune system
There is really no one right way to meditate. Here are a couple of meditational exercises that will get you started. Remember, there is no wrong path here. Try these, or simply sit in silence for 20 minutes daily. You’ll be glad you did.
- Meditative Grounding Exercise
Sit with your legs crossed in a comfortable position with your hands relaxed on you lap. Close your eyes and imagine a beam of light dropping from the base of your spine through the earth and connecting you to its centre.
Allow this beam of light to expand in width until it is wider than your own body and envelopes it. This is your personal space.
This exercise places you totally in your body and reminds you that you are anchored to the earth. Remember, the more grounded you are, the more aware you are. Sense the presence of your higher self: listen to its voice.
2.Energy Cleaning Exercise
Now that you are grounded, it’s important that you cleanse this personal space. Often we collect other peoples energies and are not aware of it. We do this both through interaction with others and basic activities of daily living.
To remove all foreign energies from your space, imagine holding a brush and sweeping away the debris.
Allow the debris to fall to the ground and become washed away. Let the light from the previous exercise envelop your body and spread its healing energy to the edge of your space, forming a protective force field around you.
Cleaning out the area surrounding your body will keep you grounded, define your personal boundaries and declare your space. Then choose who and what you wish to enter you space, keeping disease and illness out.
Follow your breath as you slowly inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth. Count with each exhale until you reach 10 then begin again at one.
If you find yourself past 10, acknowledge this and begin again at one from wherever you are.
Imagine your body’s cells being replaced with fresh, pure oxygen and positive healing energy from this power source. Picture yourself exhaling old cells, stress, illness and worries.
Let your thoughts pass through your mind like drifting clouds. Let them in and gently let them pass through. If the mind should harbour a negative thought, refocus on the breath.
Thank any persistent negative thoughts for coming into your mind then gently let them go.
Listen only for the positive voice; the voice of your body.
4. Retrieve Your Energy Exercise
Since foreign energy often resides in your space, lets also assume that you leave energy in other places. After completing the preceding exercises it is necessary to re-energize and call energy back.
Imagine you have an energy magnet used to attract your energy back to you. Visualize energy flowing back to you, filling your body with light, health and empowerment.
How to meditate? How to Meditate Right Now
Here’s a simple technique that will give you results in minutes. Sit comfortably, close your eyes, and tense up your whole body. Sigh deeply, then breath deeply through your nose and release the tension from every muscle. Just feel each part relaxing, watching for parts that may hold onto tension, like a tight jaw.
If you still have tension somewhere, tense up that part again, then let it relax. It may also help to repeat silently “relax” as the tension drains. This will train your body and mind to recognize relaxation. Later you may be able to relax more easily just by repeating “relax” a few times.
Breath through your nose. This is important because it brings in more oxygen by involving your diaphragm more. You can test this. Breath with your mouth and you’ll notice that your breathing is shallower. Then breath through your nose and you’ll notice that your abdomen extends more. Air is being drawn deeper into your lungs.
Allow your breathing to fall into a comfortable pattern, and pay attention to it. Pay attention to your breath as it passes in and out of your nose. Your mind may wander endlessly, but all you have to do is continually bring attention back to your breath.
If your mind is still too busy, try naming the distractions as a way of setting them aside. That’s it. Continue for five or ten minutes, or for 100 breaths. Afterwards, open your eyes and sit there for a few seconds. You’ll feel relaxed, and your mind will feel refreshed. And you’ll be better prepared for any mental challenges.
Most techniques called meditation include these components:
1. You sit or lie in a relaxed position.
2. You breathe regularly. You breathe in deep enough to get enough oxygen. When you breathe out, you relax your muscles so that your lungs are well emptied, but without straining.
3. You stop thinking about everyday problems and matters.
4. You concentrate your thoughts upon some sound, some word you repeat, some image, some abstract concept or some feeling. Your whole attention should be pointed at the object you have chosen to concentrate upon.
5. If some foreign thoughts creep in, you just stop this foreign thought, and go back to the object of meditation.
Allow a few minutes for the process and experience it on your own.
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