An Introduction to Meditation
The practice of meditation has been around thousands of years, and longer than most organized religions.
But it’s only in the last 200 years that meditation has become popular in Western countries.
Today, around 500 million people practice meditation, in one form or another, on a regular basis.
There are a number of misconceptions regarding meditation and how it works.
Many people consider meditation to be some sort of “New Age“, “out there” almost cultish practice. However there is not “a particular kind of individual” who meditates. Individuals from all walks of life and age group have been practicing meditation for centuries.
One of the most common misconceptions is that meditation is religious and spiritual based.
Meditation is a practiced ability, not a belief.
Some individuals do use meditation in a spiritual context, but simply practicing meditation does not make it a form of religion.
Another myth is the concept that meditation is all about sitting cross-legged, arms extended, chanting “ohhhmmm”. The fact is that while some people choose to practice it that fashion, many prefer sitting in a chair with hands on their laps. The objective is to sit relaxed, tuning out all distractions and becoming aware of our sensations and emotions.
Our entire existence is based on what we perceive with our minds, and our viewpoint and perception can be dramatically changed when we start practicing meditation.
Meditation is a technique for training the mind.
The process of practicing meditation is simple. All you need to do is relax with eyes closed, focused on your breathing, and let your mind begin to shut out all the noise and distractive thinking.
When you notice thoughts popping into your head, you simply turn them off by returning to the singular item of focus (generally your breathing).
There are numerous forms of meditation in practice worldwide today, all of which work and have their own benefits. Here is a listing of some of the more popular:
– Clear Mind
– Transcendental Meditation.
– Directed Visualization.
– Qi Gong.
– Kundalini Meditation.
– Heart Rhythm Meditation.
– Sahaja Meditation.
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So what does meditation do?
Today, meditation is being recommended by many doctors to help with stress and anxiety, consuming disorders, and even dependency. In other words, meditation can go a long way towards improving one’s overall health.
SOME OF THE BENEFITS OF MEDITATION
– Lower high blood pressure.
– Enhanced blood circulation.
– Lower heart rate.
– Less perspiration.
– Slower breathing rate.
– Less anxiety.
– Lower blood cortisol levels.
– More sensations of wellness.
– Less tension.
– Deeper relaxation.
The most profound benefit of meditation is freeing our thought processes from attachment to things we cannot control such as events, people or situations, as well as our own negative thoughts and emotions.
The two types of meditation frequently suggested for beginners are Clear Mind (Concentration) and Mindfulness.
CLEAR MIND (CONCENTRATION) MEDITATION
Concentration meditation includes directing our focus on a single point. This might involve focusing on our breathing, heartbeat, thinking of a single word, listening to a repeated sound, or counting a series of numbers.
Beginners may find it difficult to focus for any length of time in the beginning, so it’s advised to start in shorter increments of a few minutes, increasing with each session.
In this form of meditation, focus your awareness on the selected point. When you notice your mind wandering, simply ignore the interrupting thoughts and return to the original point of focus.
Mindfulness meditation directs the practitioner to be aware of wandering ideas as they pop in your mind. The objective is not to engage in these thoughts nor to evaluate and judge them, just let them flow.
Through mindfulness meditation, you will be able to become aware of how your ideas and sensations tend to form defined patterns. With the passage of time, you will become aware of your ability to rapidly judge your thoughts as good (beneficial) or bad (detrimental), pleasant or undesirable. With practice, you will be able to identify the thoughts you should avoid and reject or the ones you should embrace.
How to Practice Meditation
An excellent introduction to meditation for novices is the “body scan” method. Imagine a photocopier scanner moving slowly over your body, noting any physical experiences within. It scans without analysis and without trying to change what you feel.
With your eyes closed, visualize yourself in the viewing screen of the scanner as it moves from head to toe. As you scan, pay attention to how your body feels, relaxed or tense, hot or cold, uptight or peaceful and so on. Each time you scan it should take no more than 20 seconds. Outside thoughts may well occur and sidetrack you. Simply ignore them and continue scanning beginning with the area of the body where you last left off. The purpose of the scanning is to make you aware of your body’s senses and thoughts.
These tips will assist you in producing the desired results. Treat your meditation as an important act. If you take it seriously, you will be rewarded in more ways than you can imagine.
1. In order to get the best results, meditate regularly, hopefully daily. It’s far more important to dedicate to a routine, and continue practicing, than choose any particular method or technique.
2. If you are a newbie meditator, even 15 minutes everyday is enough to start. If you can meditate more times a day, all the better. The more you practice, the faster you’ll see results.
3. You can use meditation soundtracks to improve the experience.
4. It is also best to practice meditation at the same time every day.
Our mind’s normal state is chaotic, and agitated, and, our conscious is unaware of all the turmoil going on in the subconscious. Meditation is about awareness, wakefulness, control and balance.
Meditation has to do with being conscious and wakefully tuned in to what is happening in our minds. Once we become aware, we can control our thinking and avoid our typical negative thought process in exchange for far more beneficial one by intentionally planting positive affirmations.
Meditation by itself, is not a panacea, it will not resolve your problems, nor magically guarantee everlasting happiness. What it can do is change how you respond and relate to the events, situations and surroundings occurring around you. With consistent practice, an open mind and determination you will be able to take control of your inner self and experience life on a more desired and harmonious level.
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