What Is Meditation
Meditation has been practiced around the world for thousands of years. It is a technique used to quiet the mind and body, and release stress. It can also bring focus and clarity, and often, after meditating, problems that you have been struggling with, miraculously become solved. Meditation has also been known to inspire people to write, and to spur lucrative business ideas, as your subconscious comes to light.
In today’s fast-paced world, many people are seeking a way to get away from it all and relax. Meditation, which is essentially a method to obtain a level of deep thought and relaxation, is one way to find inner peace and tranquility. Many people think of monks or other spiritual types sitting in crossed-leg positions and reaching states of bliss when they think of mediation, but there are many ways to meditate. While there are many ways to reach a meditative state, there really are no right or wrong ways to meditate (this would defeat the purpose), only practice and finding ways that feel right for you.
Meditation is associated with many religions, but one does not need to be associated with any particular religion in order to meditate. You might want to investigate different methods, however, to find a form of mediation that feels most comfortable. One common method includes repeating a sound or word, called a mantra. Other forms of meditation involve focusing on a visual image, such as the flame of a candle or a symbol. Other meditative techniques involve breathing and physical movements, such as yoga or other breathing practices.
No matter what the method, the tools used in meditation are there to help users reach a state of mental relaxation. Many mediation techniques help you clear your mind of the constant thoughts that normally run through the mind. In reducing or eliminating these thoughts, one can reach a state of deep thought that is associated with meditation.
There are two primary approaches to meditation, which are concentrative meditation and mindfulness meditation. In concentrative meditation, one focuses on breathing, an object, or a sound (mantra). In mindfulness meditation, one sits quietly and “observes” everything in the environment, including thoughts, sounds, smells, and more. In this form of meditation, one practices not reacting to the environment (both internal and external), which can lead to a greater ability to act in a non-reactive way in daily life. Both forms of meditation are useful, and one is no better than the other is. Personal preference may determine which method you choose, and you can always try both.
Benefits Of Meditation
Both physical and mental benefits can result from meditation. This can include increased heart health through relaxation, lowered cholesterol and blood pressure, and a more youthful feeling. Mental benefits can be an increased sense of well-being, decreased anxiety and depression, and emotional stability. Meditation should not be used as a cure for physical or mental ailments, however, but it can be a powerful supplement. Those with physical or mental health conditions should consult with a health care professional before beginning a mediation practice.
How To Meditate
One simple form of meditation requires you to sit in a quiet room, either on a pillow, or cross-legged on the floor, or in a comfortable chair, making sure your spine is straight. It is advised that you use the same place every day. It is also suggested that you personalize your spot, by beautifying it with candles, flowers, and pictures of the people that you love.
The idea is to sit quietly, with your eyes closed, and focus on a point inside of your forehead. Try not to think of anything in particular, but don’t try ‘not’ to think either, allowing your mind to become calm, and peaceful. If you find that your mind is ‘chattering’, don’t try to control it, just let it finish what it is that it is working on, it will eventually quiet down. It is also recommended for beginners to begin with 10 to 20-minute sessions, each day. After a while of doing this, you will start to feel deep relaxation and joy during these sessions.
Another simple form of meditation is to sit in a quiet, comfortable spot, making sure you are facing a wall about eight feet away from you. Pick a spot or object on that wall, and make that spot or object your focal point. Looking at your focal point, begin counting backward from 100, one number for each breath you exhale. As you do this, imagine yourself floating, and feeling very relaxed. You will begin to feel your eyelids getting heavy, and may begin to blink. Let your eyes slowly close, and as you continue to count backward, imagine yourself as limp as a ragdoll, totally relaxed, and floating in a safe and comfortable place. Stop counting, and just float in your space. If any disturbing thoughts should come while in your space, just let them flow out again, and allow yourself to continue to feel safe and relaxed.
These techniques can help you to cope with stress, and discharge the tension that accumulates during stressful situations.
When you are ready to come out of a session, you can either let yourself drift off to sleep, or you can count from one to three and exit. First, count one, and get yourself ready to exit. At two, take a deep breath, and hold for a few seconds. At three, exhale and open your eyes slowly. As you open your eyes, continue to hold on to that relaxed and comfortable feeling.
You may then want to increase the length of your sessions to thirty minutes, or maybe even an hour. In our highly active lifestyles of today, we must try to include a brief time for our mind in our daily schedule.