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On Meditation

Meditation Interior

Meditation Interior (Photo credit: Donatas Grinius)

Meditation describes a state of concentrated attention on some object of thought or awareness. It usually involves turning the attention inward to a single point of reference

Meditation is a way of contacting the inner energy that powers the natural processes of healing and self-realization. Many cultures preserve some form of ritualistic technique – in one or two cultures dating from thousands of years ago – that promotes change from the normal levels of perception and that may result in feelings of well-being. This is probably why meditation in one form or another is central to the practice of so many of the world’s religions.

The word meditation comes from the Latin meditatio, which originally indicated every type of physical or intellectual exercise, then later evolved into the more specific meaning “contemplation.” Eastern spiritual teachings, including meditation, have been adapted and increasingly practiced in Western culture.The use of Meditation for healing is not new. Meditative techniques are the product of diverse cultures and peoples around the world. It has been rooted in the traditions of the world’s great religions. In fact, practically all religious groups practice meditation in one form or another.

The value of Meditation to alleviate suffering and promote healing has been known and practiced for thousands of years.Whereas some traditions are strictly mystical, directed toward a unity with all creation and an infusion with sublime joy, others may be described as more pragmatic, striving instead toward what is simply a state of “being” that includes no aspect of movement or sensation. For some people, especially in the Christian faith, prayer is a form of meditation. What is always involved is time out from the world around and a stilling of the mind,

Although it is possible to learn meditation techniques from a book, it is much better to have a teacher. Failing this, a tape can be helpful. It is usual to start by adopting a comfortable posture in a quiet location and closing your eyes. At first it may be difficult to steer the attention gently away from your racing thoughts without forcing the mind to behave in a set way. The vocal repetition of sounds (a mantra), or a visual object of devotional significance to which the attention may be recalled when necessary, is helpful to some people.It has been found that meditating effects change heart rate and respiration, helping to reduce stress. As the thoughts slow and the level of tension in the body drops accordingly, feelings of calm, detachment, peace, and sometime joy begin to fill the mind and spread through the body. Meditation promotes a state of deep relaxation, but also mental alertness and openness.

Meditation

Meditation (Photo credit: Moyan_Brenn)

An equilibrium between activity in the rational left side of the brain and the creative right side of the brain is established and there is an overall increase in the brain’s range of operation. Benefits reported include decreased anxiety, feelings of anger and aggression, depression, nervousness, and physical tension increased awareness and concentration, mental clarity and resilience, creative intuitive powers, emotional stability and control, and also overall health and well-being.

A person who thinks all the time has nothing to think about except thoughts. So he loses touch with reality, and lives in a world of illusion. — Allen Watts

The health benefits of meditation can be great. Learn some simple meditation techniques and also learn a bit more about some of the more complex approaches.

There are many different types of meditation and the techniques can vary from being very simple to being quite complex. The benefits of meditation can be great as many studies have been done outlining many of the potential health benefits from reduction in stress to less symptoms of disease. Here are a few different techniques to help you learn meditation.

Breathing Exercise:

This is a very simple technique and simply requires that you put your mental attention on your breathing. Simply turn your mental focus to your breathing as you breathe in and then out. Try to only think of your breathing, if you find other thoughts entering your mind then simply return your focus gently back on the breath.

Do this for five to ten minutes a day or whenever you feel you need to get rid of some tension and stress. Over time you will experience fewer distractions and you will be able to slip into that quiet frame of mind quicker and experience the peace and tranquility that it brings.

Guided Meditation:

This kind of meditation is usually accompanied by music usually sounds of nature or other non verbal music that is slow and gentle. It is also best to do this in a quiet room without any other kinds of distractions. You can light an incense that you like to help to relax you further.

Now focus on a pure space inside of your heart and see a light there. Then envision this light spreading slowly throughout your body and then see the light extending outside your body to the space around you. Maintain your focus on this light and avoid external thoughts. The idea is to get to that state of a quiet peaceful mind that is also potentially the least stressful and thus may offer great health benefits.

Chakra Meditation:

Chakra meditation is based on concentrating on the various energies that lie within us and by simply paying attention to different regions of our body we have the potential to get great health benefits in those particular regions. There are seven chakras that you need to learn when performing this type of meditation.

They are the root chakra, feeling chakra, personality chakra, heart chakra, throat chakraArticle Submission, knowledge and crown chakra. There are indeed a few things to learn so be patient and take your time to learn this type of meditation. When performing this type of meditation make sure that your focus is on one chakra at a time and you need to clear your thoughts.

You can also add some relaxing music to the background if you like and make sure that you are in a room that is free of distractions so be sure to turn the television or radio off. The main idea is to feel a connection with everything around you. There are many books and tapes written that can show you in detail how to do this type of meditation as it can get complex.

Zen Meditation:

Zen meditation is also defined as the study of the self. It is best to do this in a seated position called the burmese position. Make sure to keep the back straight as this will make deep breathing occur much more naturally. The deep breathing that occurs during this type of meditation can offer many health benefits as by introducing more oxygen into your system you help to cleanse and energy your body.

One of the things you do in zen meditation is to stay in the same position for fifteen to twenty minutes. This will help you to develop a quieter mind by restricting your physical movements. Often a scattered mind is what causes significant stress in the lives of many so learning to reduce your thoughts can be very stress relieving. Pick a meditation approach you feel comfortable with and learn all you can about it and most importantly do it on a regular basis to reap the benefits.