Meditation Guide

What is meditation?

Meditation is a continuous process of training your mind to concentrate on your thoughts. Originally, the word “meditate” means to think deeply about something for a long time. Meditation is also referred to as dhyana in Sanskrit. It is commonly used in Buddhism, Hinduism, Sikhism and Jainism as a spiritual practice for hundreds of years as a way to calm the mind. As per Wikipedia, Meditation is a practice where an individual uses a technique – such as mindfulness or focusing the mind on a particular object, thought, or activity – to train attention and awareness, and achieve a mentally clear, calm and stable state.

Meditation is a mental exercise for providing relaxation, concentration, clarity, emotional positivity, calmness and awareness. We think a lot and most of our thoughts are negative and these thoughts can affect our mental state of mind. Thinking too much can make us feel crappy sometimes. So, any kind of mindfulness activity can keep you out from your thoughts about the past or the future and you can easily live your life in the present moment.

We’re more stressed and under more pressure than ever before. Meditation is a powerful natural antidote to stress. It can help us cope with the pressures of everyday life. Generally, the purpose of meditation is to raise personal and spiritual growth, in addition to calming the mind. Meditation gives us access to the mind’s inner wealth. So, we don’t need to depend on the external world for fulfillment and well-being.

Types of meditation

There are many types of meditation and I have analyzed the most common practices to help you get started.

Focused Meditation

Are you just a beginner to meditation or want to improve your focusing skills? Try to learn focused meditation. It is also described as attention meditation techniques. In this type, an individual focuses on one particular object during the entire meditation session. There are many things we can choose to focus or concentrate on for this meditation-like focusing on the breathing, object, flickering flame, flowers, sound, visualization or sensation.

You can select anything that activates your sense. For example, if you choose a flickering flame, sit in a comfortable position in front of it and try to pay attention to its different colors or the smells or the sounds. You want to think as deeply as possible about the flame, being fully present in the moment.

The most common forms of focused meditation include Chakra meditation, Kundalini meditation and Zen meditation. It can be challenging for beginners. So, if your mind begins to wander, redirect your thoughts back to the present. If you are doing it regularly, it will help you to strengthen your sense of focus.

Researcher has found that it can:

  • Improve memory and focusing skill
  • Increase inner peace and serenity
  • Achieve self-awareness

Spiritual Meditation

Are you looking for spiritual growth and need absolute silence? Then, you can consider spiritual meditation as the best option. In this type, it will allow you to see inside yourself at a deeper level and begin to experience pure consciousness. It involves pure silence or some spoken words or phrases or a prayer. This meditation can help you establish a deeper connection with the divine or god and make you realize the eternal truth of the universe. In Buddhism and Taoism, meditation is more focused on self-awareness and self-actualization. It will make your life more meaningful.

This meditation technique, which has become extremely popular in Eastern religions, such as Hinduism, Daoism and Buddhism. It can be practiced at home, your preferred place of worship or in nature. Begin by sitting in a comfortable position, remain quiet, close your eyes, listen to the silence around you and recite a prayer or a phrase slowly. It is the best way to develop a strong sense of awareness.

Researcher has found that it can:

  • Increase spirituality
  • Increase self-awareness
  • Discover life purpose
  • Increase positive energy

Movement Meditation

Are you more action-oriented or can’t sit still? Try to consider movement meditation. Movement meditation is not your usual meditation where you sit still and focus on your breath. Instead, with a mindful and slow pace, you are moving through different positions. It is an active kind of meditation in which we combine mindfulness with physical activity. During the day, when you are feeling restless or disturbed, movement meditation can help you to gain a sense of mind-body awareness.

It is a good choice for those who have difficulty staying still for long periods and for those who are action-oriented. Because it allows you to get moving while still focusing on an object of awareness. Yoga is the most well-known form of movement meditation. But you can also try Tai chi, Qigong, Rhythmic exercises, walking, dancing or other gentle motion. In each situation, the movement of your body is the object of meditation.

Researcher has found that it can:

  • Release physical tension
  • Stimulate blood circulation
  • Deep muscle relaxation
  • Increase in concentration

Mindfulness Meditation

Do you prefer to practice alone or don’t have access to a meditation teacher? Mindfulness meditation might be useful to you. Mindfulness meditation originates from Buddhist teachings and is the most common technique of meditation in the West. It is a basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing. Instead of dwelling on the past or thinking about the future, it encourages awareness of a person’s existing surroundings.

Mindfulness meditation is something that people can do almost anywhere, including while you are walking, talking, doing household chores or waiting in line at the shop. It means you are 100 % involved in the task you are doing, not concerned about any distractions. Initially, many people may struggle with this method. That’s why beginners start their practice with formal mindfulness meditation.

For the formal practice, sit on a cushion on the floor, with a straight and unsupported back. Pay close attention to the movement of your breath. Breath is the best-known focus of mindfulness meditation. When you are breathing, notice the sensation of the breath as it comes and goes. It can be as little as 10 minutes each day. Sometimes your mind will get distracted from the present moment. Whenever it happens, recognize it and bring the attention back to the breathing.

Researcher has found that it can:

  • Reduce stress and anxiety
  • Get better sleep
  • Improve health and well being

Transcendental Meditation

Are you looking for a more structured form of meditation or are very serious about doing a meditation practice? You can consider transcendental meditation. It is a popular type of meditation with over 5 million practitioners around the world in which we have to focus on a specific mantra or phrase by reciting it silently. For beginners, the mantra acts as the object of awareness, just like breathing is the object of awareness for mindfulness meditation. A mantra can be as simple as saying “Om” or a phrase like “All is well”. You can get the best result by doing it two times, twice a day.

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, a great teacher from India who introduced the TM technique to the entire world. The goal of transcendental meditation is to transcend above your current state of being. It allows the mind to experience pure consciousness easily, effortlessly and enjoyably.

Researcher has found that it can:

  • Improve overall well-being.
  • Calmness throughout the day

Benefits of Meditation

The psychological benefits of meditation are:

  • Increase concentration
  • Increase productivity
  • Increase mental strength and focus
  • Reduce stress & anxiety
  • Reduce negative thoughts
  • Promote emotional health and well being
  • Enhance self awareness
  • Increase happiness

Along with many psychological benefits, a number of physical benefits are also available such as:

  • Lower blood pressure
  • Slowing of the aging process
  • Improve sleep quality
  • Straighten immune system
  • Reduce the risk of heart attack

How to meditate-mindful

Choose a quiet and peaceful environment

It should be practiced in a calm and peaceful environment. Try to find a place where you will not be interrupted for the duration of your meditation. You need not be worried about the place. You can do it in the corner of the room or even in your office or in nature as long as it’s somewhere private.

Set a time limit

If you are just a beginner, you can meditate for anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes every day. You can start with even less. When you get comfortable with the practice, you keep increasing your time. You can also keep alarm during meditation. So, your mind won’t be worrying about time. As experts suggest, the quality of meditation is more important than the length.

Pick a time

You should decide on a particular time of the day, like waking up in the morning or in the evening. Researcher shows that it’s very easy to adopt any new habit when we do it every day at the “same time”, “the same place”. For many people, the morning is often considered to be the best time to meditate because the mind is quiet and refreshed. Try to stick to it if you have decided the time.

Sit in a comfortable position

It is very important that you sit in a comfortable position while meditating. You can sit on a cushion, chair or meditation bench with or without crossing your legs. Any seated position is fine as long as you’re comfortable. Relax your shoulders and keep your back straight, so that your head and neck are in line with your spine. Meditation can be performed with the eyes open or closed. However, as a beginner, I would recommend meditating with eyes closed to avoid visual distraction and use earplugs to avoid surrounding noise. This is one of the most common meditation postures.

Focus on your breath

Breathing is considered to be the most powerful and insightful of all meditation techniques. You should just breathe normally and try to keep your attention on breathing. Follow the sensation of your breath as it goes in and as it goes out. Don’t judge or criticize yourself over the content of the thoughts that come during meditation. Be kind to your wandering mind and bring your attention back to breathing.

Hope this will provide you enough guidelines to learn meditation techniques. Did you try any of them? Please feel free to share your experience.

Thank you so much for your kind support.

Nirali.



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