People are talking about meditation these days and almost everywhere you go there is good news about it. It cures this and it helps with that so why not give it a try?
It seems that the whole world is trying it and so you have to wonder what are the reasons why. 3 good reasons are that it helps with calming thoughts, breathing easily and just improving your life. It might also be the best way for finding peace.
So then we have to wonder: just what is meditation?
What is Meditation?
Meditation is an ancient practice, used for years to calm the mind. It is usually explained peacefully so just about anyone can understand and practice it.
With the hectic pace and demands of modern life, many people feel stressed and over-worked. When so much builds up there is really a call to meditate. Meditation offers us a chance to relax, turn within and find the peace that we have inside us. You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to meditate.
Recommended Good Meditations
The best meditation is often the most basic one. An example of this is the breath meditation, where you simply watch your breath as it calms down. This method is taught and practiced since ancient times and still works as good now as it did then.
It is easy to start this, it is a sure fire method for calming the breath and mind. A simple ten or fifteen minute breathing meditation can really be a game changer and help put you on the right path.
Another benefit of meditation is that it helps you to organize your thoughts. When you are still all seems calm, and organizing and ordering your thoughts just gets downright easier.
This is because when you meditate you put things in balance, like what the Buddha calls ‘right view.’ Thinking and seeing clearly get easier and so random wandering thoughts just get absorbed in the meditation order of things.
Dealing with Thoughts
Thoughts may come up during meditation but it doesn’t mean self defeat. There are methods for dealing with thoughts and we see that many meditators practice meditation for a long time and always love it.
Meditation can help us understand our mind, since afterall it is our mind. We can learn our own thoughts, even how we think, and can learn how to transform our mind from negative to positive, from unhappy to happy.
One of the greatest things about meditation is that it is doable. It’s possible to meditate, calm our mind and find peace to a measure that we can call rewarding. Many meditators claim that it gets better as you progress at it!
The Goal of Meditation
The main goal of meditation is peace, to get a clear, calm mind.
In Buddhism the goal of meditation is liberation of the mind, freedom from attachment to things it cannot control. This includes things like external circumstances or strong internal emotions.
The liberated or “enlightened” practitioner no longer follows desires or clings to experiences, but instead maintains a calm mind and sense of inner harmony.
In meditation you’re not trying to turn off your thoughts or feelings, but learning to observe them without judgment. Eventually, you can start to better understand them, to be on top of them.
It takes time to get comfortable with your mind. There might be the possibility of setbacks along the way but that’s part of meditating. It’s best to keep practicing.
The Types of Meditation
Meditation deals with the mind so you can guess that there are many ways to do it. Some of the methods practiced today are very old yet they are still very good ways to practice.
Concentration Meditation – This type of meditation is all about focusing your concentration, usually on a fixed object. It helps a lot to focus and can prevent all those random wandering thoughts. Good examples of objects used are a spot on the wall (often a black spot on a white wall), a candle flame (mostly near the wick) or a mountain.
Mindfulness Meditation –This method is popular and rightfully so. It is a practical method and helps lead you to the formality that is beneficial in meditation.
Mindfulness is basically about ‘being in the now’ or being present. When the meditator is attentive, he proceeds to witness thoughts in a non-judgemental way, trying not to get caught up in the content of them.
It is highly recommended to try to steer clear of the pairs of opposites (duality.)
Breathing Meditation –This third method we present may indeed be the best method. It is a tried and true way to calm the breath simply by observing it.
This is a peaceful approach and is handy since we always have the breath with us. Just watching the inhale, and then the exhale, both followed by a short pause, can be a way to enter into the calm we have within. It is famously said that when the breath calms, then the mind calms too. This offers a great gateway to meditation.
Obstacles to Meditation?
Many people put off meditation saying that they just don’t have time for it. It’s good to make time since meditation helps us calm down and get centered.
It can be said that meditation actually gives you more time by making your mind calmer and more focused. It is the best tool for diving within to
discover the world inside you.
When you include meditation in your day most people like to use it to start the day. A morning meditation can really start your day off good and can make the difference between a ho hum day and a great day.
Regular practice is highly recommended since spotty meditation approach would yield spotty results. A regular routine, like once or twice a day, as opposed to sporadic, is the best.
Seeking a Meditation Teacher
Getting your meditation off to a good start and keeping tuned and regular may seem like a challenge to some so you might want to think about getting a teacher.
It’s extremely difficult for a beginner to sit for hours and think of nothing or have an “empty mind” but a teacher can cut through that and lead you to a sound approach which gets you off on the right path.
Also recommended are meditation books. There are great books by great teachers which so many use for furthering their practice.
Sometimes we could say that meditation is a simple technique which allows the body to experience a profound state of rest while the mind becomes quiet and alert.
Just the thought of meditating can get you interested and with so many benefits you really want to jump right in and do meditation now.
There are teachers to encourage you, books with instruction and good meditation methods so there is really nothing missing in the meditation world of offerings.
And since the benefits just keep getting better with continued practice you can step right up and join the seasoned meditators!
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Flower photo credit: Derek Ramsey