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, the practitioner focuses on breath, an object, or a sound (mantra). In mindfulness meditation, the practitioner sits quietly and "observes" everything in the environment, including thoughts, sounds, smells, and more.
In this form of meditation, the practitioner 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.
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.
Meditation can be quite physical, such as with some types of yoga, or seemingly passive, such as in mindfulness types of mediation. In addition to the types of meditation, there are different stages as well. Generally speaking, in the early stages of meditation, the practitioner is more aware of the practice. He or she may have difficulty concentrating on breath or not reacting to thought.
With practice, this moves into a stage where one is much less aware. This is followed by a stage of bliss, which is followed by a very deep sense of self, followed by an ability to reach a stage of deep stillness. There are many resources available on meditation.
Those new to the practice may opt to take part in a class or guide when beginning. Others may prefer to read up on the various options and practice on his or her own. Visit the local library for books and resources or visit a yoga or spiritual center. Meditation can be an enjoyable experience and provide balance to an otherwise hectic life.
Top 7 Meditation Tips
People think that meditation is hard and that you need to be a full-time monk to be able to meditate properly. That’s simply not true. Absolutely anyone can learn how to meditate quickly and easily. You don't have to go through an elaborate ritual to be able to meditate.
Put simply, meditation is a way to get in touch with your inner self. Here are some tips to make your meditation even easier:
1. Choose the right teacher. Whether you are learning meditation with an online course or in a local group, pick a teacher you get on with and one who is teaching the kind of methods you get along with.
2. Learn to relax your body. As a typical tensed-up westerner, this may be the biggest skill you need to learn. But once you learn how to relax, you'll find meditation so much easier. By the way, don't stress yourself about learning to relax either!
3. Take it easy. No one is going to give you a SATS test on meditation. It doesn't matter if you take longer to learn meditation than someone else. It’s absolutely fine if you take your time to learn a technique. Everyone has their own speed of learning.
4. Respect yourself and others. Treat yourself and others respectfully. If you find yourself attracting negative people, change the signals you're sending out (meditating regularly will help with this).
5. Get rid of distractions. Turn off your cell phone while you are meditating. Close down that chat window. Turn off the television (that's good advice anyway, whether for meditating or not).
6. If possible, join a meditation group. Meditation is much more fun in a group and you'll find that others are finding the same learning curve as you are. Groups generate their own energy – the sum of the whole truly is greater than the sum of the parts. Joining a group can widen your circle of friends and can be a booster to your confidence. Depending on the group's aim, you may also learn about different meditation techniques as the group progresses.
7. Simply let go. The word "meditation" means trying to let go. Go with the flow. Allow what is happening to happen. Don't fixate on exactly what your meditation experience should or shouldn't be.
Three Tips to Quiet Your Mind
If you are not overachieving and extremely busy in today’s society, you are the exception and not the norm. We are all guilty of this; we overextend, overachieve, and overstress ourselves to the point of breaking. Little do we realize, however, that we are hurting our bodies by hurting our minds.
The Art of Gratitude
It is so easy to be upset when things do not go our way. From the moment we spill our coffee, lock our keys in the car, and forget our lunch, a spiral of circumstances can set us off into a tailspin of negativity. However, we can choose to stay in a state of discontent and let that dictate our day, or we can be grateful for the other things in our lives even if they are not present in front of us right now.
Did you ever notice that when something nice happens, we tend to smile for a moment and then move on? However, when something goes wrong, we feel the need to tell everyone and anyone that will listen. It is in those exact moments of discontent that we need to focus on what we are grateful for, and it is then and only then that we will pull ourselves up from discontent.
Keeping the focus on gratitude offers your mind something to smile about, regardless of outside circumstances. Focusing on people, places, and even things that make you grateful gives your mind the quiet respite that it needs to stay active and healthy in the future.
A Time for Nothingness
Everyone has a busy schedule; that is a known fact. We all set our schedules to overflowing and then complain that we do not have time for ourselves. Take a good hard look at your schedule and see what you can delete and what you can delegate. If you are going to have a healthy mind, you need to take care of it just as you would your body. One cannot function healthily without the other.
The best tip for quieting your mind is to put that on your schedule. Put it in a big red pen on your calendar, text yourself a reminder, and place it on your list of things to do this week.
Take a Moment
Being in the moment has become a cliché; however, if you really take the time and trouble to learn what that means, you will learn how to quiet your mind. Focus on what you are doing at the exact moment you are doing it.
In this way, you are focused on the moment at hand and not two days from now when something big is arising. These are just three helpful tips for quieting your mind.