Why Meditate? A Look At Meditation

by marciag

Meditation is one of the best ways to relieve stress today. A look at meditation can easily confirm this. Have you noticed that more and more people are meditating than ever?

Where before it was only practiced by Buddhist monks and other Eastern gurus, these days practically everyone has the means and methods to pick up meditation and practice it from the comfort of their own home with ease. All it takes is a couple of minutes a day.

But how does meditation actually work? Meditation works by having your mind focus on a single thing. This single thing can vary greatly, which is what makes meditation accessible to anyone who has an interest in the practice.

There are so many different ways to practice meditation that everyone can find a style that fits their personality and time constraints.

What Is The Point Of Meditation Anyway?

Basically meditation is a great way to release stress and tension, to give you peace of mind and clarity, and for some to transcend them to higher levels of consciousness. But that last part is only for a few who are mostly interested in the spiritual aspects of meditation and are serious practitioners for long time.

A look at meditation reveals that when you meditate, and you've been at it for any given time, your mind automatically calms down. Your thoughts slow down and the chit-chatter that is usually an ongoing part of you, remains behind.

And this is what we really want. Did you know that many people manage to actually relieve their tension headaches simply through meditation?

While not scientifically proven, there is enough anecdotal evidence to show that tension headaches are from too much stress, too much 'stuff' to deal with, too many thoughts that are fighting for attention in your mind. And that is not a good thing.

Meditation can easily remove all that stress and tension, and just by clearing your mind for the next 15 minutes, you've gained so much, it's incredible. The new ideas that come right after are usually pure and in many cases they present the solution to burning questions and problems.

It is just like when you are in deep sleep in the middle of the night, when conscious thoughts are not present, and you suddenly wake up with the solution to something that was burning you inside out for weeks at no end.

Why Meditate? Dalai Lama Explains It In This Video

How Long Should I Meditate?

Personally I found that when starting out, you should meditate for just a couple of minutes every time. Initially for only once a day.

So you could start with a light 5-10 minutes session either first thing in the morning or late in the afternoon or evening, before going to bed.

Early on you will be happy if you can clear your mind for 1-2 minutes at a time, and that's ok. It's normal.

Only with practice you will get to a level where you can keep your intruding thoughts at bay for longer periods of time, so don't worry if you can't do it early on.

I think it took me a good couple of weeks when I started my meditation practice until I could really focus on nothing (or in my case on my breathing, as this was my first meditation technique that I started out with, the buddhist breath meditation).

Eventually you will gradually increase your meditation sessions, for one, because as you see the many benefits of meditation coming your way, you will want more.

Also the more often you do it, the easier it will become, and eventually it might even become a regular part of your life.

It has for me.

8 Minute Meditation: Quiet Your Mind. Change Your Life

8 Minute Meditation: Quiet Your Mind....

How Do I Actually Start Meditating?

Once you're convinced that meditation is something you want to try, the next question is how to start meditating. A look at meditation gives us various ways you can start, and while there are some easier methods than others, you can start with pretty much any meditation technique that you want.

There are some great easy meditation techniques that you can try out and then stay with the one you are mostly comfortable with.

One mistake I find that people make is that they start with one technique and even though they are not comfortable with it, they stay with it, struggle with it and then give up.

This is because meditation should not be a chore. It should be something fun and enjoyable to do. This is why there are several easy techniques of meditation that you can try out and then stay with the one that speaks to you the most.

Once you've gotten the hang of it, you'll find it's easier to go up on the ladder of the more advanced techniques that you might not have found so fun and easy earlier on.

Do You Practice Meditation?

Single Focus Meditation

One of the most common forms of meditation is a single focused activity. This means using an object for example, be it a picture, a pose, a mandala or prayer beads (mala beads) to help bring yourself into an altered state of being.

By focusing on this item you are forcing a level of concentration that allows yourself to slip into an altered state of consciousness. No doubt you have seen pictures of monks praying with a string of beads: this is a form of single focus meditation.

Meditation And Self-Hypnosis

Self-hypnosis is another form of meditation which is growing in popularity. Although many don’t acknowledge a correlation between self-hypnosis and meditation, they are actually very similar processes.

With hypnosis you go into an altered state of consciousness and work directly with the subconscious to make positive changes in your waking life. This is the same process as traditional meditation.

Mindfulness Meditation

Another form of meditation is called mindfulness meditation. This is a process of meditation that is used more commonly in Buddhist traditions of meditation and spirituality. It is hoped that during the process of meditation the practitioner will adjust their way of thinking.

Through this practice modes of being that no longer serve will be left behind and a higher level of awareness will be carried into all levels of consciousness. During a mindfulness meditation the practitioner connects to something bigger than themselves, this might be God, the Universe, or Buddha; the name doesn’t matter.

What does matter is the realization that we are all connected and can tap into that connection at any time.

Main Meditation Benefits For Everyone

There are many benefits of meditation to having a regular meditation practice. Science has proven that using meditation can help to change brain waves. What this really means is that you have control over your own body. What excellent news!

Here are just a few examples of what meditation can do to help improve your life.

  • Stress Reduction – In a meditative state you let distracting thoughts float past without paying any attention to them. By doing this you learn how to let go of thing that might otherwise stress you out. Learning to do this in a meditative state makes it easier to do it in regular life.
  • Better Health – Yes, it’s true. A regular meditative practice can lower your blood pressure, help you recover from surgeries, and learn to handle anxiety. Most often illness is a greater symptom of an internal unrest. This could be connected to a physical, emotional, or spiritual disconnect. With meditation you learn to come back to all of these pieces of yourself and work as a whole.
  • Positive Thinking – A meditation practice can help you control your thoughts. If you are negative or constantly beat up on yourself, meditation can help to change those internal patterns. It can help you to let go of anxieties that might lead to negative or dangerous behaviors.
  • Concentration – Yes, a regular meditation practice can help your powers of concentration develop much stronger than they are currently. Meditation is a form of forced single point concentration; this helps your brain to stay strong while still having a way to relax.

By incorporating meditation in your daily life you will become not only much healthier overall but also much calmer, stress free and a happier person overall. Ask me how I know :)

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Updated: 05/14/2013, marciag
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pkmcr on 05/27/2013

Interesting insight into the topic and yes I do meditate through the medium of prayer.

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