How do I actually meditate?
There are many ways to meditate. The most common is to sit in a comfortable position, keeping your spine straight while sitting upright on a chair or crossed legged on the floor. It is also commonly thought you will experience a better Meditation before a meal rather than after a meal. Focus on something until your attention transcends the random thoughts and mental chatter going on in your head. The thing you focus on could be one of the following…
- A solid object (usually a candle flame or a flower)
- A picture (usually a mandala – a highly coloured symmetrical painting)
- A mantra (a word, a phrase, or a sound repeated out loud or in your mind)
- Your breath (observing, but not altering the rhythm of your breathing)
- A guided visualisation (picturing images and situations as guided by a voice or that you imagine for yourself). A guided visualisation is very useful for bringing you into a meditative state quickly. Alternatively, a visualisation may be used once a meditative state has been reached to produce specific results.
You are often not aware of all the mental activity you are engaged in. Meditation asks that you focus and allow your mental activity to settle down. If you find yourself caught up in a thought patter while trying to Meditate, gently bring yourself back to the object of your focus. It is normal to experience itches and other body sensation; if this occurs, relax and simply observe.
What are the benefits of Meditation?
Regularly practicing Meditation will result in you becoming more peaceful, calm, and focussed. With regular practice, you will experience relaxation, increased awareness, mental focus, clarity, and a sense of peace.
Meditation involves becoming aware and more sensitive to what is within you. This added awareness and clarity can help you advance your spiritual growth and clear negative emotional patterns you are attached to. This can be a catalyst for positive change in many areas of your life.
Meditation is also great for stress management. The following are example of just some of the physiological effects of Meditation that have been proven through clinical research:
- lowering of blood pressure
- releasing tension from muscles
- reducing Cortisol levels
- regulating breathing
- decreasing the metabolic rate
When is the best time to Meditate?
Meditation will benefit you at any time.
Many people believe that first thing in the morning is the best time to Meditate. They believe that the hectic pace of the day has not yet begun, so it is easier to establish the right ambience. Meditating in the morning also lets you carry some of the Energy and peace of the Meditation into your day.
Meditation practiced at other times allows you to throw off some the accumulated stress of the day and rejuvenate yourself for the day’s next activity.
It is best to choose times that suit your personal schedule. Having a specific time of the day or week set aside for Meditation helps with your self-discipline and maintains consistency.
How long should I Meditate for?
When you first learn to Meditate, you might find it is not possible to do it for more than 10-15 minutes. After some practice, however, you will be able to Meditate for longer periods. Many people Meditate for 20-60 minutes each day, but the right duration and frequency must be an individual choice.
Is Meditation affiliated with Religion?
For some people, Meditation is primarily a spiritual practice, or it may be closely tied to the practice of a religion such as Hinduism or Buddhism. Meditation is a fundamental practice in most eastern religions, used for contacting “God” or your Higher Self. The Christian religion touches upon Meditation with Biblical statements such as “The kingdom of heaven is within you.”
“If prayer is talking to God, Meditation is listening to God.” Anon.
On the other hand, Meditation is also used in business, the medical and sporting worlds, for stress management, to develop positive mindsets, and as a relaxation technique. Meditation involves contacting that place within you that is calm, peaceful, and rejuvenating. As such, you may be in touch with any of the following:
- your inner child;
- your soul;
- the spirit world;
- differing brain wave activity; or.
- the silence within you.
Almost everyone has already Meditated in one form or another. Every time you wash the dishes and are off day-dreaming and unaware of your surroundings, you are in a Meditative state.
Why do some people listen to music when they Meditate?
Peaceful music can help to establish the right atmosphere, particularly if you find it difficult to actually sit still and start your Meditation. You can use music to mask the noise of the outside world (such as traffic or neighbours). Some people use music every time they Meditate, or often, while others prefer silent Meditation and never use it at all. It is a personal choice.
Why do I need a teacher?
You will find a teacher to be an invaluable aid in learning Meditation techniques and ensuring you are practicing correctly. When you are beginning Meditation, you will usually have questions which a teacher will be able to answer for you.
A Meditation class allows you to experience the benefit of Meditating with a group of people. Most people find they have some of their best Meditations while meditating in a group, because there is a collective Energy and focus present.
Many different techniques are taught, some more spiritual in nature, and others more concerned with stress management and relaxation. It is important to find what works for you.
What is the difference between Meditation and Concentration?
Concentration can be a part of Meditation. You concentrate when you begin your Meditation. After the initial period, as your thoughts subside, you keep your awareness spontaneously – this is Meditation without concentration.
What is the difference between Meditation and my thought process?
Your thinking requires Energy and is the result of stimuli in your environment. Meditation attempts to transcend the activity of your thinking. After regular Meditation, you will become aware that you are separate from your thoughts and that there is an awareness that exists independent of thought.
What is the difference between Meditation and relaxation?
Relaxation is a benefit of Meditation, and often still engages the thought process; Meditation attempts to transcend the thought process. Meditation often produces deep relaxation and is much more effective at reducing mental and physical stress than general relaxation techniques.