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What Exactly is Meditation – Learn by Doing
Sit back, close your eyes, and take a deep breath because you’re now going to learn the essence of meditation and what it is all about.
Imagine your body and mind consciously relaxed and focused. You’re breathing in a calm manner, taking deep breaths through the nose and out the mouth.
You’re holding you breath patiently, and with deliberation during the process. You may be totally focused, only on your breath. Voila … you are now manifesting the definition of meditation, and answering the question of “What is meditation” by doing it!
But what is the dictionary definition of meditation? It is simply using a technique, such as mindfulness, to achieve a state of calmness and mental clarity.
You’re focusing on a particular matter, such as your breath, or any other bodily sensation, and enhancing awareness of it.
Alternatively, you may concentrate your energies on a beautiful scene, a persistent problem in your life, … on anything, to achieve a calm, collected state of being.
But Meditation is for Monks and Mystics
By definition and by prevailing wisdom, monks, mystics and folks representing other spiritual disciplines are supposed to incorporate meditation.
They’re supposed to have the internal makeup and time to practice. They even have specific locations in which to meditate.
However, you need not become a monk or mystic to meditate, and enjoy its serene benefits.
And you don’t even have to be in a special place to practice it, as it can be done anywhere you wish. (You may even turn to meditate when you’re overwhelmed by crowds, say at a noisy airport, especially if you’re trying to gain a sense of peace.)
And if you’re just beginning to meditate, as any monk or mystic would let you know, the fundamental principles remain the same.
The most important among these are to remove obstructive, pessimistic, and wandering thoughts and fantasies, and calming the mind with a deeply profound sense of focus.
This clears the mind, although a completely empty mind is a myth for most of us, difficult to dismiss because of the absolute meditative discipline of monks or mystics. 🙂
Meditating is a Form of Sweeping the Mind
I know you may be besieged by negative thoughts. The fight you had with a loved one may be occupying mind space. You may be upset with that unfair parking ticket you received. You may feel overwhelmed by overflowing work and personal responsibilities, and as such, your mind becomes understandably flooded with negative thoughts.
Now it’s time to meditate and that means cleansing and sweeping those negative thoughts away so that you may focus on deeper, more meaningful thoughts.
Alternatively, you can focus on a particular problematic issue. But with meditation, you have to face the problem head on, and not run away from it. The idea is to see the issue from an almost outsider’s perspective, and try to establish a sense of peace despite any looming threat.
Meditation can be a vehicle to help you foment this idea: You can handle anything that comes your way.
In order to achieve tranquility, and clear your mind of mental and emotional clutter, some practitioners advise that meditation be done with as little sensory input as necessary. (This is why it may be harder to meditate in a crowded airport!)
As we’re accustomed to constantly hearing and seeing the world around us, it may feel peculiar at first to limit such sensory input.
But ironically as you practice the art of meditation, your calm state of being allows you to become more aware of everything around you.
This Art is a State of Super Relaxation
Meditation can alter mind chemistry, and even body physiology. Its sole intention of calm focus helps to produce a sense of peace and serenity within.
Purposeful contemplation and reflection produces a renewed sense of hope, optimism, balance, composure, and inner quiet.
In the quest to attain calm attention and focus, it’s best to meditate in a comfortable position, conducive to meditation. You need not meditate like how some yogis do so with impossibly arched backs and painful-looking contortions.
Whatever position allows you to relax and focus is the one that represents a good starting point. While sitting or standing, the back should be straight, but not rigid, tense or tight. In other positions, the only no-no is slouching or drooping.
And while it’s best not to fall asleep, it’s perfectly fine if you do so, as long as it’s safe to do so.
Indeed, while you can perform meditation anywhere, ideally a soothing atmosphere is best. I prefer my living room or bedroom, but you may have your own favorite area.
You might opt for an exercise mat if you plan to assume more challenging positions (if you feel more focused doing so, and if the contortionist in you is screaming for release).
You may want to have the place arranged so that it is soothing to your senses, and even opt to use essential oils or incense to promote greater relaxation.
Meditation is Focusing Your Way You Toward Higher Consciousness
Listen carefully! Can you hear the ‘Om sounds’ from disciplined monks you see on television? They’re performing a mantra, any simple sound that holds a mystic value.
You do not need to engage in such a mantra, unless you wish. You merely need to focus on any repeated action, such as breathing with or without humming to bring you to a higher state of consciousness.
The primary point here is focus. You could try to focus on a certain object or thought with eyes wide open. I prefer to physically close my eyes and see with my “mind’s eye.”
Here is a popular sample meditation routine: Silently name every part of you body and focus your consciousness on that part while in a meditative state. At this time, be aware of any tension on any part of your body. Mentally visualize releasing this tension. It is amazing and works wonders.
There are also many meditation products on the market that have been scientifically proven to alter your brainwaves … but in a good way! They are created to help you attain a deep meditative state, and benefit mentally and physically in a myriad of ways.
What is Meditation? … My Conclusion
Meditation is undivided attention, calm focus, deep relaxation, and a higher state of consciousness. As such, it offers a tremendous array of mental and physical benefits.
Learn more about meditation here.