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Meditation 101

Meditating

                    “Quiet the mind, and the soul will speak”-Ma Jaya Sati Bhagavati

What is Meditation?

Do you feel that your mind is on overdrive all day long? Do you feel like your thoughts are controlling you, rather than you controlling your thoughts?  Wouldn’t it be nice to just give yourself a break from all that mental chatter and noise?

Well, meditation is one of the best tools out there to help you relax your mind.  In fact, meditation can help transform your mind.

In general, meditation is a practice of going beyond the “thinking mind”.  It is an umbrella term that includes many different styles and techniques. The fact that it has existed for many years, and across numerous cultures, is evidence enough, that it has powerful benefits.

The Benefits of Meditation

Some of the notable benefits include reducing stress/anxiety, improving mental/emotional health, coping with pain/illness, and enhancing overall wellbeing.

As well, meditation can allow you to tap into higher levels of awareness.  In other words, it gives you direct access to your higher self, or Source, or God (whatever term you like to use).  This is where you will find pure creativity, inspiration, and infinite possibilities.

It is often said that the great composers, artists, and inventors of our world create their best work when they have tapped into these higher levels of awareness. Wouldn’t you like to have some of that?

What Type of Meditation Should You Do?

The good news is that there are many meditation techniques available for you to choose from.  My advice to you would be to get out there and try a few.  Stick with the one(s) that resonates with you the most.  If it feels good, you’ll likely commit to it.

I will provide you with two meditations that work effectively for many people. It’s important for you to know that you must commit and practice regularly in order to reap the benefits of meditation.

It’s kind of like going to the gym to get in better shape. Going for a workout once a month is not going to give you the results you desire.

However, the wonderful thing about meditation is that once you get the ball rolling, it will no longer feel like a chore.  In fact, it will feel like the complete opposite of that. It’s like an addiction- it will feel way too good to stop!

Lets start with two meditation techniques that are great for beginners (and experts alike).

The first

This meditation is a very simple technique. I’m writing about this one because I want you to realize that meditation can be easy, free of charge, and anyone can do it.  As well, it can be done in the comfort of your own home. It only takes 10 to 20 minutes and the effects can be profoundly positive.

To begin, sit in a quiet place where you won’t be interrupted. Wear comfortable clothing.  You can sit on the floor, in a chair, or lie down.

If you are sitting try to have your back as straight as possible while remaining comfortable. If you lie down, try your best not to fall sleep because when you’re sleeping you’re not meditating.

Once you are comfortable close your eyes, take a few slow deep breaths, and relax.

Your mind will likely be thinking one thought after another, but your goal should be to gently release the thoughts. In other words, just try to be present in the moment with a “thoughtless” mind.  There are a number of ways to help you release your thoughts such as:

  • focusing on your breathing;
  • counting your breaths; or,
  • focusing on a consistent sound in the background such as the “hum” of a fan or refrigerator.

Once your thoughts taper off, you’ll experience the sweet stillness within you.  It is there, in the stillness, that you will experience the peace, love, and joy that you so yearn for.

The second 

Mindfulness meditation.  This practice has gained much popularity over the past 20 years, on the Western side of the world.  One notable program is called Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR).

I have completed this course and have gained tremendous benefit from it. It is an 8-week structured program.  It was developed by John Kabat-Zinn and is offered in a number of schools, medical centers, hospitals, and beyond.

Numerous studies have proven the mental and physical benefits of MBSR.  The program involves mindfulness meditation, yoga and body awareness.  As per John Kabat-Zinn, mindfulness is “paying attention in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally”.

In other words, this program teaches you the importance of living in and accepting the present moment without judgement. With mindfulness practice, your mind becomes non-reactive, stable, and balanced. In turn, you learn to fully experience and appreciate your everyday, moment-to-moment life.

 My Personal Experience with Meditation

I’ve been practicing meditation for over a decade.  I’ve taken numerous meditation courses. The benefits for me have been remarkable.

It consistently makes me more relaxed and peaceful.  It always helps my day run smoother and brighter.  But more importantly, meditation has brought me a step beyond its physical and mental benefits.

It has offered me a portal to my spirit.  Every time I meditate, it fills my heart with compassion, love, and joy.  I experience a broader and deeper appreciation for life.

I am reminded that we, as human beings, are all connected and that life can be wonderful, if we let it.

I’m telling  you my own meditation story because I want you to know that you can experience the same thing too.  I feel deep in my heart that meditation can help every single human being on this planet.

So, please give meditation a try and be patient with yourself because in a short time you will get the hang of it.  And when you do, your life will be so much better.

p.s

Click here to download my free guided breath meditation podcast (6.7MB) (to save to your computer, right click->save link as)

Photo Credit: TBYH via Flickr

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