How To Meditate
Meditation is a group of mental training techniques .You can use meditation to improve mental health and capacities, and also to help improve physical health. Some of these techniques are very simple, so you can learn them from a book or an article; others require guidance by a qualified meditation teacher.
What is Meditation?
Most techniques called meditation include these components:
1. You sit or lie in a relaxed position.
2. You breathe regularly. You breathe in deep enough to get enough oxygen. When you breathe out, you relax your muscles so that your lungs are well emptied, but without straining.
3. You stop thinking about everyday problems and matters.
4. You concentrate your thoughts upon some sound, some word you repeat, some image, some abstract concept or some feeling. Your whole attention should be pointed at the object you have chosen to concentrate upon.
5. If some foreign thoughts creep in, you just stop this foreign thought, and go back to the object of meditation.
The different meditation techniques differ according to the degree of concentration, and how foreign thoughts are handled. By some techniques, the objective is to concentrate so intensely that no foreign thoughts occur at all.
Studies have demonstrated that those who meditate on a regular basis have reduced illness, stress, and need for rest.
In other techniques, the concentration is more relaxed so that foreign thoughts easily pop up. When these foreign thoughts are discovered, one stops these and goes back to the pure meditation in a relaxed manner. Thoughts coming up, will often be about things you have forgotten or suppressed, and allow you to rediscover hidden memory material. This rediscovery will have a psychotherapeutic effect.
The Effects of Meditation
Meditation has the following effects:
1. Meditation will give you rest and recreation.
2. You learn to relax.
3. You learn to concentrate better on problem solving.
4. Meditation often has a good effect on blood pressure.
5. Meditation has beneficial effects on inner body processes, like circulation, respiration and digestion.
6. Regular meditation will have a psychotherapeutic effect.
7. Regular meditation will facilitate the immune system.
The difference between Hypnosis and Meditation
Hypnosis may have some of the same relaxing and psychotherapeutic effects as meditation. However, when you meditate you are in control yourself; by hypnosis you let some other person or some mechanical device control you. Also hypnosis will not have a training effect upon your ability to concentrate.
How to Meditate
Here’s a simple technique that will give you results in minutes. Sit comfortably, close your eyes, and tense up your whole body. Sigh deeply, then breath deeply through your nose and release the tension from every muscle. Just feel each part relaxing, watching for parts that may hold onto tension, like a tight jaw.
If you still have tension somewhere, tense up that part again, then let it relax. It may also help to repeat silently “relax” as the tension drains. This will train your body and mind to recognize relaxation. Later you may be able to relax more easily just by repeating “relax” a few times.
Breath through your nose. This is important because it brings in more oxygen by involving your diaphragm more. You can test this. Breath with your mouth and you’ll notice that your breathing is shallower. Then breath through your nose and you’ll notice that your abdomen extends more. Air is being drawn deeper into your lungs.
Allow your breathing to fall into a comfortable pattern, and pay attention to it. Pay attention to your breath as it passes in and out of your nose. Your mind may wander endlessly, but all you have to do is continually bring attention back to your breath.
If your mind is still too busy, try naming the distractions as a way of setting them aside. For example, say in your mind, “itchy leg,” “worried about work,” or “anger,” and then immediately return attention to your breathing. Use any way you can to identify and set aside distractions.
That’s it. Continue for five or ten minutes, or for 100 breaths. Afterwards, open your eyes and sit there for a few seconds. You’ll feel relaxed, and your mind will feel refreshed. And you’ll be better prepared for any mental challenges. That’s how to meditate.
Why You Should Meditate
The side effects of meditation are positive and countless. Studies have demonstrated that those who meditate on a regular basis have reduced illness, stress, and need for rest.
But one of the most compelling reasons to meditate is that the process of meditation itself is sublime. Meditation is not dependent upon the result, but the act of meditation itself is a blissful one, transporting one to a state of contentment and tranquil awareness during the training of meditation itself, not just at the end of training. Actually, because the means equals the end, the training has no beginning and never ends.
All of us in modern times experience a constant onslaught of stress. We are bombarded by uninvited energies in the form of such things as television, noise pollution, arguments, and angry or envious people. In order to counteract this enormously overwhelming force of negativity and distress, we need a superior power, gathered within ourselves; and meditation connects us to this internal reservoir of cleansing, enlightening energy.
In former times, nature surrounded people in their daily routines and rituals of existence. There were no artificial sound vibrations from telephones or machinery; there were no stresses and diseases resulting from urban industrial complexities. There was the sound of water, the hum of the wind, the beauty of the stars in the sky, and the scent of the earth. There were natural tempos in every aspect of life, as people planted seeds, nurtured them into foodstuffs, and as they observed the cycles of nature they felt a connection to them. Nowadays we can live our entire lifespan without ever contacting nature in a direct way. We live in artificially controlled climates, we gather food from fast food restaurants or from stores where it is packaged in a factory; we invite a total divorce of ourselves from our natural origins and our organic, original pace of life.
Meditation allows us an easy, convenient, portable method to enter into those lost natural rhythms and aesthetics, by closing out the world around us, letting go of our bodies, and clearing the mind of all the artificial stress it gathers knowingly or unknowingly during the course of lives.
Meditation costs nothing, it has no harmful side affects, and it won’t add calories or cholesterol to your body. Nor is it addictive in the sense of drugs and alcohol. But it does provide practitioners with an elevated sense of well-being, often compared to a natural “high” more powerful than those induced by drugs, and this component of meditation is one that can be fully embraced for positive, healthy benefits.
The human body is a complex creation, and in the brain the body naturally produces drugs that are hundreds of times more powerful than pharmaceutical narcotics. As one meditates, the body secretes mysterious hormones and chemicals that actually provide an incredible rush of energy and happiness, and this is only one of the amazing side effects of meditation practice.
Meditation is different things to different people. Some use it in place of, or in addition to, psychotherapy. Others find it most valuable as a tool to enhance sports or work performance, and to increase the memory and other mental functions. Some people rely upon it to help them deal with grief or the aftermath of trauma or tragedy, and to regain a contentment and appreciation for life’s beauties. And there are those who use meditation as a creative tool to inspire them in the arts. Meditation gives us stronger and more sustainable vigor, sexual energy, and calm, as it provides a restfulness that is comparable to deep, exceptionally restful sleep.
There are countless reasons to meditate, and one way to make the world a better and more peaceful and harmonious place, is for all of us to dedicate some time out of our stressful lives to pause and drink from the mental oasis of meditation practice.