The moment we utter the word “meditation,” there are all kinds of misconceptions about it. If you close your eyes and sit, in English we call it “meditation.” You can sit with your eyes closed and do many things. There are many dimensions. You can do japa, tapa, dharana, dhyana, samadhi, shoonya. Or you might have just mastered the art of sleeping in vertical postures!
So what is this thing that we call as meditation? Generally we assume that people are referring to what is known as dhyan or dhyana. In that context of referring to dhyan as meditation, it is not something that you can do. Nobody can do meditation. You cannot do meditation but you can become meditative. Meditation is a certain quality. It is not a certain act. If you cultivate your body, your mind, your energies and your emotions to a certain level of maturity, meditation will naturally happen. It is just like if you keep the soil fertile, if you give it the necessary manure and water and if the right kind of seed is there, it will grow and bloom into flowers and fruits.
Power of meditation
Buddha was asked, what have you gained from meditation?
He replied, nothing.
However, Budhha said let me tell you what I lost : anger anxiety depression
Thus, meditation, which is a significant practice in Buddhism from the Buddha’s time, is noticed and applied to modern medicine and psychotherapy, became an important adjuvant therapy. Meditation, such asTranscendental Meditation, Tranquil meditation, Insight meditation, etc., attract more and more people gradually. So, in my opinion, it is meaningful to figure out how these Buddhist practice come up, how they differ from each other and if they can continue to develop to benefit our life together.
Meditation not only relaxes the body and stills the mind and brings one into the present moment; it has powerful transformational effects on the mind and the body. Within the mind, meditation expands and deepens awareness.
Meditation: Techniques, Benefits, and a Beginner’s How-to do
Meditation is an approach to training the mind, similar to the way that fitness is an approach to training the body. But many meditation techniques exist – so how do you learn how to meditate?
“In Buddhist tradition, the word ‘meditation’ is equivalent to a word like ‘sports’ in the U.S. And different meditation practices require different mental skills.
It’s extremely difficult for a beginner to sit for hours and think of nothing or have an “empty mind.” We have some tools such as a beginner mediation DVD or a brain sensing headband to help you through this process when you are starting out. In general, the easiest way to begin meditating is by focusing on the breath – an example of one of the most common approaches to meditation: concentration.
Concentration meditation involves focusing on a single point. This could entail following the breath, repeating a single word or mantra, staring at a candle flame, listening to a repetitive gong, or counting beads on a mala. Since focusing the mind is challenging, a beginner might meditate for only a few minutes and then work up to longer durations.In this form of meditation, you simply refocus your awareness on the chosen object of attention each time you notice your mind wandering. Rather than pursuing random thoughts, you simply let them go. Through this process, your ability to concentrate improves.
Mindfulness meditation encourages the practitioner to observe wandering thoughts as they drift through the mind. The intention is not to get involved with the thoughts or to judge them, but simply to be aware of each mental note as it arises.
Through mindfulness meditation, you can see how your thoughts and feelings tend to move in particular patterns. Over time, you can become more aware of the human tendency to quickly judge an experience as good or bad, pleasant or unpleasant. With practice, an inner balance develops.
In some schools of meditation, students practice a combination of concentration and mindfulness. Many disciplines call for stillness – to a greater or lesser degree, depending on the teacher.
Other meditation techniques
There are various other meditation techniques. For example, a daily meditation practice among Buddhist monks focuses directly on the cultivation of compassion. This involves envisioning negative events and recasting them in a positive light by transforming them through compassion.
Benefits of meditation
The various studies on the relaxation response have documented the following short-term benefits to the nervous system: lower blood pressure , Improved blood circulation, lower heart rate, less perspiration , Slower respiratory rate, less anxiety ,Lower blood cortisol levels , More feelings of well-being, Less stress, Deeper relaxation.
It ignites the power of intention, opens to a depth of consciousness, renews energy and, allows one to be kinder to self and to trust in something bigger. Meditation connects one to their true nature while tapping into the wonderful qualities of self and increases self development toward a deeper fulfillment. Through meditation practice, judgments and limiting conditioned beliefs about self that block happiness and joy are released and replaced by feelings of truth, positivity and inspiration. Contemporary researchers are now exploring whether a consistent meditation practice yields long-term benefits, and noting positive effects on brain and immune function among meditators.
In Buddhist philosophy, the ultimate benefit of meditation is liberation of the mind from attachment to things it cannot control, such as external circumstances or strong internal emotions. The liberated or “enlightened” practitioner no longer needlessly follows desires or clings to experiences, but instead maintains a calm mind and sense of inner harmony.
How to meditate
This meditation exercise is an excellent introduction to meditation techniques.
*Sit or lie comfortably. You may even want to invest in a meditation chair or cushion.
*Close your eyes. We recommend using one of our Cooling Eye Masks or Restorative Eye Pillows if lying down.
*Make no effort to control the breath; simply breathe naturally.
*Focus your attention on the breath and on how the body moves with each inhalation and exhalation. Notice the movement of your body as you breathe. Observe your chest, shoulders, rib cage, and belly. Simply focus your attention on your breath without controlling its pace or intensity. If your mind wanders, return your focus back to your breath.
Maintain this meditation practice for two to three minutes to start and then try it for longer periods.