Meditation is a group of mental training techniques .You can use meditation to improve mental health and capacities, and also to help improve the 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.
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 upon the blood pressure.
5. Meditation has beneficial effects upon inner body processes, like circulation, respiration and digestion.
6. Regular meditation will have a psychotherapeutically effect.
7. Regular meditation will facilitate the immune system.
8. Meditation is usually pleasant.
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 the ability to concentrate.
A SIMPLE FORM OF MEDITATION
Here is a simple form of meditation. By this meditation technique, you should concentrate in an easy manner. This will allow foreign thoughts to pop up. These are handled one by one as they appear. You proceed as follows:
1. Sit in a good chair in a comfortable position.
2. Relax all your muscles as well as you can.
3. Stop thinking about anything, or at least try not to think about anything.
4. Breath out, relaxing all the muscles in your breathing apparatus.
5. Repeat the following in 10 – 20 minutes:
— Breath in so deep that you feel you get enough oxygen.
— Breath out, relaxing your chest and diaphragm completely.
— Every time you breathe out, think the word “one” or another simple word inside yourself. You should think the word in a prolonged manner, and so that you hear it inside you, but you should try to avoid using your mouth or voice.
6. If foreign thoughts come in, just stop these thoughts in a relaxed manner, and keep on concentrating upon the breathing and the word you repeat.
As you proceed through this meditation, you should feel steadily more relaxed in your mind and body, feel that you breathe steadily more effectively, and that the blood circulation throughout your body gets more efficient. You may also feel an increasing mental pleasure throughout the meditation.
THE EFFECTS OF MEDITATION UPON DISEASES
As any kind of training, meditation may be exaggerated so that you get tired and worn out. Therefore you should not meditate so long or so concentrated that you feel tired or mentally emptied.
Meditation may sometimes give problems for people suffering from mental diseases, epilepsy, serious heart problems or neurological diseases. On the other hand, meditation may be of help in the treatment of these and other conditions.
People suffering from such conditions should check out what effects the different kinds of meditation have on their own kind of health problems, before beginning to practise meditation, and be cautious if they choose to begin to meditate. It may be wise to learn meditation from an experienced teacher, psychologist or health worker that use meditation as a treatment module for the actual disease.
By: Knut Holt
Through meditation we can bring about greater peace of mind and powers of concentration. The length of time we meditate is not as important as the focus we give during our meditation. If we can meditate with a silent mind for 5 minutes we can bring to the fore our own divine qualities of inner peace and inner happiness. This is an inner joy independent of any outer success or outer prosperity.
When offering meditation classes for the Sri Chinmoy Centre. I offer these 7 tips which will help us to meditate more successfully.
1. Quite The Mind
The Goal of meditation is to go beyond the mind. Meditation cannot be done by thinking. All the different paths of meditation share this common feature of cultivating a silent mind. When our mind is silent we can start to enter a new consciousness, a consciousness not limited by the intellectual mind. With a quiet mind we will experience peace
So that I can inundate
My entire being
With the omnipotent
Power of peace.”
In whatever we do,we will be more successful if we can concentrate fully on the task in hand. This means being single pointed. When we meditate we need to switch off from everything else and put all our attention onto the meditation.
3. Place to Meditate
It is very helpful to find a Quiet Place to meditate every day. I have a small corner of my room specially set aside for meditation. You can use a picture of a saint or Teacher who inspires you. Or just use flowers and a candle. If you meditate in the same place every day it builds up a meditative atmosphere.
Aspiration to meditate. If we are hungry then we are eat. It is the same with meditation if we are not satisfied with what we have and would like to discover the inner peace within ourselves then we will be motivated to meditate every day. This aspiration or inner cry is perhaps more important than learning many techniques.
5. Perseverance and Patience
In the beginning we cannot expect results overnight, each time we meditate we are adding to our capacity’s even if we don’t have great experiences then we need to persevere. If we practise sincerely we will progress.
6. Use the Qualities of the Spiritual Heart
The heart is the location of the soul. If we focus on the heart, immediately our thoughts have less power. By concentrating on our heart we can enter into the vastness of meditation.
7. Cultivate Happiness
It is important to bear in mind the goal of meditation is to uplift our consciousness and have a more positive outlook about life and about ourselves. When we meditate well we will have a positive outlook on life.
Tejvan is a meditation student of Sri Chinmoy and gives meditation classes in his home town of Oxford. He has been practising meditation for 8 years. Tejvan meditates twice a day.
Often in modern life we seek to try and do several things at once. Even if we are just doing one thing we can find ourselves thinking about something else. However Concentration requires us to focus on one object at a time. For any activity, be it meditation, sport or any time of work, concentration will help us to be more successful. To master meditation it is essential we are able to be proficient in concentration.
To learn the art of concentration there are 7 things we need to bear in mind.
1. Concentration means we keep our awareness fixed on one object at a time. We must not allow our mind to be distracted by random thoughts.
“When we concentrate we do not allow any thought to enter into our minds, whether it is divine or undivine, earthly or heavenly, good or bad. The mind, the entire mind, has to be focused on a particular object or subject.”
– Sri Chinmoy
2. When trying to concentrate it is helpful to have an object to look at. This object should be suitable for concentration. A good object would be a flower or candle. A Candle is good for concentration because we can focus on the tip of the flame. The flame also symbolises light a quality of meditationg. We can begin our concentration exercise by looking at the candle and then gradually narrowing our gaze to just a tiny tip of the flame.
3. Using a mantra can help to focus our mind. Often our mind is restless like a monkey. By chanting a mantra we can give our mind something to concentrate on. It is an easier form of concentration than something abstract.
4. The concentration we want to develop for meditation is different to mental concentration. Rather than using the concentration of the mind we can concentrate from the spiritual heart. If we can feel our sense of awareness in our heart then we will not feel a mental tension. If we do feel tense whilst concentrating try to relax and use the power of the heart rather than the mind.
5. We should be patient in developing the power of concentration. If we can not concentrate as we would like we should not be discouraged. Concentration is like a muscle that gets stronger the more we develop it. What we can try and do is to concentrate for 2 mins one day and then try to increase that time in 1 minute intervals. This will give us a sense of progression. The most important thing is the quality of our exercises and not the length of time. When we practise concentration nothing else should interfere.
6. A good object of concentration is for us to concentrate on our own breathing. In meditation our breathing will be natural and spontaneous. If we can focus on our slow regular breathing, then we will help to quieten the mind.
7. If thoughts are distracting you from your concentration. Try this exercise. Feel your thoughts are separate from your own reality. Be like an observer and do not pay any attention to them. They will then lose their power. This enables you to concentrate on one thing and not get distracted by thoughts.
When we are able to concentrate. When we can keep our awareness focused on one object at a time we will be able to enter into real meditation. Meditation is not constrained by a small point of concentration. Meditation in fact embodies an unlimited expanse. As Sri Chinmoy says:
“When we concentrate, we have to concentrate on one particular thing… When we meditate, we have to try to expand our consciousness to encompass the vast sea or the vast, blue sky. We have to expand ourselves like a bird spreading its wings.”
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