Meditation has great power to transform your life.
What is it?
Do you want to discover what is beyond the mind? The ancient practice of meditation takes you there. For the most part it allows you to experience your true nature. Consider this question: Who is having the thoughts? Put another way, who is aware of the thoughts?
You learn to stop paying attention to the mind. All that busy mental chatter. The non stop commentary! Our minds are full of stories and judgements. Instead, you direct your attention inward. Here you can find a still place. A blissful place.
Noteworthy is that the mind takes us into the past and future. In contrast, meditation brings us back to the present moment. We learn to keep awareness on the present moment. Consequently this stops the chatter and judgements. As a result, we experience deep peace.
Taming the busy mind requires patience. Similarly, calming the mind takes time and practice. Lots of practice! Hence daily meditation. Usually teachers recommend 20 minutes or more. One session is very beneficial. However many people do two sessions a day.
Most of us still have thoughts during meditation. The important point is where you put your attention. Therefore when you notice thoughts, you gently bring your attention back. For instance, back to the breath or sound.
For most of us, thoughts are addictive. At first it seems too hard to ‘stop thinking.’
Particularly when you begin, the mind is like an excitable puppy. It jumps all over the place. The mind demands your attention. However with time it responds to your training. Be persistent. Your efforts pay off.
Types of Meditation
There are many ways to practice meditation.
A specific focus is used to direct your attention. For example a popular technique is focusing on the breath. Similarly you might focus on a specific sound or ‘mantra.’ “Om” is one sound many people will recognise.
Transcendental Meditation became popular in the West in the early 1970’s. Teachers select a unique sound for each student. They then silently repeat this sound. Generally for twenty minutes twice a day.
Another option is putting attention on an object. For example looking at a candle flame. Or a mandala. All of these approaches have one purpose. To stop paying attention to the mind.
Mindfulness meditation has now been embraced in the West. It offers a variety of simple techniques. They all help you to keep awareness on the present moment. Accordingly you can apply mindfulness to any activity. For instance while driving or having conversations. The practice is being fully present to each moment. Namely to what you are experiencing right now. Consequently there is no room for mental chatter!
Another practice is walking meditation. Some people prefer contemplation practices. Also you can learn specific practices like self enquiry meditation. Vipassana retreats offer several days of focused training.
Finally guided meditations offer different styles and content.
Meditation supplies a host of benefits. For this reason it is a powerful activity to include in your day.
Benefits range across body, mental health and soul.
Physically, regular practice improves immune function. Blood pressure is reduced. In particular, mental health is enhanced. Also emotional well being. Studies show improvement in anxiety, depression , and mood. Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome responds well. Additionally, it is an ideal way to reduce stress .
Long term meditators tend to build more resilience. Also they can enjoy deeper connections.
There are too many benefits to list here. Research will reveal a long list!
You can read here about a simple technique to begin meditating.