In the past, meditation was almost synonymous to isolation,mountains and monks. Since the 1960s, meditation has been the focus of scientific research. In over 1,000 published research studies, various methods of meditation have been linked to changes in metabolism, blood pressure, brain activation, and other bodily processes.
Meditation has been used in clinical settings as a method of stress and pain reduction. People are turning to meditation for the various health benefits it brings. People are also becoming aware of the role of meditation for peace of mind. It has become a way of living for many, who have become accustomed to the bliss, energy, clarity and creativity which come from meditation.
There are dozens of ways to practice meditation. The word meditation may carry different meanings in different contexts. All meditation techniques are means to the same goal – to empty the mind from thoughts, discover the real “I” and live in pure awareness. Meditation has been practiced since antiquity as a component of numerous religious traditions. However, meditation does not belong to a particular religion and can be practiced by anyone.
Modern lifestyle has high exposure to anger, hatred, fear and other negative emotions. Meditation helps an individual overcome these emotions to facilitate a calm peaceful mind and a healthy and stress free body.
The basic steps of meditating are quite easy. With time and practice you will find it easier to settle into your meditation time, and random thoughts won’t be so prominent.
As your practice develops you will find you react to stressful situations more gracefully, have an easier time focussing on goals and tasks, and in general have a feeling of peace and contentment that may have been previously missing from your life.
The racing of thoughts in the mind slows down, not only during meditation, but also in daily life. Happiness increases along the way. Tolerance, love, understanding, inner power and fearlessness increase too. The ability to concentrate is sharpened and the mind becomes stronger and under control. The ability to enjoy the present moment increases, you stop criticising and blaming others.
For the longest time people have been looking for ways and means to achieve a peaceful mind. With meditation, you don’t have to look any further. Try it yourself. Set aside a few minutes each day to feel what is going on in and around you. See yourself for who you really are, and be prepared to find the peace of mind you have always been searching for.
Meditation for beginners
- Find a quite place and time when you won’t be distracted. Your bedroom is probably a good place to get started.
- Get comfortable. You can sit in a straight back chair, sit cross-legged (full-lotus position) or even lay down on your back, whatever feels right for you. Now spend a few minutes in this position. Focus on your breath (Zen meditation style), or clear your mind of thoughts (Mindfulness meditation style).
- You will probably find your thoughts going a mile a minute. This is normal for those who are learning how to meditate. Just allow those thoughts to rise up, honour them, release them, and refocus your intention back to a quieter mind. Meditate for as long as it feels comfortable. For some of you, it may be just minute or two, for others it may be 10- 20 minutes or even longer.