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Meditation

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Meditation
The following material is by “The Monk Dude” and I found it enlightening
(the questions and answers on Meditation & Spirituality are from the book Close Your Eyes & Open Your Mind – an Practical Guide to Spiritual Meditation.)

WHY DO YOU THINK MEDITATION HAS BECOME SO POPULAR IN RECENT TIMES?

a. It is practical. It is something we can do by ourselves, and we can experience the benefits first hand.

b. It promotes good health. A growing number of doctors and scientists recognize the beneficial physiological effects of meditation, especially in the areas of stress relief and relaxation. This has been so widely researched and documented that there is now little doubt that meditation has significant health benefits.

c. Meditation has received widespread coverage in the media. Sports people and health care professionals openly advocate meditation, and magazine editors and advertisers now portray meditation as a normal part of everyday life.

d. Meditation has been accepted as a part of popular culture. Meditation was first introduced to the Western world in ancient Greek times, nearly 3,000 years ago, but this knowledge was to a large extent lost over time. It was re-introduced to the Western world at the beginning of the 20th century, and European intellectuals were exploring oriental mystical philosophy, which has its roots in meditation, long before that. But it took the revolution in thinking of the 60’s generation, and events like the Beatles taking up meditation, to create widespread public awareness of the practice. Now that same generation have entered middle age, and some of the values that they embraced during their youth have gained broad-based acceptance.

e. Nowadays we have access to vast reservoirs of knowledge from many cultures. We can choose from the best that a wide variety of traditions have to offer. People have sometimes asked me why I chose a spiritual practice originating in a culture other than my own. Just because something originates in another country does not mean it is unsuitable for us. Computer science was first developed in America, but no one suggests that computers are not useful elsewhere. Meditation originated in India and has been practiced for thousands of years in Asia, but people from all backgrounds can experience its benefits.

f. Meditation is a way for people to explore their own spirituality. At a time when many people are disillusioned with institutionalized religion, meditation offers us a method to enter our own inner world, and experience spirituality directly.

SO WHAT EXACTLY IS MEDITATION?

Meditation has been described as a kind of concentrated thinking, but this does not mean just any kind of concentrated thinking. Concentrating on a pet rock or an ice cream is not meditation. Meditation is the process of concentrating the mind on the source of consciousness within us. Gradually this leads us to discover that our own consciousness is infinite. This is why the goal of meditation is sometimes described as ‘Self Realization.’

WHAT IS SELF REALIZATION?

The goal of meditation is to realize who we really are at the core of our being. The philosophy of yoga says there are two different levels to our inner self: our mental or emotional self and our spiritual self.

The mental self is sometimes called the individual mind. It is limited because it is strongly associated with our limited physical body and is the cause of the feeling “I am this individual person” – our ego.

But our real sense of self-awareness comes from our connection to a wider, subtler form of consciousness. Yogic philosophy says there is a reflection of an infinite, all knowing form of consciousness within our minds. This Infinite Consciousness is unchanging and eternal, and is at the core of our true spiritual ‘Self’.

When we identify with the small ego-centered self this is called relative reality, because that small self is prone to change and death. But when we realize that there is a subtler, permanent reality behind the relative one and we see that our true nature is pure unlimited Consciousness, this is known as Self Realization.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MEDITATION AND YOGA?

To many the word yoga means a series of physical exercises #stretching and tying our bodies into impossible knots. But these physical postures are only one aspect of yoga, known as ‘asanas’. The physical postures of yoga are practiced for their health benefits, and because they help to prepare the body for meditation. Yoga is both a philosophy of life and a system of spiritual practice. The word ‘yoga’ actually means union between the individual self and Infinite Consciousness. Meditation is the most important practice in the yoga system and is the means by which this merger or union is achieved. So yoga is a system or science that enables an individual to develop themselves physically, mentally and spiritually, and meditation is the practice that makes the mental and spiritual development possible.

 WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PRAYER AND MEDITATION?

Evidence of the existence of religion dates back more than 40,000 years. Early religions were animistic, believing that the forces of nature were beings or Gods, and later pantheistic, worshiping many deities, and assigning divinity to the invisible but powerful forces of nature that held sway over people’s lives. These gods were feared and were appeased through prayer or sacrifice. As society evolved, people gradually realized that there must be a single guiding power behind all these forces of nature, and theistic religions emerged – the belief in only one God. But the relationship was still based on fear, flattery, appeasement and attempts to persuade God to grant favors to individuals. Some religious prayer still reflects this today.

Philosophically, praying to God requesting something or asking God to do something, even for someone else, is illogical. According to all the theistic scriptures of the world, God is an all-knowing (omniscient) and infinitely benevolent being (‘God is love’), who already knows if somebody’s mother is sick, or someone is unhappy, and surely cares enough to do whatever is necessary to help them. Any concerns, or ideas we have originate with God anyway, so telling God how to run the universe seems inappropriate, to say the least.

In yoga philosophy it is said that since Infinite Consciousness has given us everything, we should not ask that Entity for anything. But if we have to ask for something, we should ask only for more love for God, which is known as devotion.

Prayer can take various forms. What I’ve described above is known as intercessory prayer – asking for God’s intervention in our affairs. More developed forms of prayer include prayers of gratitude, worshipful prayer, contemplative prayer and meditative prayer. These can help to bring the worshiper closer to God through cultivating devotion, the feeling of attraction towards the Infinite Consciousness. But as long as it is based on a dualistic conception of God, meaning that human beings and God are kept inherently separate, prayer cannot be considered meditation. Spiritual meditation places no limit on our realization. It is a non-dualistic practice, and its goal is to merge our inner ‘I’ feeling with the Infinite Consciousness.
I think it very likely that all of the great spiritual teachers practiced some kind of spiritual meditation and initiated their closest disciples into this practice. This was their treasured ‘inner teaching’. Often however, with the passing of time, this esoteric part of their teachings was lost or watered down, their later followers were left with only their outer teachings about morality and philosophy. But the key to realizing what these enlightened individuals realized has always been, and will always remain, spiritual meditation.

IS MEDITATION A SCIENCE?

Science (from Latin scientia – knowledge) is most commonly defined as the investigation or study of nature through observation and reasoning, aimed at finding out the truth. The term science also refers to the organized body of knowledge humans have gained by such research.

Since the yogic approach to spirituality uses both observation and reasoning to get at the inner truth, it must therefore be a science.
Meditation has been described as ‘Institutional Science.’ Extensive laboratory tests have demonstrated the physiological effects of meditation, but this only shows us its external effects. Even a recording of a person¹s brainwave patterns is just a measurement of physical electrical waves. It does not tell us exactly what they are thinking or feeling. The only real laboratory for testing meditation is the mind itself, and the results need to be experienced personally. Another name for this science is “Tantra” – the science of spiritual meditation, which enables the practitioner to merge his or her unit mind into Infinite Consciousness.

WHAT IS SPIRITUALITY?

Spirituality is that which concerns Infinite Consciousness.
First let me make it clear that ‘spirituality’ should not be confused with ‘spiritualism’, which is concerned with mediums, communicating with the dead etc. Spirituality concerns Infinite consciousness – the same ultimate Truth that was realized by the great spiritual teachers throughout history such as Buddha, Jesus, and Krishna. According to spirituality, the goal of life is to merge the individual mind into Infinite Consciousness, and the way to attain this is by practicing spiritual meditation.

 IS SPIRITUALITY SCIENTIFIC?

The central idea of spirituality – that Infinite Consciousness is the ultimate reality – is common to most oriental and some occidental forms of mysticism. It is not so remarkable that this idea is widely accepted by mystics and philosophers, but in the last century many scientists have pointed out parallels between quantum theory and the mystical view of reality described in the ancient texts of Taoism, Buddhism and yoga.
Not only Albert Einstein but virtually all his contemporaries including Werner Heisenberg, Niels Bohr, Erwin Schrodinger and Max Planck, in fact most of the pioneers of modern physics testified to a belief in mysticism. When Heisenberg (discoverer of the “Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle”) went to India and met with Rabindranath Tagore, the Nobel prize winning poet and a great yogi, he was enormously relieved to find someone who didn’t think his ideas were crazy. The ancient yoga philosophy seemed to be saying much the same thing about reality as the emerging Quantum Theory. This has been the subject of much discussion and many publications, particularly since the 1960s.

WHAT IS MYSTICISM?

The unending endeavor to bridge the gap between the finite and the infinite is mysticism. – Shrii Shrii Anandamurti
The most beautiful and most profound emotion we can experience is the sensation of the mystical. It is at the root of all true science. Someone to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead. That deeply emotional conviction of the presence of a superior reasoning power, which is revealed in the incomprehensible universe, is my idea of God. – Albert Einstein

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SPIRITUALITY AND RELIGION?

The founders of all the great religions taught spirituality, yet religion and spirituality are not the same. When my own spiritual master was asked if he was trying to start a new religion he replied:
“I am not interested in religion. I am interested in human beings and the goal of human beings, and how to bridge the gap between the two.”
Many religions may make the same claim, but the reality is that all too often the spirituality taught by the founder of those religions has been lost, or obscured by dogma and ritual. There are profound differences between the teachings of Christ and the practices of mainstream Christianity, between what Krishna taught and Hinduism, between the teachings of the Buddha and Buddhism. Over time, divisions have developed within religions, which have sometimes led to persecution and even war. When you look at the darkest periods of religious history, it is hard to believe that people could depart so far from the exalted teachings of their great preceptors. The original message was spiritual, but to varying degrees that spirit has been diluted or lost through mistranslation and misinterpretation, through the loss of spiritual meditation practices, through the attempts of less evolved individuals to cloak spiritual concepts in dogma, and through religions becoming religious and political institutions.

Within all the major religions there are mystical traditions that include many of the features of spirituality, but these are the exception rather than the rule. They do not represent mainstream religion, and in many cases have even been branded as heresy, and the propagation of such teachings has all too often been rewarded with persecution.

What we are left with in our various religions is a somewhat confusing blend of truth and dogma. If we wish to sift out the spiritual elements it is important to understand the real differences between spirituality and religious dogma. With the passing of time, these differences within mainstream religion have become increasingly distinct:

a. Spirituality is theistic, and has a highly developed and rational concept of God or Infinite Consciousness. Religious dogma can be theistic, as in Judaism, Christianity and Islam, or atheistic, such as Buddhism, Shintoism, and perhaps even communism. Dogmatic Religions generally have either a poorly developed and irrational concept of God, or no concept of God at all.

b. Spirituality is non-dualistic, and states that the purpose of human life is to merge one’s self (or sense of ‘I’) into Infinite Consciousness. Theistic religions tend to be dualistic, propounding a fundamental separation between God and the world and the belief that the purpose of human life is to enter into a relationship with God and go to heaven after one dies.

c. Spirituality is practical, and can be experienced and realized by practicing spiritual meditation. The focus is inward, taking the practitioner towards a personal realization. Religions on the other hand, emphasis faith and belief, and though they teach people different types of prayer, most of the actual practice is externally focused, involving rituals, festivals and ceremonies.

d. Spirituality is a lifestyle choice, and is integrated into every aspect of a person’s existence. Much Religion is ritualistic, and is generally a compartmentalized part of a person’s life, practiced primarily in temples and churches.

Religion can only serve it’s proper purpose of liberating the faithful from ignorance and spiritual darkness, to the degree that it remains true to its original spirituality.

WHAT IS SPIRITUAL MEDITATION?

In Spiritual meditation our mind is directed towards a spiritual idea. The simplest way to conceive of this is to think of infinite love, peace and happiness, or an entity embodying that. We may call it God, but the name is not important. What is important is to remember that this infinite love is within us and surrounding us.

If we pause to consider, it becomes apparent that every experience we have ever had took place within our minds. If we want lasting happiness or love, what better place to look than at the source of these feelings?
Spiritual meditation is concentration on a spiritual idea, an idea associated with Infinite Consciousness,# an idea that is greater than our selves. As we contemplate this vast and beautiful idea, our mind is transformed into pure consciousness that has no boundary.

So spiritual meditation is the effort to merge our sense of ‘I’ into Infinite Consciousness.

DO YOU HAVE TO BE A MONK TO BE SUCCESSFUL IN MEDITATION?

Clearly not. Buddha was a monk, but Shiva – regarded by many as the father of yoga, had three wives. (This was not unusual 7000 years ago) Swami Vivekananda was a monk, but my own Guru, Shrii Shrii Anandamurti, was married. And many great spiritualists were women, such as St Theresa of Avila (a nun) and Anandamayi Ma (who was married).
I chose to be a monk for both personal and practical reasons, but I certainly do not see it as any kind of per-requisite for spiritual practice or success on the spiritual path.

ISN’T IT SELF-CENTRED TO SIT AROUND MEDITATING ALL THE TIME WHEN THERE IS SO MUCH SUFFERING IN THE WORLD?

It could be. It rather depends what you would be doing if you weren’t meditating. If the answer is “watching television”, by all means, meditate. But if it means you are neglecting your family, or using it as an excuse to avoid doing something for others, that is another matter.

IS MEDITATION A FORM OF BRAINWASHING?

While it is no doubt true that the minds of some people could do with a good wash, I have to say that meditation is not a form of brainwashing. Usually when people express concern about brainwashing, they are afraid of losing control of their minds and being manipulated.

Meditation actually helps to protect us against having our minds manipulated by strengthening our willpower and making us more self-aware.

If you’re seriously concerned about other people manipulating your mind for their own purposes, I suggest that the first thing you do is switch off your television, a device which is used to great effect by advertising companies, amongst others, to influence people¹s behavior.

WHERE DID THE SCIENCE OF MEDITATION FIRST DEVELOP?

Tantric meditation was first developed by the tribes of South India 10-15,000 years ago, as an expression of their natural desire to understand their own consciousness. About 7000 years ago it was further developed by Shiva, the great yogi of ancient India. This practice has since spread and been absorbed into different mystical traditions, including yoga, Taoism, Sufism, Zen Buddhism and Tibetan Buddhism. Similar practices have also emerged in indigenous cultures.

WHEN DID MEDITATION COME TO THE WEST?

Meditation practices were introduced into Europe at the time of the ancient Greeks, some of whom traveled to the East and learned from Indian yogis and philosophers. Alexander the Great, a student of Aristotle, brought a yogi back with him from India to be his spiritual adviser. The great Greek mystic and social reformer, Apollonius, found wisdom in the East and was greatly revered for his spiritual power. He was an advocate of universal religion and propagated the idea of internal rather than external worship. Refusing to champion one popular cult against another, he declared that he ‘was concerned with the spirit rather than the form of religion.’

The early Judaic and ancient Egyptian religions were heavily influenced by oriental mysticism, and many people believe that Jesus may have practiced and taught a form of yogic meditation that he learned in India during the 18 years of his life that are unaccounted for in the Bible.
After the collapse of the western half of the Roman Empire in the fourth century, when most of the libraries of Europe were burned, yogic meditation practices died out in the West. Later both indigenous and Christian mysticism were actively suppressed, particularly during the dark period of the Inquisition. Europe became something of a spiritual desert, focusing its attention on intellectual and technological development, militarism, trade, exploration and conquest. Religious institutions started to take a greater interest in politics than in spirituality.

But in the 1890s a spiritual renaissance began in Western civilization with the reintroduction of oriental practices by Swami Vivekananda, the dearest disciple of the great Indian saint, Sri Ramakrsna. Vivekananda was the first modern yogic master to come to the West at the beginning of the twentieth Century. This period saw the emergence of the Theosophists and Rudolf Steiner’s school of Anthroposophy as well as a growing interest in Eastern mysticism amongst European intellectuals like Carl Jung, Aldous Huxley, and Herman Hesse. After Swami Vivekananda others followed, and in the 1960’s, interest in eastern spirituality exploded in Europe and America, quickly spreading across the globe, even as far as New Zealand. The most refined expression of this merging of cultures may be found in the writings of the great Indian mystic and philosopher Shrii Shrii Anandamurti, who was the first spiritual preceptor to create a harmonious blending of occidental rationality and oriental mysticism. He was the founder of the modern spiritual movement, Ananda Marga, meaning# The Path of Bliss.
Although spiritual meditation originated in southern India in ancient times, its influence can be found in many spiritual traditions. Today it continues to address a universal human need.

WHAT KIND OF MEDITATION DO YOU TEACH?

The nature of the object or idea you choose to concentrate on in meditation will dictate the outcome. Meditation can be done for spiritual growth, or for relaxation and stress reduction, or even for some other reason, such as success in a sport or a career. The distinguishing feature of all spiritual meditation techniques, as taught in the great spiritual traditions, is that the technique has at its heart the idea of Infinite Consciousness – it is the contemplation of the infinite.

In Tantric meditation the practitioner learns a personal technique through a process of initiation and is taught a mantra which is repeated mentally. He or she is taught how to withdraw the mind from the external world and how to concentrate internally. The primary goal of Tantric meditation is to merge the individual consciousness into Infinite Consciousness. This is the type of meditation taught in the modern Tantric school of Ananda Marga.

AREN’T YOU BIASED? YOU ONLY PRACTICE ONE TYPE OF MEDITATION – HOW CAN YOU BE OBJECTIVE ABOUT OTHER METHODS?

I may be biased – none but an enlightened soul is perfectly objective. I think the technique I am practicing is the best, at least for me – otherwise I’d be doing something else. At the same time, it seems obvious that there are many paths to enlightenment – otherwise how could people from different traditions have attained Self Realization? I try to keep an open mind, and from my study of a wide variety of teachings I have understood that there are common psychological and spiritual principles that can be used in spiritual practice. The extent to which these principles are understood and applied will determine the effectiveness of a technique in taking us forward on the path of spiritual progress.

For example, it is a widely accepted tenet of psychology that “as you think, so you become.” If this principle is applied in spiritual meditation, it means we should concentrate on the idea of infinite consciousness. But if we have been taught since childhood to feel guilty, or afraid of God, this will make it more difficult to practice. If, on the other hand, we are taught that we are children of the Divine, and that our true nature is perfect and loving, then the feeling of bliss in meditation comes far more naturally.

It is not necessary to learn all techniques in order to grasp how they work. In any event it would not be possible in one lifetime – it is hard enough to master even one.

HOW DO YOU KNOW IF THIS IS THE RIGHT MEDITATION TECHNIQUE FOR ME?

This is something you have to decide for yourself. If you come across a practice that makes sense to you, and feels right, I suggest you try it. If you then experience that it is bringing the kind of changes you feel you need, keep doing it. If you experience difficulties, be patient. Don’t be too hasty to switch to another technique. You may face the same problem again, and be forced to realize that the problem was with you, not with the technique. If, after giving it your best shot, it still doesn’t seem to be working, try something else. But don’t keep shopping around forever – you should try to find a technique you’re happy with and stick with it. Remember those holes we were digging for water? If you keep starting new holes you’re going to get pretty thirsty.

Do you need to have a guru to learn Meditation?

The word ‘Guru’ means ‘dispeller of darkness’, and really refers to the Infinite Consciousness acting as teacher and guide to individual souls. So since Infinite Consciousness is omnipresent, the real Guru is within us already.

When an individual has attained Self Realization, they are often referred to as a Guru, because the Infinite Consciousness within them is able to act and speak without the distortions of ego. So they are able to play the role of a perfect teacher and guide to others.

In the Bhagavad Giita, Arjuna asked his Guru, Krsna, whether it was possible to attain enlightenment through the guidance of the Divine, inner Guru, without the assistance of a Guru in physical form. Krsna told him that it is not essential to have a physical Guru, but if you do not, it will probably take you about 10,000 times as long to attain enlightenment.

Thirty five years ago, I wanted to learn meditation but I didn’t know how to begin. I read some books on the subject, and with what wisdom I could glean from their pages I began to practice. Which means I wasn’t teaching myself – I was learning from those authors. Indirectly, they were my first teachers, even though they were no longer alive. Soon I realized that I needed clearer guidance and I began searching for a living teacher.

The fact that you’re reading this indicates that you want information about meditation. All of the knowledge in this work comes, directly or indirectly, from a Guru. Practically all of the spiritual books of the world derive their ideas from great spiritual teachers – Gurus. If they don’t, they should. Gurus are the pioneers on the spiritual path who go before us and light the way, guiding those who follow.

Some people are afraid that having a Guru means you have to follow someone blindly. This is a misconception. My Guru, Shrii Shrii Anandamurtii, often quoted an old scripture that says that if a child says something rational we should accept it, and if God Himself says something irrational we should discard it like a straw. Genuine spirituality does not deny rationality.

And what is the rational course when seeking self-knowledge? When we are entering the mysterious realm of consciousness, the most rational course is to take the advice of a guide who knows the territory well.
And this territory can, at times, but quite deceptive, and difficult to traverse. If you read about the lives of great saints and yogis like St Francis of Assisi, or Milarepa of Tibet, you will see that they all had to face many trials and tests, and transcend the temptations of pleasure and power in order to attain true greatness. At these higher stages on the spiritual path, the guidance of the Guru is more important than ever.

If you do not have the chance to meet personally with a real Guru (and they are few and far between) do not despair. It is possible to learn from a Guru through their writings, through learning of their inspiring example, and directly from people they have appointed to pass on their teachings and techniques. And through meditation it is possible to establish a personal relationship with your own inner Guru.

What does meditation cost?

Traditionally spiritual meditation has been taught free of charge and it is available to all, regardless of a person’s economic status. Meditation is a subtle spiritual practice and no monetary value should be attached to it. To attach monetary value to meditation taints and degrades it.
Nevertheless, there is a price. To get results from meditation you have to put something into it – your own valuable time and effort.

How much time does it take?

I recommend that beginners spend at least 15 minutes twice a day in meditation. Later this can be increased to two half hour sessions. This will give a good result, though some people choose to meditate for longer periods and experience even greater benefit as a result. How much you get out of your meditation is directly related to what you put into it.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF MEDITATION?

Extensive studies have been made of the physiological and psychological benefits of meditation, but I prefer to simply relate the benefits I’ve experienced personally from this practice:
a. I feel more mental peace.

b. I am much more emotionally balanced. I am a musician and I can tell you that this is a very real benefit for someone with a somewhat “artistic” temperament.

c. I am more creative. I have always practiced a variety of creative arts, and when I started meditation I felt that I’d tapped into a rich new spring of inspiration, ideas and insights. Many writers, musicians and thinkers report that their inspiration usually comes when the mind is quiet. It seems quite natural that the calming effect of meditation should give us easier access to the deeper, creative level of our minds.

d. I discovered a profound Sense of Purpose in life. I have a growing sense that all life is moving in a positive direction – towards greater awareness, towards a greater feeling of oneness and harmony. I feel that I am also a part of that same flow of conscious evolution.

e. Improved self-awareness. Introspective practice makes us more aware of our own motivations and qualities. This is not always a comfortable thing, but if we don’t see ourselves as we really are, how can we improve? More often it is inspiring to discover the amazing potential within ourselves.

f. I have a developing sense of universal love. As I am more in touch with the source of my own consciousness, I am more aware of the consciousness in everything. I feel more love within my self, and greater love and compassion for others. This naturally helps me relate to others more easily.

g. I enjoy good health – I lead a very busy life – I travel frequently and there are constant demands on my time. Yet I do not suffer from the stress related illnesses that afflict many busy people. Meditation and the natural lifestyle associated with it are definitely a recipe for a long and healthy life.

h. Improved will power and concentration. Over the years I have noticed my mind becoming clearer and stronger. If we exercise a physical muscle, it develops. The same is true of the mind.

i. I really enjoy meditation. Sometimes it is hard work requiring concentration, but when it really flows it can be intensely blissful – more blissful than anything else I’ve experienced. It is far better than taking drugs, or so I’m told.

j. I am happy. I don’t suppose I’m the happiest man in the world, though I’m working on it. But I know that I am much happier than I was before I started on this path, and this feeling has grown over the years. Who wouldn’t be? I’m more emotionally balanced, more creative, I’m developing as a person, I sense a profound meaning in my life, I feel closer to God, closer to people, I feel more love. Of course I’m happier. I’d have to be crazy not to be!

HOW SOON WILL I FEEL SOMETHING IN MY MEDITATION?

Here¹s what happened to a friend of mine.
In the early 1970s, Steve was a young man living in Auckland, New Zealand. He and his friends had become interested in meditation, and they all learned from a yogi, an acarya of Ananda Marga like myself. After learning meditation, Steve practiced very regularly, for thirty minutes twice a day but he didn¹t feel any effect. After a week or two he began to worry and asked his teacher what was wrong. They discussed what he was doing, and the teacher reassured him and told him and that he just needed to be patient and keep practicing.

Meanwhile, all Steve¹s friends were enjoying their meditation, and some were having nice experiences. He continued. After another two weeks he became really frustrated and came to his teacher again and said he was not sure if he could go on. The teacher told him, “We are having a weekend meditation retreat in two weeks time. I am sure that if you keep practicing, and come to the retreat, something will happen.”

Reluctantly Steve agreed to keep trying. He was afraid that if he gave up, his friends would ridicule him, so he kept at it but began to hate meditation. By the time the time for the retreat came around he didn’t even want to go, but since he had said he would, he couldn’t easily back out without looking like a failure.

The retreat was on Waihiki Island, and everyone had planned to meet at the ferry in the morning. Now it happened that Steve’s house was infested with wood eating insects called Bora. Since he was going away, he planned to ignite a ‘Bora Bomb’ – a canister of poisonous gas which kills these insects and stops them eating all the wood; otherwise they will eventually make the house fall down.
So he put his luggage outside, lit the ‘Bora Bomb’, came out and locked the door. When he got to the bus stop he realized he had forgotten his wallet. Part of him thought, “Great! Now I’ll miss the bus and I’ll miss the ferry and I won’t have to go to the retreat”. But he thought he still had to try to get there in case he was interrogated by his friends, so he ran home. Then he had to wait for his breathing to slow, as the house was full of poisonous gas. By the time he had caught his breath, gone inside holding his breath, retrieved his wallet, and got back to the bus stop, the bus had gone.
“Good”, he thought, “but I suppose I should try to hitch hike”. He was confident that no one would stop as he had tried to do it before and never succeeded in getting a ride from this stop. So he put out his thumb. The first car stopped.

“Where are you going?” the driver asked.
“To the ferry.”
“No problem, I¹m going there too.”
He was caught.
He arrived at the ferry just in time to meet his friends and then he was stuck on the island for a weekend meditating and chanting and eating vegetarian food, all of which he was now beginning to detest. His meditation was worse than ever and he was completely depressed. Everyone else was so happy and high and he thought maybe he was the only person in the world who could not meditate.

If they had not been on an island he would have left and gone home.
Finally the last meditation session of the retreat began, and he thought, “This is the last time I am going to meditate in my whole life. Fantastic!” They were all chanting so happily and he was thinking, “So what? Who cares? I just want to get out of here.”

He sat down for what he thought would be the last meditation of his life. Within seconds after closing his eyes he had an amazing experience. He felt as if the top of his head had been removed and was open to the whole universe. He lost all awareness of his body and became lost in a blissful trance. Afterwords he felt overwhelmed and went up to people in tears saying, “It works, it works,” like a fool. So that wasn¹t the last time he practiced meditation after all.

A colleague of mine calls that my ‘can opener story’.
So how soon will we feel something in our meditation? Everyone’s mind is different, so it is difficult to answer this question precisely. Some people I know had an incredible experience the first time they sat for meditation. More commonly, people find it hard at first, and begin to enjoy it as they develop more concentration and mental stillness. Some, like Steve, have dramatic tales to tell. Others give up and never find out what might have happened if they had persisted just a little longer. One important thing to realize from Steve’s story is that all those weeks when he thought nothing was happening during his meditation were actually an essential part of the process, and that a deep change was going on within him all along. It just took some time to come to the surface.

If we really want to know how long we will have to practice meditation before we too can taste its benefits, there is only one way to find out. The sooner we start, the sooner we’ll know.

So let us close our eyes and open our minds, and accept that meditation practice involves an effort. If you undertake this wonderful practice with sincerity, I am sure you will long thank the day that you did.

You can chase a butterfly all over the field and never catch it. But if you sit quietly in the grass it will come and sit on your shoulder. – Unknown

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Different Types of Meditation – By Kiks

There are many different types of meditation techniques that are practiced by people from all walks of life, while holding to the fundamental principles of reflection and quiet thought to bring about a state of rumination. The different types of meditation that are acknowledged worldwide include transcendental meditation, prayer, Zen meditation, Taoist meditation, mindfulness meditation, and Buddhist meditation. Several of these different types might call for the body remaining completely still or to be stimulated with controlled deliberation, whereas other types will allow free movement of the body. Although we are aware of these different types of meditation the end objective is of course to teach our busy minds to quieten, freeing our minds of stress drawing on quiet contemplation and reflection.

If you are not familiar with meditation, you may well still be wondering, “What is meditation?” In our hectic lives and increasingly fast pace of life to put very simply an approach that everybody and anybody can use to help them cope with health problems, stress, trauma and anxiety by way of thought, contemplation, and reflection.

Transcendental meditation was introduced to the western world by a guru named Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in 1958. It is extremely simple to learn and practice, yet it will bring immense practical benefit to all areas of life. Of all the different types of meditation, this particular technique gives a unique quality of rest to the mind and body, releasing stress and tiredness in a very natural way. Transcendental Meditation is a very practical and simple form of reaching a state of rumination and suitable to all people, especially those who find it difficult to set aside time, as some techniques may require an hour plus to practice. 15-20 minutes twice daily sitting comfortably with the eyes closed. This may even be done on the bus, train, lunch hour, essentially anywhere that is safe for you to sit with eyes closed for those 15-20 minutes.

Vipassana meditation was discovered and taught by Buddha thousands of years ago. The word vipassana meaning ‘to see things clearly’ was taught to people as a way of healing the body and mind, by means of cleansing both of impurities and toxins. These days however, this type of meditation is not solely practiced by individuals with a Buddhist background, it is used by people of various culture and background. To practice this technique however in order to benefit fully from the utmost level of purification and rumination, it is strongly suggested that professional assistance is required.

Another type of meditation practiced worldwide is Zen meditation, this is the practice of sitting in preparation of relaxing the body and mind as well as opening oneself up to discovering insight into the nature of your being. In effect this means that as you sit in the various positions prescribed, closing your mind to thought and images; you will notice after a period of time, your heart rate will begin to slow down. Breathing will become shallow, and you will pass into a meditative state. Thought will become isolated and deliberate concentration on the present moment is all you will be aware of. Any thoughts of the past and the future will be kept at bay thus focusing and reacting to what is happening in the now. There will be no rumination on the things you should have done or the things that still need to be done. This will result in a wonderful escape from the constant chatter of the subconscious mind.

Taoist meditation is a type of meditation which has several points in common with Hindu and Buddhist systems. Though the Taoist method is considerably less abstract furthermore far more practical than the contemplative traditions that originated in India. The chief characteristic of this type of meditation is the generation, transformation, and circulation of inner energy. Once this stream of energy is achieved known as “deh-chee”, this can then be useful in promoting better health and longevity or whatever the mediator chooses. The Taoist type of meditation uses Breath and Navel meditation to teach beginners. This is the oldest method on record in China and India and works directly with the natural flow of breath in the nostrils and the expansion and contraction of the abdomen. This type of meditation is a fine way to improve focused attention and one-pointed awareness.

Mindfulness meditation is a simple type of meditation teaching us to be mindful and alert of everything we do in our lives giving deliberate thought and concentration to everything we do. This will motivate a better awareness of the diverse situations and surroundings we find ourselves in resulting in a much more relaxed body and nervous system. This type of meditation trains your mind and body to meditate on the things in life that you cannot change, with a great deal of contemplation and rumination on the whole idea. It can be applied to every aspect of life, from eating to exercising, to just breathing and living. Here is an example of practicing mindfulness meditation for instance with a person who has digestive problems. Whilst eating, give deliberation to everything about your meal, why you need it, and what it can do for you. Mindfulness meditation is about being mindful, or aware, of the things in your life that you have control over.

Imagine having complete control over your mind instead of the other way around. Buddhist meditation can give you that, if you undertake the proper discipline to do so. This type of meditation is said to bring your mind, body and soul to a natural balance. Buddha practiced the state of mindlessness through deliberation and rumination throughout his life. The idea was to diminish the mind’s need for selfishness and the craving for material matter to become a happier person. During meditation, you are in complete awareness of your physical body and every movement it makes. You are what’s more very aware of your state of mind and how it can change so rapidly in time – a minute, a day. Buddhist meditation is an extremely disciplined practice and should be done on a regular basis to benefit the mind, body and soul. If practiced correctly and consistently you will soon begin to notice very obvious changes, such as the mind slowly becoming free from fear. Your focus and concentration throughout the day, everyday will become far more superior than previously. There will be no concerns or worry in your mind, no link to this physical world, no cares.

Amid all the different types of meditation, there will always be confusion as with anything as to questions such as; ‘Is it safe?’, ‘How to decide which technique to practice’, ‘How much does it cost?’ Nevertheless once a decision is reached and you begin to practice the desired type of meditation suitable for you, it will become an essential part of your new daily life.  You may possibly wonder how you previously survived without it!

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by Heather Dale

First things first, you need to find a comfortable and quiet place to sit. Some people like to lie down while meditating, but I find it tempting to fall asleep, so I prefer sitting up. Next step: choose a meditation style that interests you. Here are five that I feel are best suited for anyone new to meditation.

1. Mindfulness Meditation: The most well-known type of meditation, mindfulness meditation, is about being aware of the sounds and activities happening around you. It’s almost a flow-like type of meditation, because you literally just let your mind be fluid and flow from one thought to the next, not really focusing on one particular thing. For instance, if you live in a noisy city, you don’t have to block out the outside sirens and screaming children, you let your mind be aware of the sounds without becoming too focused.

2. Spiritual Meditation: This type of meditation is for those who regularly participate in prayer, as it’s based on communicating with God. Just like the other styles, you must become calm and quiet and then begin to focus on a question or problem you might have. This style of meditation can feel not only relaxing, but rewarding as well.

3. Focused Meditation: If the idea of clearing your mind of all thoughts stresses you out, focused meditation is great because you can focus on a sound, object, mantra, or thought. The key here is to just focus on one of these things and stay committed to that one thought or object. This is when relaxation music comes in handy. Even though you’re essentially using your mind, you’ll be amazed at how rejuvenated you feel afterwords. In our day to day lives, our minds really are in 10 different places at once!

4. Movement Meditation: Movement meditation may seem intimidating, but if you’re by yourself and you really get into it, it can be extremely uplifting and relaxing at the same time. Sitting with your eyes closed, simply focus on your breath and try out different gentle, repetitive flowing movements. Rather than focus on a sound, object, or thought, just turn your attention to your movement. I find a slow left and right swaying motion to be therapeutic, or you could try moving your entire upper body in a slow circular motion.

5. Mantra Meditation: Mantras are words that are chanted loudly during meditation. It may seem odd to be making loud noises during a meditation session, but it’s actually the sounds that become the object being focused on. In yoga, the mantra Om is regularly used since it delivers a deep vibration that makes it easy for the mind to concentrate on that particular sound.

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What Are the Types of Meditation?
By Fred Cicetti

Question: What are the types of meditation?
Answer: Meditation is classified as a mind-body practice. It is used to move the focus of your attention away from the noise of the mind to the inner self where there is silence and peace.

The primary benefits of meditation are immediate relaxation and a better understanding of how your body, mind and spirit work together so that you can handle stressful situations. Over time, you will gain greater peace for yourself and those around you.

Meditation has been practiced for thousands of years. Most meditation originated in ancient spiritual traditions. There are many types of meditation. These include:

Zazen: Zen Buddhist meditation, which has been practiced for 2,500 years. Zazen is more than meditation, though; it is the study of the self. It is an intense spiritual practice that can’t be summarized in a few words. In this form of meditation, you sit still and concentrate on your breathing and being in the moment.

Kinhin: Another form of Zen meditation practiced while walking. Attention is directed at the feet while stepping slowly.
Transcendental meditation: By repeating a sound (mantra) to yourself, you can move your focus from your mind to the sound. This form of meditation comes from the Hindu traditions.

Chanting: Voiced repetitive sounds work like mantras.

Guided meditation: In this method of meditation you form mental images that you find relaxing such as sunbathing at the beach.

Qi gong: Qi gong (CHEE-gung) is part of traditional Chinese medicine. This practice generally combines meditation, relaxation, physical movement and breathing exercises to restore and maintain balance.

Tai chi: Tai chi (TIE-chee) is a form of Chinese martial arts. When you practice Tai chi, you assume a variety of postures in a slow, graceful manner while practicing deep breathing.

Yoga: In yoga, you use postures and controlled breathing exercises to calm the mind and develop a more flexible body.

How long should you meditate? As long as you like. I find that 15 minutes twice a day has remarkable benefits. During the day I feel more at ease. It takes a lot to get me angry. I worry much less, especially about trivia. I think more clearly and find solutions to problems more easily.

The results of meditation seem magical, but there’s no magic involved. When you get deeply into meditating, you will rediscover the person you’ve always been, the one without all the baggage of responsibilities, life roles, grievances, disappointments, fears.

Researchers have found that meditation makes changes in the body. In one area of research, scientists are attempting to determine whether meditation changes brain function. Some types of meditation might work by affecting the involuntary nervous system that controls heartbeat, sweating, breathing, and digestion.

Meditation is considered to be safe for healthy people. There have been rare reports that meditation might cause or worsen symptoms in people with psychiatric problems. If you want to try meditation, you should consult a physician to discuss it.

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Benefits of Meditation

Meditation is widely recommended as a healthy way to manage stress , and for good reason. It provides many health-enhancing benefits, like reducing symptoms of stress and anxiety, relieving physical complaints like headaches, and even enhancing immunity to illness.

Basics of Meditation:

Meditation can be practiced in many different ways. While there are numerous different meditation techniques, a common thread runs through virtually all meditative techniques:

A quiet mind:

With meditation, your thinking mind becomes quiet. You stop focusing on the stressors of your day or your life’s problems, as well as solving these problems. You just let that voice in your head be quiet, which is easier said than done. For example, start thinking about nothing now. (It’s OK; I’ll wait.) If you’re not practiced at quieting your mind, it probably didn’t take long before thoughts crept in.

Being In The Now:

Rather than focusing on the past or the future, virtually all meditative practices involve focusing on right now. This involves experiencing each moment and letting it go, experiencing the next. This, too, takes practice, as many of us live most of our lives thinking toward the future or relishing and rehashing the past.

Altered State of Consciousness:

With time, maintaining a quiet mind and focus on the present can lead to an altered level of consciousness that isn’t a sleeping state but isn’t quite your average wakeful state, either. Meditation increases brain activity in an area of the brain associated with happiness and positive thoughts and emotions, and some evidence shows that regular practice brings prolonged positive changes in these areas.

Types of Meditation Techniques:

Researchers generally classify meditation techniques into two different categories: concentrative, and non-concentrative. Concentrative techniques involve focusing on a particular object that’s generally outside of oneself: a candle’s flame, the sound of an instrument, or a particular mantra. Non-concentrative meditation, on the other hand, can include a broader focus: the sounds in one’s environment as well as internal body states and one’s own breathing. There can be overlap with these techniques, however; one meditation technique can be both concentrative and non-concentrative.

There are many, many different ways to meditate. Here I’ll mention some basic categories of meditation techniques so you can understand some of the main options and how they differ from one another. This is certainly not an exhaustive list, but it can give you some ideas.

Basic Meditation Techniques: This involves sitting in a comfortable position and just trying to quiet your mind by thinking of nothing. It’s not always easy to do this if you don’t have practice with it. But a good way to begin is to think of yourself as an ‘observer of your thoughts,’ just noticing what the narrative voice in your head says, but not engaging it. As thoughts materialize in your mind, just let them go. That’s the basic idea.

Focused Meditation Techniques: With this technique, you focus on something intently, but don’t engage your thoughts about it. You can focus on something visual, like a statue; something auditory, like a metronome or tape of ocean waves; something constant, like your own breathing; or a simple concept, like ‘unconditional compassion’. Some people find it easier to do this than to focus on nothing, but the idea is the same — staying in the present moment and circumventing the constant stream of commentary from your conscious mind, and allowing yourself to slip into an altered state of consciousness.

Activity-Oriented Meditation Techniques: With this type of meditation, you engage in a repetitive activity, or one where you can get ‘in the zone’ and experience ‘flow.’ Again, this quiets the mind, and allows your brain to shift. Activities like gardening, creating artwork, or practicing yoga can all be effective forms of meditation.

Mindfulness Techniques: Mindfulness can be a form of meditation that, like activity-oriented meditation, doesn’t really look like meditation. It simply involved staying in the present moment rather than thinking about the future or the past. (Again, this is more difficult than it seems!) Focusing on sensations you feel in your body is one way to stay ‘in the now;’ focusing on emotions and where you feel them in your body (not examining why you feel them, but just experiencing them as sensations) is another.

Spiritual Meditating: Meditation can also be a spiritual practice. (It does not have to be, and certainly isn’t specific to any one religion, but can be used as a spiritual experience.) Many people experience meditation as a form of prayer — the form where God ‘speaks,’ rather than just listening. That’s right, many people experience ‘guidance’ or inner wisdom once the mind is quiet, and meditate for this purpose. You can meditate on a singular question until an answer comes (though some would say this is engaging your thinking mind too much), or meditate to clear their mind and accept whatever comes that day.

Whichever meditative techniques you use, the potential benefits are clear and numerous, making it one of the more commonly recommended stress management practices.

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The Five Types of Meditation Techniques by – [Adapted from the book “Luminous Mind” by Joel & Michelle Levey]

There are thousands of meditation techniques from many different traditions, but all could be classified as belonging to either one or a combination of five types:

1. Concentration Meditation
2. Mindfulness Meditation
3. Reflective Meditation
4. Creative Meditation
5. Heart-Centered Meditation

A person well versed in inner science traditions has access to a veritable apothecary of meditative antidotes to disturbing mind states, as well as to potent methods for enhancing and developing wholesome and helpful states of mind. Mastering our mind in these ways, we will inevitably develop mastery over our physical and verbal expressions and our relationship with the world.

Type 1 — Concentration Meditation Techniques

Concentration meditation techniques are the foundation for all other kinds of meditation. Through the power of concentration we build our capacity to overcome distraction and to sustain mental focus. The power of a scattered mind is very limited. But like a stream of water that can be channeled to make it more forceful and produce hydroelectric power, we can make the mind a more powerful instrument by developing a small seed of one-pointed mindfulness into “concentration power.”

In classical meditation texts, this one-pointedness of mind developed through the energy of concentration is called samadhi, which literally means “to establish, to make firm.”

The power of a concentrated mind can be focused effectively to enhance and deepen insight into other meditative themes or goals. To understand how this works, compare the illuminating capacity of the diffuse and scattered beam of a ten-watt incandescent light bulb to the penetrating, diamond-like precision of a ten-watt laser beam. Such is the difference in illuminating power of the concentrated mind to the ordinary, scattered, and fragmentary flow of attention that most of us bring to everyday living.
By learning how to bring the stream of our attention into a laser-like beam of one-pointed concentration, we can train the mind to become a highly useful instrument for penetrating into and investigating the nature of reality. A concentrated mind is also the precursor of great bliss and the prerequisite for the development of psychic abilities.

Whatever technique of meditation you are practicing, it is necessary to have the ability to place your attention on the object of meditation and hold it there without distraction. With patience and practice, your mind will become calmer, more powerful, and able to apply itself to any task with precision and understanding. Any object or activity can be used for the specific development of concentration.

The same basic principle, however, always applies, no matter which form of meditation you are practicing: whenever your mind wanders, simply return it — again and again — to the object of your meditation.

Type 2 — Mindfulness Meditation Techniques

Mindfulness meditation techniques emphasize the cultivation of a receptive, choiceless quality of mindful attention toward whatever arises in the sphere of our experience. At those times in our lives when we were rapt in wonder gazing into the depths of the night sky, listening intently, marveling at the beauty of nature, or wholeheartedly listening for the answer to our heart’s prayer, we have naturally experienced this type of meditation.

Traditionally, the practices of insight or vipassana meditation, zazen, dzogchen, Mahamudra, choiceless awareness, self-remembering, and prayer of the heart are associated with this category of meditation. Mindfulness meditation strengthens our sense of wonder and appreciation, enabling us to effortlessly, precisely, and carefully attend to the totality of our experience unfolding moment to moment.

The interplay of concentration and mindfulness meditation allows us to develop the capacity to examine and intuitively understand the deep forces within our ordinary experience. The penetrating insight that develops can then be systematically applied to investigating the very subtle inter¬play between the phenomena we perceive and the nature of our own mind as the perceiver.

As we investigate our participation in the pervasive and dynamic interrelatedness of everything, we will come to sense ourselves as intimately related to and co-creative with the world of our experience.

Type 3 — Reflective Meditation Techniques

The practice of reflective or analytical meditation is like disciplined thinking: choosing a theme, question, or topic of contemplation we focus our reflection, or analysis, upon it. When our attention wanders to other thoughts, we return to our chosen topic.

Traditionally, reflective meditation is employed to gain insight into the meaning of life, death, interrelationships, and social conscience, or to come to a conclusive insight regarding some key idea in science, philosophy, or scripture. Following our analysis through, we arrive at a conclusion. This, in turn, gives rise to a strong sense of faith or conviction.

In our day-to-day life and work, reflective meditation techniques provide us with a powerful and effective tool for focusing our attention upon personal or professional questions in order to discover a creative solution or breakthrough insight. Reflective meditation also helps us to understand the issues or inner conflicts that may arise during the practice of other meditations.

Type 4 — Creative Meditation Techniques

Creative meditation techniques enable us to consciously cultivate and strengthen specific qualities of mind. Patience, appreciation, sympathetic joy, gratitude, love, compassion, fearlessness, humility, tenderness, and other qualities associated with aspects of nature, Divinity, or the natural world are among the attributes that are most commonly cultivated.
Creative meditations invite us to actively nurture these strengths of character by thinking, speaking, and acting “as though” these qualities are more fully alive within us.

Type 5 — Heart-Centered Meditation Techniques

Heart-centered meditation techniques help us to awaken the radiance of our loving-kindness and compassion. They deepen our empathy and forgiveness, and teach us to live in kinder ways.

They begin first with ourselves, and then open the circle of our compassion to embrace all living beings. They draw inspiration from each of the other meditations: focus and the power of peace from concentration; deep listening and presence from mindfulness meditation; insight into the nature of suffering and a sense of interrelatedness from reflective meditation; imaginative resourcefulness and skill from creative meditation.

Properly understood, all of these types of meditation are interrelated and mutually enhancing. Many practices draw inspiration from a variety of meditation types and could be included in several categories.
While the intricacies of these interrelationships are beyond the scope of this site, it should be clear to you that the contemplative traditions offer us the inner technology necessary to fulfill virtually any developmental aspiration we may have.

Meditation allows us to go beyond words and mental concepts in order to know the true nature and reality of ourselves and our world directly.

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Mindfulness Meditation

Mindfulness is the most well known of all the different types of meditation and, therefore, the most popular. It is also referred to as Vipassana and it is based in Buddhist traditions. During this type of meditation, you simply sit quietly with your eyes closed. But instead of forcing your thoughts to go away, you accept them and then let them go without focusing on them. As the thoughts come and go, you also observe the sounds around you. So, again, this meditation is not about blocking everything out and sitting in complete silence. Rather, it is about accepting the present moment and your thoughts just as they are.

During mindfulness meditation, you also focus on the breath as it flows gently into and out of your nose, bringing oxygen throughout the entire body. While you may be observing the breath, though, you are not actively changing it. Instead, you are simply letting it be, along with everything else around you and all of the other sensations you are experiencing as you sit in a relaxed and comfortable position.

Kundalini Meditation

Based in Vedanta, Kundalini is a form of yoga as well as a meditative practice. According to this school of thought, there is an upward stream of energy, referred to as kundalini, within each person. During this type of meditation, the goal is to become aware of this energy and tap into it as it moves through the chakras, or energy centers, throughout the body, from the base of the spine all the way to the top of the head.

Paying attention to the breath is an integral component of kundalini meditation because it is the breath that allows you to connect with this stream of energy that moves up your entire body. The breath is used to help this energy move and flow upward and out of the top of your head. This type of meditation can be difficult, though, and requires practice.

Focused Meditation

Focused meditation is yet another popular form of meditation because it brings your mind into a calmer state by focusing upon a mantra, an object, a sound, or a thought. Therefore, you do not need to worry about achieving complete silence like you do in other forms of meditation, nor do you have to worry about controlling the breath. Instead, you simply focus on one thing, clearing your mind of all other thoughts, stressors, and emotions.
You can sit in a quiet and calm space to focus on your mantra or positive thought, or you can even play some relaxing music and just focus on the sounds. Either way, people feel rejuvenated and relaxed after this practice. It is effective because it encourages the mind to focus on one thing only, whereas the rest of the day you are probably thinking about many things at the same time.

Mantra Meditation

Mantra meditation uses ancient Sanskrit mantras that are actually spoken aloud in order to focus the mind firmly upon the sounds and vibrations that are created by these words or phrases, which are repeated 108 times in the Hindu tradition. This method helps clear the mind of all other thoughts and bring about the positive effects associated with each mantra. Some mantras are chanted for healing, for example, while others are chanted to remove negative energy from a space. It’s believed that the vibrations caused by these ancient sounds activate certain areas within the brain that have positive physical effects on the body, including relieving stress and promoting healing. And in addition to chanting Sanskrit mantras, there are also modern phrases that can be repeated in order to reinforce positive emotions and changes within an individual.

Guided Meditations

Guided meditations are popular because you don’t need to focus so much on completely eliminating all thoughts. These types of meditations can be done in rooms full of people or in the comfort of your own home with the help of a recording. Sometimes they offer guided visualizations that help you to imagine a beautiful setting that brings you peace. Other times, these meditations simply guide you through the steps of tapping into the movement of your breath and clearing your mind by focusing upon a specific mantra or positive phrase. Music or relaxing soundscapes may also accompany these meditations in order to bring about a feeling of calm and help you free your mind and your body from all of the stress you’ve been under.

Zazen Meditation

Zazen translates to “seated meditation,” and it’s used within the Buddhist and Zen traditions. The key is to sit with the back straight and simply let the breathing be natural, without paying any particular attention to it. This type of meditation is enjoyed over long periods of time, making it difficult to learn and master, especially since it also involves focusing upon Buddhist scripture, a story, a question, or even a paradoxical idea. Beyond sitting straight and focusing the mind in silence, there isn’t a lot of guidance that comes from the outside with this type of meditation. Therefore, it isn’t a popular form of meditation in the Western world and it’s usually practiced only by Buddhist monks.

Again, with so many different types of meditations to choose from, you can find the one that’s the right fit for you and your lifestyle. A guided meditation may be a good place to start, as it will give you some tools to help you slow down and clear you mind. Once you become more familiar with meditative techniques, you can then begin to try sitting in complete silence, letting the mind rest while being aware of your surroundings and tapping into the intuitive and creative powers that lie within.

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Meditation has grown beyond religious or ancient traditional beliefs and flourished so there are many types of meditation now. Meditation is now being recommended by doctors regularly for their patients.

A greater percentage of us, undeniably, would have heard about meditation at one point in our lives. Now that you are about to begin the practice, there are several questions running through your mind, I’m sure.
We are going to assume at this stage that you already know and understand the benefits of meditation but may have a little bit of skepticism here and there. It’s ok to feel this way; it is one of the things that makes us human.
Since you are new to meditation, you would want to know the best types of meditation so you can get started.

To begin, as mentioned earlier, there are different types of meditation you will want to choose the one that best helps you best to focus, and therefore get the most from your meditation practice.
Different types of meditation are:

Transcendental Meditation

This is a type of meditation often practiced in Hinduism and made popular in the 1960’s by Maharishi Marhesh Yogi and practiced by famous people such as the Beatles back in the day and Russell Brand in present times. In your practice you take a posture of sitting with your back straight while using a mantra – a scared word whish is repeated. This type of meditation teaches its students to focus their thoughts on their mantra which in turn relaxes the mind and the meditator reaches deep meditation, which when practiced regularly reduces stress and can improve health.

Guided Visualization

This is another common type of meditation. Just like the name suggests, this meditation involves the use the creating an imaginary environment in your mind here you can experience deep relaxation and meditative states. You are expected to focus your attention on this visual mind scape to help you meditate. This meditation is done by listening to a live speaker or a recording and is a popular method of meditation with spiritual teachers.

Chakra Meditation

If you are aware of the 7 major energy centers of the body (Chakras), you should have an idea of what this type of meditation hopes to achieve. Using more specific visualizations, students are taught to open and cleanse these major energy centers of their body. If your body is weak or worn out, this meditation technique has proven to be useful over the years. It helps recharge the mind, body, and soul by revitalizing them from inside out.

Mindfulness

It has its origin from Buddhist tradition but has become the most popular meditation types in the western world today. In a simpler explanation, mindfulness involves the practice of letting your mind get filled up with several thoughts but finding a way to stay detached from each one of them. It is a type of meditation that focuses on ‘being present’. Teachers of this meditation tell students to be aware of their breath because it is considered as one of the several sensations.

Healing Meditation

Your instructor in this case would have to be a professional health coach. In this type of meditation, you would be guided to focus your energy on those areas of your body that are not functioning properly. If you are familiar with the chakra meditation, then this is almost similar to it. With the help of your instructor (live or recorded), you can achieve a whole lot more with this type of guided meditation.

Sleep Meditation

This type of guided meditation is used by people with insomnia, anxiety, or people looking to improve their sleep quality. You instructor will guide you into a very deep state of sleep. It makes use of delta waves and have proven to be effective for many people.

Guided Drawing Meditation

You would be instructed to draw different items in a way to interpret words spoken by your instructor. You don’t need to be an artist to be able to draw because you would be removing thoughts from mind. You are only expected to draw with what’s left within you; your essence.

Body Scan Meditation

It is almost similar to healing meditation and somewhat similar to chakra meditation. You are instructed to focus all your body’s energy to rejuvenate and fill your mind and body with positive energy. At the end of each session, you feel full of life and energy. It starts off from the bottom of your feet and slowly rejuvenates the body to the top of the head.

Guided Walking Meditation

There is a clear cut difference between this and walking meditation. In walking meditation you are expected to contemplate your environment but try and remove all unrelated thoughts from mind. In this meditation, your instructor directs you to connect your boy to the universe by walking – using all your senses.

Laughing Meditation

This meditation is not so commonly practiced but is intensely fun to perform. The instructor signals a small group of people to laugh. As they continue laughing, the laughter becomes contagious and everyone soon begins to laugh. The ideology of this type of meditation is to free your thoughts from all negativity and replace them with positive materials. The health benefits of having a good laugh is too numerous to mention in this post.

Whatever types of meditation you choose to use, the purpose of it should not be compromised. You can attain the peace of mind you seek and associated health-related benefits if you meditate the right way using a method to suit you.

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Types of Mindfulness Meditation By Shamash Alidina and Joelle Jane Marshall from Mindfulness Workbook For Dummies

One of the areas of common confusion is the difference between mindfulness and meditation.Mindfulness meditation is an activity where you make time deliberately and consciously for cultivating mindfulness.
Mindfulness is the act of being consciously aware with mindful attitudes. You can practice mindfulness over any length of time, for the duration of a single breath or for your whole life. You can practice it while waiting in a queue, talking to your partner or walking down the street.

Clinically proven courses usually contain certain common mindfulness meditations such as:
Body scan meditation: Often done lying down, but you can use any posture you like. This meditation involves becoming aware of your bodily sensations in a mindful way, step by step. You also begin to discover how easily your attention wanders off to other thoughts and how to be kind to yourself rather than self-critical when this happens.
Movement meditation: Usually yoga, t’ai chi, qi gong or another physical mind-body exercise. This type of meditation involves focusing on your bodily sensations, breathing and mindfully watching and perhaps letting go of whatever thoughts and emotions arise as you practice. Slow walking meditation is another possibility that’s sometimes used.
Breathing space meditation: A short, roughly three-minute, meditation. Do this practice a few times a day and whenever you experience a highly stressful situation or difficult emotion. The idea is to create a mindful awareness of your experience instead of avoiding it. This approach has been shown scientifically to be much more effective than avoidance.
Expanding awareness meditation: Usually called sitting meditation, but it can be practiced in any position. The meditation involves focusing, often in this order, on your breath, body, sounds, thoughts and feelings, and finally developing an open awareness where you’re choicelessly aware of whatever is most predominant in your consciousness.

You can break down the expanding awareness meditation into separate meditations, each powerful and transformative in themselves:
Mindfulness of breath meditation: Focusing your attention on the feeling of your in-breath and out-breath. Each time your mind wanders, bring your attention back non-judgmentally.

Mindfulness of body meditation: Feeling the physical sensation in your body from moment to moment. You can also practice this together with the awareness of breathing.

Mindfulness of sounds meditation: Being aware of sounds as they arise and pass away. If no ambient sounds exist, you can simply listen to the silence and notice what effect doing so has for you.

Mindfulness of thoughts meditation: Being aware of your thoughts arising in your mind and passing away and having a sense of distance between yourself and your thoughts. You allow the thoughts to come and go as they please, without judging or attaching to them.

Mindfulness of feelings meditation: Noticing whatever feelings arise for you. In particular, you notice where you feel the emotion in your body and bring a quality of acceptance and curiosity to your emotions.

Open awareness meditation: Sometimes called choiceless awareness, because you become aware of whatever’s most predominant in your awareness without choosing. You may be aware of any of the above meditation experiences as well.

Another group of mindfulness meditations are more like visualizations. These meditations slightly expand the definition of mindfulness, which usually involves paying attention to present-moment experiences. However, many people are quite visual and find the meditations valuable. The two main visual meditations included in the audio of this book are:
Mountain meditation: This meditation helps you to cultivate stability and groundedness and feel more centred.
Lake meditation: This meditation is about exploring the beauty of accepting and allowing experiences to be just as they are.

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Meditation – The Different Types of Meditation by: ABC-of-meditation.com.

Meditation is one of the five principles of yoga. It an important tool to achieve mental clarity and health. An overview of the different beginner and advanced meditation techniques will aid in choosing the right meditation exercise for you.

There is not just one way to meditate. You must find the way that is best for you personally. Meditating can be done in various ways and there is an indefinite number of Meditation techniques that you can use for an indefinite number of goals. It does not matter what Meditation technique you choose, the foundation of all techniques is focus and attention.

Therefore, we are first going to work on Concentration Techniques. The goal of these exercises is to improve our concentration. We must learn how to focus in order to bring the endless stream of thoughts to a standstill and to limit our thoughts to only those that are relevant for this moment.

Emptying our mind by means of focus and concentration is for most people the most difficult and the most important aspect of Meditation. Therefore it is not surprising that by far the greater part of all Meditation techniques is concentrated on this aspect. The better you can focus the easier it becomes to get into a deeply meditative situation. In some meditative schools the final goal of Meditation is to be 100 % focused. In this state, according to many spiritual traditions, you reach a situation of Samadhi: you become one with the object of your Meditation. Zen-Meditations, mantra Meditations (TM) and object Meditations all belong to this category.

If you want to go further than only emptying your mind the next step is learning how to become more aware of our thoughts, emotions, and sensory perception. As distinct from the exercises for clearing the mind, Insight Meditation allows us to welcome all our thoughts and physical sensations. We accept our sensations and thoughts as they are. Not judging, accepting, letting things go, being patient help us to minimize the impact of our thoughts on our actions. We become more the observers instead of the ones that undergo. Vipassana Meditation, concentration training and mindfulness Meditation belong to this category.

Our perspective becomes wider, we see our problems less as problems and we can start with the techniques from the third category for self-examination and contemplation. Through Contemplation and Self Research, we learn to understand the nature of our problems and the working of our mind. How does your mind work, how dependent are you on certainties, how do you involuntarily make your suffering worse…..etc? Insight gives us a strong motivation to start working on our problems.

The fourth category, Meditation in Motion, consists of all forms of Meditating in which we are active. We strengthen our attention and our awareness by focusing on our motions. The most well-known forms of motion-Meditation are Tai Chi, Qi Gong, Chi Neng and walking Meditations.

Besides the first four groups of Meditation exercises directed at concentration and self-awareness,Goal-oriented Meditation can help us to start working on certain goals right away. We can stimulate the curing of diseases or the achieving of our goals by means of, to give an example, visualization exercises. We can open our hearts by practicing Meditations which are aimed at forgiveness and sympathy. During our Meditation we can consult our intuition when we are faced with a dilemma or a difficult decision. We can use affirmations in our Meditations to enlarge our self-esteem. The possibilities of this category of Meditation are really unlimited. With the necessary creativity we can apply Meditation to all aspects of our life. What Meditation technique works best for you is purely individual and a matter of trying out. We do advise you to start with spending a lot of time on exercises that train your focus and your concentration. These abilities you will need with all forms of Meditating and will already have a marked positive effect on your life. If you discover that you like Meditating, then you can go on with the more advanced forms of Meditation aimed at self-examination. If you are only interested in using Meditation exercises for a certain problem, a question or the improving of certain achievements, then you should choose an exercise from the final category. After Meditating in the same way for a long period of time, do not hesitate to experiment with different techniques. In the course of time you may have made so much progress that in your present state of development it is better to start using techniques that are more fitting in your new situation.
News & Views: From the Editors of Health

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10 Unexpected Ways to Meditate Every Day
By Sophia Breene

Ready to get Zen? Meditation can do way more than people think—and it’s not just for hippies. Practicing meditation regularly has legitimate health advantages, especially for the brain. Studies suggest meditation can do it all: reduce anxiety and sensitivity to pain, make us smarter, ward off sickness, and prevent stress. If carving out an hour to sit on a cushion doesn’t float your boat, there are many unexpected ways to meditate every day. Get the benefits of meditation by trying out an alternative style from the list below.

Standing meditation. Standing instead of sitting to meditate can relieve lower back pain and promote a greater sense of internal stability. As with any form of meditation, begin with a short period of time—start with five minutes only. Stand in a comfortable, straight posture with the feet pointing straight forward, about shoulder width apart. After settling into the position, do a quick full-body “scan,” releasing tension and bringing awareness to every part of the body.

Walking meditation. In walking meditation, called kinhin in the Zen tradition, practitioners move slowly and continuously while staying aware of the body and mind. For this form of meditation, use good posture (just like seated meditation), take deep breaths, and experience the motions of the body. The walking movement should be continuous, so pick a safe place with space to roam around, like a large park or field.

Tai Chi. This ancient wellness practice, which means “Grand Ultimate” in Chinese, is all about aligning energy in the body as well as the mind. In traditional Chinese medicine, illness or pain happens when the life force, chi, is disrupted. The contemplative practice of tai chi—which looks like slow-motion dancing—is supposed to realign the body’s chi. This form of moving meditation may increase memory and brain size, as well as alleviate symptoms of fibromyalgia.

Qigong. Like Tai Chi, Qigong is a form of “moving meditation” that uses rhythmic physical movements to focus and center the mind. Qigong is also used to regulate, maintain, and heal the body’s chi or energy force. The practice works as a combination of meditation and low-impact exercise and can reduce stress and anxiety, improve blood flow, and increase energy. Studies have shown that qigong meditation is an effective therapy for those overcoming substance abuse, especially for women. Because it combines mindful meditation with body movements, qigong can be used as a mental, physical, or spiritual exercise.

Integrated Amrita Meditation Technique. Mata Amritanandamayi, an Indian humanitarian and spiritual leader known as “Amma” (mother) or “The Hugging Saint,” invented this practice to help people redirect energy in a positive way. Each session of IAM takes 20 to 30 minutes and includes postures, pranayama breathing, and meditation. Participants spend the first eight or so minutes doing yoga, followed by deep breathing and meditation. According to one study, the practice actually lowers the levels of stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline in the body.

Dance meditation. Get ready to boogie—meditation just got a soundtrack! Most people, at one time or another, have put on some tunes and cut the rug to chill out after a tough day. Dance or kundalini meditation takes that release one step farther by asking participants to let go of the ego and surrender to the rhythms and ecstasies of movement. Some classes encourage yelling, jumping, and even hooting like an owl! Dance meditation may not be for the faint of heart—or arm or leg—but it can be a great way to release tension and get in touch with our instincts.

Daily life practice meditation. Does high-energy dance sound a bit too wacky? Bring meditation back to a more reasonable pace with daily life practice meditation, which is also called Samu work meditation in the Buddhist Zen tradition. In this style of meditation, practitioners slow down daily activities to half-speed and use the extra time to be mindful and focus on thoughts. There’s no need to sign up for a class when it’s possible to meditate while washing dishes, taking a shower, walking down the subway steps…

Hand movement meditation. For many people, the toughest part of meditation is sitting without moving for an extended period of time. It’s so hard to resist the urge to pick at an itchy spot because scratching activates areas of the brain that control pain and compulsive behavior. What’s the best solution to this conundrum? Try hand movement meditation, in which participants focus on moving the hands slowly and mindfully.

Gazing meditation. If staring into space or spacing out is your jam, try Trataka or fixed-gazing meditation. This unusual style of meditation encourages participants to focus inward by staring at a fixed object while sitting or standing. Trataka has many alleged benefits, from physical plusses like eye health and headache relief to mental advantages such as lower stress levels and better focus. If outdoors, fix the gaze on a natural object like a stone, tree, or even the moon (just avoid staring at the sun). Indoors, try looking at the center of a lit candle or an interactive computer graphic. Trataka can be pretty intense, so start very slowly—stare for just 15 to 20 seconds, with plenty of rest time. Eventually work up to 10 or 15 minutes.’

Breathing meditation. This technique takes those pre-yoga class “Oms” to the next level. Also called yogic breathing or Pranayama, this meditation style is all about controlling the inhales and exhales. Greatist Expert Dr. Jeffrey Rubin explains, “Longer exhales tend to be calming, while longer inhales are energizing. For meditative purposes either the ratio of exhale to inhale is even or the exhale is longer than the inhale for a calming effect.” This type of meditation can be done anywhere, anytime (except underwater, for obvious reasons).

Meditation can mean much more than sitting on a pillow for an hour. Try one of these alternative meditation styles to find the best fit and incorporate mindfulness into any daily routine.

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All religions practice forms of meditation.

While many religions offer the same essential practices, each religion has its unique orientation; drawing on its own special symbols, stories, and teachings; favoring certain practices, subjects, and goals.
The five major religions – Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam all practice forms of meditation.

Meditation in Hinduism
Meditation plays a part in all aspects of Indian spiritual life, to greater and lesser degrees depending on the individual practitioner, his or her chosen path and stage of life.

The term Hindu means India, a highly diverse country with a long history that has many interwoven traditions, including Buddhism. Hinduism does not have one founder or a single text. It’s central texts include The Upanishads (a treatise on the nature of God-head), The Bhagadva-Gita (a treatise on man’s worldly duty), and the sagas of The Ramayana and The Mahabharata (spiritual principles described through action).

India is best know for is unique contributions to spiritual practice, Yoga and its accompanying teaching the Sutras of Patanjali. There are Eight Limbs Of Yoga; Abstention – Yama; Observance ¬– Niyama; Posture – Asana; Breath Control – Pranayama; Sense Withdrawal – Pratyahara; Concentration – Dharana; Meditation – Dhyanan; Contemplation – Samadhi. Each limb of yoga is emphasized in different forms; Jhana – intellectual study; Bhakti –devotion and love; Karma – religious performance; Hatha – physical mastery; Raja control of the mind; Laya – activating subtle energies. Equally valid, each approach is considered better suited for different types of people, yet all people may practice all forms of yoga, to varying degrees and at different stages of life.
Hinduism’s belief in reincarnation is essential for their philosophy. It would take many lifetimes to fully experience all of the Hindu spiritual practices; cloistered monks, devotees of specific deities, practitioners of yoga, wandering ascetics, and psychic showmen.

Meditation in Buddhism
Meditation is so central to Buddhism (a long-standing and varied tradition which offers the most highly developed systems of meditation) that many people think of meditation as a Buddhist practice.
Buddhist meditation practices include …
Buddhism evolved from the meditations of Siddhartha Gautama, a prince who renounced his status opting for a life of ascetic practice that led to his becoming the Buddha or fully enlightened one. Buddha identified eight principles (The Noble Eightfold Path) that develop the fully realized state of a person; right view, right resolve, right speech, right conduct, right livelihood, right effort, right awareness, right meditation.

There are three major schools of Buddhism – and many minor ones. The Hinayana School (considered the “lesser vehicle”)(Found predominantly in Asia, its texts are mainly written in Pali.) aims at bringing enlightenment to individual practitioners. The Mahayana School (considered the “greater vehicle”)(Found predominantly in Tibet and Japan, its texts are mainly written in Sanskrit.) aims to bring enlightenment to all sentient beings. The Vajrayana School (considered the “indestructible vehicle”) presents the most esoteric practices.

Another notable school, Zen Buddhism (a branch of The Mahayana School) began in the 6th century with the teachings of Bodhidharma. Zen attempts to reveal truth by disrupting the illusions, strengthened by conventional concepts and philosophies, which influence our perceptions, expectations, and responses. Zen offers a unique form of meditation call the koan, a puzzle without an apparent answer.

Meditation in Judaism
The Hebrew word Qabalah means both to receive and to reveal. Both a metaphysical doctrine and philosophy, the tradition within a tradition of Qabalah is a symbolic code designed to further practioner’s spiritual development. Students of the Qabalah transform their essential inner natures with the essential external Nature, by internalizing symbols and gradually absorbing their characteristics through meditation.

The central symbol of Qabalah is a cosmogram The Tree Of Life (Otz Chim) composed of eleven spheres (sephiroth), one of which is hidden, interconnected by twenty two pathways. Each sephira bears a different God-name, representing different aspects of the divine; The Crown, Wisdom, Understanding, Knowledge, Severity, Mercy, Beauty, Victory, Glory, Foundation, Kingdom. Symbols are assigned to each sephira including title, name, image, color, and number.

Meditation awakens the higher faculties of the individual, transcending reason, and bringing the symbols to life.

Meditation in Christianity
Christian forms of meditation have a long history, though not all practices are accepted universally in all churches (including but not limited to Orthodox, Catholic, Lutheran, Baptist, Protestant, Episcopalian, Quaker, Shaker, and Gnostic). The Desert Fathers, early hermits who established the basis for the Christian withdrawn life either individually or in groups, used repeated prayer, either spoken or sung, with synchronized breathing to internalize the spiritual truths contained within them. The Eastern Orthodox traditions practice creating and using icons as a focus for meditation. The Jesuit traditions use visualization and imagination to respond in a deeply felt personal way to scenes from the life of Christ (including Nativity, Passion, Crucifixion, and Ressurection) and internalized the lessons that can be found within them. The simplest and most universal form of Christian meditation can be found in the practice of repeating prayers, either individually, together, or in a cycle.

Whether expressed through song, prayer, study or contemplation, focus is generally directed first towards the heart, producing a deeply felt understanding that suffuses the whole being.

Meditation in Islam
Rooted in the Koran and the teachings of Muhammad, Islam’s mystical path Sufism includes commentaries by masters and teachings from a wide range of esoteric traditions including the Zoroastrian, the Hermetics, and the Pythagoreans. It is further supplemented by a rich literary tradition that emphasizes poetry, allegory, and symbolic story. The arts reveal universal principles and everyday activities become vehicles for meditation – writing, calligraphy, geometry, architecture, dance, weaving, etc. Everything is considered sacred and unity is expressed everywhere.
The pupil teacher relationship is central to Sufi spiritual practice; only those who have been recognized by previous masters as masters (a chain that goes back to the prophet) have the authority to initiate pupils. Masters dictate meditation practices, which can vary substantially in the final form they take. The aim of meditiation (fikr) is to prevent the mind from going astray while the heart is focuses on God. The spoken word (prayer, chant, song) is heavily emphasized as an active invocation of God through repetition of the Holy Names (zikr).

Meditation in Other Religions
Many other spiritual traditions have practices that are identical in form and function to these practices. And they offer many more. How similar these divergent practices are to meditation is often a matter of degree. The discussion of how similar some of these practices are is useful. While not unrelated, trance states, often involving a loss of self-awareness, can be distinctly different. Similarly, altered states of mind induced by chemical agents can be similar in many ways but are also distinctly different in others. Meditation rarely, if ever, involves a loss of self-awareness or control; quite the opposite, it almost always heightens both.

Despite the fact that meditation can take many forms, universal principles can be found in all systems. The whole being (body, mind, emotion) is actively applied, through a variety of focus points, to develop awareness, insight, and transformation.

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100 benefits of meditation

Physiological benefits:
1- It lowers oxygen consumption.
2- It decreases respiratory rate.
3- It increases blood flow and slows the heart rate.
4- Increases exercise tolerance.
5- Leads to a deeper level of physical relaxation.
6- Good for people with high blood pressure.
7- Reduces anxiety attacks by lowering the levels of blood lactate.
8- Decreases muscle tension
9- Helps in chronic diseases like allergies, arthritis etc.
10- Reduces Pre-menstrual Syndrome symptoms.
11- Helps in post-operative healing.
12- Enhances the immune system.
13- Reduces activity of viruses and emotional distress
14- Enhances energy, strength and vigor.
15- Helps with weight loss
16- Reduction of free radicals, less tissue damage
17- Higher skin resistance
18- Drop in cholesterol levels, lowers risk of cardiovascular disease.
19- Improved flow of air to the lungs resulting in easier breathing.
20- Decreases the aging process.
21- Higher levels of DHEAS (Dehydroepiandrosterone)
22- prevented, slowed or controlled pain of chronic diseases
23- Makes you sweat less
24- Cure headaches & migraines
25- Greater Orderliness of Brain Functioning
26- Reduced Need for Medical Care
27- Less energy wasted
28- More inclined to sports, activities
29- Significant relief from asthma
30- improved performance in athletic events
31- Normalizes to your ideal weight
32- harmonizes our endocrine system
33- relaxes our nervous system
34- produce lasting beneficial changes in brain electrical activity
35- Cure infertility (the stresses of infertility can interfere with the release of hormones that regulate ovulation).
Psychological benefits:
36- Builds self-confidence.
37- Increases serotonin level, influences mood and behaviour.
38- Resolve phobias & fears
39- Helps control own thoughts
40- Helps with focus & concentration
41- Increase creativity
42- Increased brain wave coherence.
43- Improved learning ability and memory.
44- Increased feelings of vitality and rejuvenation.
45- Increased emotional stability.
46- improved relationships
47- Mind ages at slower rate
48- Easier to remove bad habits
49- Develops intuition
50- Increased Productivity
51- Improved relations at home & at work
52- Able to see the larger picture in a given situation
53- Helps ignore petty issues
54- Increased ability to solve complex problems
55- Purifies your character
56- Develop will power
57- greater communication between the two brain hemispheres
58- react more quickly and more effectively to a stressful event.
59- increases one’s perceptual ability and motor performance
60- higher intelligence growth rate
61- Increased job satisfaction
62- increase in the capacity for intimate contact with loved ones
63- decrease in potential mental illness
64- Better, more sociable behaviour
65- Less aggressiveness
66- Helps in quitting smoking, alcohol addiction
67- Reduces need and dependency on drugs, pills & pharmaceuticals
68- Need less sleep to recover from sleep deprivation
69- Require less time to fall asleep, helps cure insomnia
70- Increases sense of responsibility
71- Reduces road rage
72- Decrease in restless thinking
73- Decreased tendency to worry
74- Increases listening skills and empathy
75- Helps make more accurate judgments
76- Greater tolerance
77- Gives composure to act in considered & constructive ways
78- Grows a stable, more balanced personality
79- Develops emotional maturity
Spiritual benefits:
80- Helps keep things in perspective
81- Provides peace of mind, happiness
82- Helps you discover your purpose
83- Increased self-actualization.
84- Increased compassion
85- Growing wisdom
86- Deeper understanding of yourself and others
87- Brings body, mind, spirit in harmony
88- Deeper Level of spiritual relaxation
89- Increased acceptance of oneself
90- helps learn forgiveness
91- Changes attitude toward life
92- Creates a deeper relationship with your God
93- Attain enlightenment
94- greater inner-directedness
95- Helps living in the present moment
96- Creates a widening, deepening capacity for love
97- Discovery of the power and consciousness beyond the ego
98- Experience an inner sense of “Assurance or Knowingness”
99- Experience a sense of “Oneness”
100- Increases the synchronicity in your life
Meditation is also completely FREE! It requires no special equipment, and is not complicated to learn. It can be practiced anywhere, at any given moment, and it is not time consuming (15-20 min. per day is good). Best of all, meditation has NO negative side effects. Bottom line, there is nothing but positive to be gained from it! With such a huge list of benefits, the question you should ask yourself is, “why am I not meditating yet?”
If you need a point to start from, you should try guided meditation courses. They are inexpensive and can provide you with a good foundation from which to begin meditating.
Make sure you meditate, there are quite simply too many positives to just ignore it.