What is meditation? (definition)
Meditation is a relaxation/personal growth exercise where you focus on something - object, action (breathe etc), image, sound or even a thought, and slowly let go of all disruptive thoughts of past and the future.
They say, 'fewer thoughts bring peace', and that is a goal of meditation. However, experts say meditation for excessive amounts of time, can bring more tension etc as we focus a bit too deep onto something. The thinking comes in way of meditation too.
Just watch that train of thought...someone said it right, 'garbage collection for your mind'.
Carlos Castenada said, it is about 'stopping the world' and 'not doing.'
Benefits of meditation: Meditation helps reduce stress and tension, and may help streamline your mind. However, studies haven't decisively proven the exact medical benefits of meditation. But when you reduce your reduce and tension, you are only helping your mind and body. Also remember, there's no guide to what progress in meditation should look like.
Categories of meditation: This isn't an 'official' categorization, but some 'buckets' experts have put the many kinds of meditations into.
1. Focus meditation, where we focus on some object (see below)
2. Monitoring meditation: Just feeling what we are experiencing/doing, monitoring the sensations and thoughts (E.g. Mindfulness meditation)
3. Effortless meditation: Focusing on no object or process. Just sitting there, quiet and empty.
Meditations can also be categorized by place or religion: Chinese, Hindu, Christian (saying a prayer again and again), Buddhist etc. All these varieties are more or less on same the 'focus, breathe, aware' techniques.
Meditation techniques which anyone can do easily
(no need to hate or dread the word)
1. Walking meditation: Just walk in the neighborhood focusing on the surroundings, and no thinking whatsoever. Killing two ailments with one medicine - walking keeps your body healthy, and meditation keeps your mind healthy.
2. 'Any task' meditation: You can focus on any activity during your daily life and stop thinking - this writer just observes the fingers hitting the black keys, and besides the sentences forming themselves, they is little thinking going on at the moment.
3. The relaxation response: Sit with eyes closed. Repeat a word, sound, prayer, phrase, or movement activity (including swimming, jogging, yoga, and even knitting) for 10-20 minutes at a time, twice a day. This is the non-sanskrit, any-word-will-do variety of meditation.
4. Mindfulness meditation: Mindfulness is a Buddhist variety of meditation. Sit with your eyes closed, focusing your mind on the sensations of body and the breathing for 30-45 minutes. Or, you can practice mindfulness throughout the day, focusing your attention on a particular sensation, doing deep breathing any time of the day.
5. Hindu meditation: Just sitting, closed eyes and chanting a single word - 'Om', 'Ram' etc.
6. Transcendental meditation: Sitting with closed eyes and concentrating on a single syllable or word (mantra) for 20 minutes at a time, twice a day.
7. Concentration meditation: Focusing on a single point - breadth, word, mantra, candle flame, a particular sound, or counting beads in a rosary. Let all your random thoughts go. It helps build your concentration. This is also a rough summary of Vipasaana meditation.
8. Third Eye Meditation (Yoga): Focusing the attention on the 'spot between the eyebrows' (called by some 'the third eye' or 'ajna chakra').
9. 61 Points relaxation meditation: Imagine there is a blue (the most calming color) dot as you go through the main points (they say there 61 points) on your body, starting from center of forehead, followed by the base of the front of the neck, going down, and ending where it began.. At each body point, note the sensation (the body point, the blue dot outside).
10. Zen meditation: A Buddhist meditation style. Sitting with eyes lowered and mouth closed, and just sitting, thinking nothing, for as long as you can.
11. Metta Meditation: Also known as the 'loving kindness meditation'. Just sit there and start thinking loving-kindness thoughts, first for yourself, then to other beings and things and then to the whole world/universe. Think up a good word/phrase for every being/thing, if it helps you. Visualize the things/people while you wish them all the good things.
12. Guided meditations: Audio recording mostly, where the speaker guides through the meditation, helping with chants, affirming words in cases ('I am a flower...), describing pleasing images for visualization etc. Just Google search for the stuff.
Meditation Tip: Bodily posture is 1/3 of meditation (just be relaxed). The other 2/3 being breathing posture (breathing deep and knowingly) and mind posture (not thinking).
Pranayama (a breathing exercise): We already know this one. The 4-4-4 breathing method is a very simplified version of Pranayama.
Thank you for reading.
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