What is the best way to meditate?

Meditation

Meditation was once considered as something that was done only by saints, sages, prophets and men of God. Today, that perception has changed. Meditation has benefits for everyone in all dimensions – physical, mental and the metaphysical. However, it is easier said than done and it has beneficial effects only if done properly. Though the meditation techniques are many, they all focus on the same end result. Here are some meditation techniques for you to choose from.

Basics of Meditation

Meditation can be practiced using different techniques. The technique can be chosen based on what one finds convenient and easy. However, all the techniques have some common features and objectives. These include:

A quiet mind

Meditation seeks to offer peace to the mind. The mind is a hub of intense activity with thousands of thoughts streaming across each minute. The ultimate objective of meditation is to lead one into a state of thoughtlessness. That is a tough goal indeed and so, all the different techniques try to reduce the number of thoughts. They do this by making you focus on a single thought or activity. Getting into a state of single thought and focus is the closest you can reach to completely eliminating thought.

Living in the Present

The root cause of all worry, depression, fear, anxiety and stress is the mind living either in the future or the past. A large percentage of our thoughts concern either the future or past about which we can do nothing about. In the process, the ‘Present’ which is a gift, is forgotten. The past is history while the future is a mystery. The ‘Present’ or the ‘Now’ as it is called, is perfect and complete. Experiencing each moment and then letting it go to experience the next is what living in the present is all about.

Altering the state of Consciousness

While one meditates, sincerely and actively, one often attains a different level of consciousness. It is not the waking and working state for it is so calming and relaxing. It is neither the sleeping state for one is very alert. Scientifically, meditation increases the activity of the brain in those regions which are associated with happiness, optimism and positive emotions.

Meditation Techniques

Meditation is something that is accepted by both, science and spirituality. It is a region where these apparently diverging streams meet. So, the techniques here have a harmonious blend of the scientific and the spiritual.

1. Basic Meditation Technique

This involves simply sitting or lying down and thinking of nothing! Though it seems simple, it is very hard to practice. It is done using the ‘observation’ method where one just keeps observing the thoughts that arise rather than participate in them. Just witnessing and watching the flow of thoughts, reduces the thoughts. Try it out for yourself.

2. Focused Meditation Technique

As we stated earlier, becoming thoughtless (no pun intended) is difficult and so it is easier to focus on something specific to reduce the thoughts to only a single one. There are few who focus on their own breathing process. Some others focus on a statue or idol or a form of God. In the east, there is a widely prevalent form of focused meditation called Jyoti meditation where one focuses on the flame of a lamp. The idea is same as before – to stay in the present where one is unaffected by the constant stream of ‘noise’ from the conscious mind.

3. Activity-Oriented Meditation Technique

This can be considered as a variant of the above technique. When you find it difficult to focus the mind on a single thought, you focus the body in a single, repetitive activity. Doing yoga, gardening and playing games like badminton, tennis etc. help focus the mind to a single thing for the body is focused on a single thing.

4. Mindfulness Technique

This is more of an attitude and state of being. Therefore, like activity-oriented meditation, this does not really look like meditation. It consists of being aware all the time, of the present moment. It involves focusing on every sensation that is going through the body and living absolutely in the present. But be aware! It is much harder than it seems.

5. Spiritual Meditation Technique

People use meditation as a form of prayer. And understandably so for meditation calms the being and makes a person more lively, energetic and alert. This is not religion specific. Clearing the clutter of unwanted thoughts, make us think and feel more clearly. It develops intuition which is considered miraculous! Solutions emerge out of nowhere and that is the power of being in the ‘now here’!

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