Meditation is so much more than just a technique; it is a complete lifestyle, awareness, and a way of life. Although some people may consider meditation to be some sort of silent prayer session, or a time to worship, which may be true in a personal capacity, but it is more of a true state of consciousness.
When one can free the mind of any distractions, jumbled thought patterns and scattered ideas, and becomes completely aware of their breathing and quietens their inner voice, they are in a true state of consciousness and are in the throes of meditation.
Meditation is basically reducing the activity of the mind to one thought only, or none at all. As a long practiced routine, spanning back through centuries, meditation was not considered to be a practice that the average modern person would engage in.
These days, people are so much more aware of the world around them, and are much more in touch with their spiritual side, and meditation has become a standard practice for many people all over the world. There are documented medical, physical and spiritual benefits of practising regular meditation, even though the actual concept remains largely misunderstood.
Meditation requires the full participation of mind, body and soul, and there are certain advanced stages of preparation to help one find their way to complete consciousness and awareness. The first 3 stages are as follows:
- Physical Positioning – Getting comfortable
- Breathing Control – Regulating your intake of breath
- Relaxation – Finally starting to feel limp, slack and relaxed in your posture and breathing.
Once you have arrived at this point the next 3 stages will come together automatically.
- Concentration – Adjusting your focus and slowing down your thoughts to focus on just one thing or nothing at all.
- Contemplation – The focused observation of your mind as it quietens down.
- Absorption – Arriving completely, mind, body and soul, in a meditative state.
There are many variants of meditation techniques based on the basic stages of meditation, some have a classic yoga theme, and others are deeply spiritual and can be chosen according to one’s preference. Each and every meditation technique is a deeply personal choice and not everything works the same for everyone else.
Every culture may subscribe to a different technique, but at the end of the day, the practice of meditation crosses all barriers and boundaries, cultures and countries and is a universal language known and appreciated to all mankind. It is recommended that the guidance of a Guru will be able to effectively take beginners from awareness to total consciousness, and the advice and supervision of a Guru to be sought for this purpose.
Here is a number of the most common meditation techniques used around the world today.
- Trataka or Steady Gaze
A deeply religious meditation practice. Used as a yoga cleansing technique, it involves the complete and utter focus, or steady gaze, on one particular object, sometimes a candle is a popular choice of item for this mediation practice. It can help with concentration and determined focus of the eyes and mind.
- Mantra Meditation
Mantra meditation is when one uses a particular sound, or a combination of different sounds to develop a true, focused, meditative state. The repetition is known as japa and the word mantra actually means ‘’revealed sound’’.
- Vipassana Meditation
Usually practiced over a course of some 10 days, Vipassana Meditation is a process by which one frees the mind from any thought process, stops reading books, newspapers and watching TV, one will also take a vow of silence, apart from communicating with their Guru or teacher, and stop any form of writing. Through intense 15 minute sessions, once can completely and fully focus on self-observation.
- Chakra Meditation
The Chakras in the body are different energy centres in the body that represent different consciousness and awareness development. There are 7 Chakras in the body, Chakra means wheel, and each of the 7 Chakras represent a big nerve area that comes from the spinal cord and follows through to each one of the major bodily organs. Balancing the Chakras through meditation brings a physical and emotional sense of wellbeing.
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