What is meditation?
There are many different forms and styles of meditation with all of them relating to the same point, awareness of oneself. The art of meditating seems easy at first to the beginner, after all, it is simply a matter of sitting or lying quietly and focusing on one thing to the point of inducing a deep and relaxed state of mind. However there is more to it than that and focusing and remaining focused on one thing is harder than it sounds.
Choosing the point of focus is relatively easy in itself, you may choose to focus on your breathing, a sound, a piece of music, visualization, a mantra or an object such as a candle flame. Keeping your thoughts from wandering is the tricky part, starting off for the first few minutes will be no problem but then before you know it your mind will lose interest and unwanted thoughts start entering your mind again.
The basics of meditating
Start off by making sure the clothing you are wearing is comfortable and not too tight, while you are performing your meditation you can remain sat upright in a chair, lie down on the floor or bed or sit in the classical Buddhist pose, cross-legged. How you choose to do it is of no real importance other than you should feel comfortable and relaxed, however, if you choose to lie down particularly on the bed you might just fall asleep.
The whole aim of meditating is to free your mind from the day to day problems and worries and allow your body to totally relax to the point of sleep without actually falling asleep. People who have practiced meditation for years strive to reach such a state of total relaxation which is termed enlightenment; this is the state of the body and mind being at total peace and harmony with itself, the body has reached the state of relaxation when breathing slows and is asleep even though your mind is fully awake and alert.
Mantra is a very simple but popular form of meditation which can be practiced anywhere; it involves the use of a single sound or word being repeated over and over again to help rid the mind of everyday thoughts and worries. The words most often used in this form of meditation are “OM” and “AH”. The words can either be said out loud or only be repeated inwardly depending on the circumstances.
Insight or breathing meditation
Insight meditation relies on the person concentrating on their breathing to rid themselves of thoughts and feelings, by sitting quietly and focusing your attention on the way your breath moves throughout the body and is inhaled and expelled will help the person to become one with themselves.
Visualization is another popular form of meditation for the beginner with popular variations being visualizing yourself on a quiet, white sandy beach with the surf gently lapping against the shore to how you see yourself in the future attaining all the goals you set out for yourself. Visualizations are only limited by the imagination; this form of meditation is particularly popular as your thoughts tend to stick more easily with the task at hand than they do in other forms of meditation.
Flower of Life meditation