There are times we desire to change our state of consciousness to help us deal with the negative aspects of our lives or even to improve our overall well-being.
And science experts have discovered numerous techniques that help with this including hypnosis, brainwave entrainment, subliminal messages and even sleep, with each carrying its own set of benefits.
Meditation, as with all these other methods, is another method of improving our state of consciousness that helps us deal many mental, health and emotional related issues and improve the quality of our lives as a whole.
What is Meditation?
Meditation is simply a form of mind training in focus and relaxation to help it become calmer and more aware through silencing of the thought process.
Deepak Chopra, a meditation expert and author of the best selling books, “Ageless body, timeless mind” and “The spiritual laws of success” defines the practice as the progressive silencing of the thought process until you get to the source of thought, the self of the individual, which is also the source of the universe as there is only one ground of being.
Meditation can be compared to the normal physical exercises we do on a daily basis to keep fit, except it helps with keeping our minds fit.
When you meditate, you are simply helping your mind clear all the mental distractions and constant chatter which helps you relax more and increase your level of awareness.
Meditation helps you get in touch with your true self, which experts have termed as a feel of infinite possibilities.
This practice has existed for thousands of years and has been used by many cultures throughout the world for various reasons, mostly self improvement.
Back then, it was mainly used as a religious and spiritual tradition with many religions like Christianity, Buddhism, Judaism and others holding it in high regard.
However, nowadays, millions of people are making use of it outside of spirituality and religion. They focus on it mostly as a personal development tool.
There are various types of meditation suited for different purposes and as it grows in popularity, meditation is becoming more diverse as people are using it in a personalized way to help them with various needs and desires.
Some of the well known types of meditation include mindfulness meditation, transcendental meditation, Vipassana meditation and loving kindness meditation.
How it Works
Meditation is aimed at helping you access a deeper level of consciousness that is the source of thought. There are mainly 3 ways that meditation is used to help you get there.
The first is through focused attention, where you get your mind to direct your focus so as to help you reduce the wandering of thought. Under this category are types of meditation like Zazen meditation and Vipassana meditation.
The second way is through open monitoring, where you observe your thoughts, which help you become mindful. Mindfulness meditation is a good example of open monitoring.
The third is through transcending, where you allow your active thinking mind to access quieter and quieter levels of thought and transcend thought and get to experience the self, which is our unbound nature. Transcendental meditation uses this technique.
Benefits of Meditation
As you keep meditating on a frequent basis, you are able to get into deeper and deeper levels which comes with various advantages including reducing the Default Network Mode which is linked to mind chatter (1).
Studies show there are numerous benefits of meditation, but in the grand scheme of things, it helps improve your experience of life.
Morgan Dix, the co-founder of About Meditation and Host of the OneMind podcast says meditation makes everything a bit better. It is something you grow fond of because of the way it enhances the overall quality of your life. (2)
Another notable benefit of meditation is the changes that happen during the practice as well as on the long term if you do it consistently.
It changes your brain helping you calm down and increase in alertness and it is also responsible for bringing permanent beneficial changes to the brain with consistently doing it.
How Do You Learn to Meditate?
Our post on how to learn meditation for beginners, explains, in great depth, all the steps needed to learn, understand and implement meditation in your life immediately. Here is a highlight of the steps involved:
1. Choose your preferred type of meditation
2. Choose your preferred time for meditation
3. Add the time to your schedule to take it as seriously as needed
4. Get started with your chosen type of meditation
5. Start small and scale with time
6. Being patient with your wandering mind
Meditation Tips to Help You Get The Best Results
Here are some tips you should keep in mind when meditating to help you make the most of it and experience the best results.
- Avoid interruptions during your meditation session by having your phone in silent mode or switching it off and by meditating in a quiet place, clear of all distractions.
- Make sure you are well hydrated before meditating. Don’t drink too much or you’ll have to take bathroom breaks in between the session.
- Make sure you have eaten enough before meditating, not too much or you will sleep or feel uncomfortable throughout the session.
- If you are doing your meditation at home, slip in some comfy clothes that are loose.
- The most important thing about meditation is being involved in the session. If you mind wanders, bring it back to the session and focus more.
- You should know that remaining involved throughout the session is difficult at first, as you start out. So be patient with your mind and don’t get frustrated. It is an issue many beginners have to deal with.
- Meditation is like a skill that you take time to build and perfect.
Meditation is about getting in touch with your true self which is a growing process.
Myths About Meditation
Here are some common perceptions about meditation which are NOT true.
1. Meditation is only for spiritual people
2. Meditation takes years to see the benefits
3. Meditation is like self hypnosis
4. Meditation is really boring
5. Meditation is all about relaxation
6. Meditation is not hard at all
7. Meditation is not for me because I have a very chattery mind
8. Meditation is selfish
9. You can only meditate with your legs folded like Buddha
10. Meditation is only for religious people
Meditation has proven over the years to be beneficial for the mind and body. And as it keeps gaining more fame and becoming more diverse, many people are becoming interested in it every year and getting to benefit from it.
You can also enjoy the same benefits by taking your time to choose a type of meditation that you know suits you, sticking to it and making it part of your lifestyle.