Discover The Benefits Of Meditation

June 5, 2009 by  
Filed under Meditation Tips

Benefits Of MeditationMeditation was originally developed to help achieve the ideal meditative state as a way to enlightenment. Modern science has discovered that meditation has a positive effect on the mind and body that can improve various medical and psychological conditions. Discover these meditation benefits for yourself and make daily meditation part of your healthy lifestyle.

One of the main benefits of meditation is stress relief. We live in such a busy, fast-paced world and stress is becoming part of everyday life. Having a technique that you can use to relieve stress and tension, like meditation, is a valuable asset in maintaining optimum physical and mental health. Science has proven that meditation releases stress and reduces the risk of developing stress-related diseases like high blood pressure, ulcers, insomnia and heart disease.

The scientific community has concluded that meditation benefits include the slowing of alpha brain wave activity. This is different than the brain wave activity that goes on during sleep or hypnosis.  During meditation the heart rate, respiration rate, and metabolic rate are considerably lower when compared to sleep and hypnotic states.  And all of this happens while we’re in a completely alert state, unlike sleep and hypnosis. Though brain wave activity is still a bit of a mystery to the medical experts, many believe meditation awakens intuition as well as other extrasensory benefits.

Another benefit of meditation is improved concentration and clear thinking. Because meditation calms and quietens the mind, you feel free of the confusion of thoughts and self-talk that we often live with everyday. Meditation also strengthens the mind and helps to bring it under our conscious control to improve focus and determination. Control of the mind also helps us maintain a positive attitude and control our incessant self-talk, which is so often negative and nonconstructive. Considerable research has been done on the control the mind has over the body, which is the reason many top athletes use meditation as a way of improving their sporting performance.

Meditation has long been practiced to receive spiritual benefits like spiritual awareness, closeness to the Universe, connection to the source of life and opening of the mind to receive guidance. Meditation techniques are now being used in the fight against life-threatening disease, in treating mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety disorders and panic attacks, for problem solving and managing lifestyles.

Certain changes have been noted in the body during meditation. The rate of breathing and heartbeat slows, there is an increase in the flow of blood around the body and a reduction in blood pressure. These changes create benefits like release of tension in the muscles, lessening of headaches and digestive discomfort, an improvement in hypertension patients, improved mood due to increased serotonin being released, improved exercise tolerance in people with heart problems and reduced incidence of anxiety attacks.

Patients who have been meditating regularly before they’ve had surgery have been shown to heal faster and recover in less time than other patients. Meditation has also been shown to have had a positive effect on the physical and mental state of patients with terminal diseases. The power of meditation extends to the immune system by increasing the cells that naturally attack bacteria, viruses and disease.

Deep relaxation and contentment are typical results of a meditation session, which helps to improve self-image and self-confidence. Meditation also helps those who are struggling to find their unique identify and sense of who they are. It allows us the freedom from everyday life to think and feel.

These many meditation benefits are backed up by research and science. Learn and practice the technique of meditation, and experience for yourself the results that thousands of people around the world have discovered.

Buddhist Meditation

May 29, 2009 by  
Filed under Types Of Meditation

Buddhist MeditationIt goes without saying just how important meditation is to the Buddhist religion. To state the obvious meditation  is the core of the Buddhist practice. Buddhist meditations have a variety of techniques derived from ancient Buddhist texts. Buddhist meditation has evolved over a span of many thousands of years. These techniques helps to develop some great virtues of the human mind, namely mindfulness, concentration, tranquility and insight.

The benefit derived from these techniques is not only confined to Buddhists. Buddhists consider meditation as a path towards attainment of Enlightenment and Nirvana. Non-Buddhists pursue these techniques for purely mental and physical well-being and non-religious spiritual aims. Even medical science has adopted Buddhist meditation techniques to deal with the various aberrations of human mind.

These Buddhism meditation techniques have been adopted all over the world including the west for health and spiritual reasons. One reason for such a wide acceptance is these techniques do not have any authoritative doctrines.

Among various Buddhist traditions, Theravada tradition contributes to over ninety methods in developing mindfulness meditation and concentration collectively. Likely, the Tibetan tradition also has abundant meditation techniques which have elements of visionary qualities.

According to the Pali Canon School, Buddhist meditation can be practiced to develop right mindfulness, right concentration, and right view.

There are various inferences or suttas. Among them in the Sattipathana sutta, Buddha has framed four ways of attaining mindfulness. They are the body, feelings, state of the mind, and mental objects. He has further divided them into different parts:

Body (kaya)

  1. Breathing
  2. Postures
  3. Clear comprehending
  4. Reflections of repulsiveness of the body
  5. Reflections on material elements
  6. Contemplations regarding to the cemetery

Feelings (vedana)

Mind (citta)

Mental content(dhamma)

  1. The hindrances
  2. The aggregates
  3. The sense-bases
  4. The factors of enlightenment
  5. The four noble truths.

Buddha has framed two qualities of the mind, which is attained through meditation, namely serenity and insight. Collectively they are called the swift messengers of Nibbana.

Buddha has preached forty methods of meditation which will develop concentration and consciousness. Moreover, he has advised to choose the most suitable path among the forty methods, which align with ones mental makeup. One should seek a knowledgeable individual for guidance.

Buddhist meditation techniques have also incorporated practices from others like Zongmi Typology, which has been utilized by the Chinese and others. According to this, all meditation techniques appear to be the same externally. But they differ on a wide basis internally in the motive and purpose. They have five categories of meditative techniques: ordinary, outside way, small vehicle, great vehicle and supreme vehicle.

According to a meditation teacher Kamalashila of western Buddhist order, there are five basic methods of meditation:

1. Mindfulness of breathing

2. Metta bhavana including all four Brahma-viharas

3. Contemplation of impermanence including contemplation of decomposing corpse, reflection on death, reflection of Tibetan book of the dead’s “Root Verses”, Contemplation of mental states and external objects

4. Six element practice

5. Contemplation of conditionality.

To make sense of all this, Buddhist meditation techniques are well suited for anyone interested in advancing their meditation practice. You may practice them for a number of reasons, such as general well-being and spiritual advancement.

What Is Mindfulness Meditation?

May 29, 2009 by  
Filed under Types Of Meditation

Mindfulness MeditationMeditation is the path to self realization and tranquility. One of the most important meditation techniques is the mindfulness meditation.

Mindfulness is a mental state that enables you to stay with a calm mind. It helps you stay aware of all the physical and mental activities of the present.  It is a form of Buddhist meditation that has been practiced for eons. According to Buddha’s noble eight fold path, it is the seventh element. Mindfulness develops wisdom of the human mind.

Insight is another name for mindfulness meditation. This type of meditation helps to concentrate on the present. This technique allows you to let go of  the past and future thoughts, hindering a certain peace of mind. During mindfulness meditation, you stay aware of the mind’s thoughts that are going on, and any actions that are happening in the present moment. This meditation technique helps to focus on the real present and develop concentration.

To really understand the meaning of and the benefits of mindfulness meditation you will need to practice it. The basic preparation and guidelines to practice this meditation technique properly is discussed below:

Create a favorable environment. This is one of the most important things to do.  Mindfulness for beginners is quite easy, if you take that all important step and get started. There should not be any sort of distraction in the place that you will select for practicing this meditation technique. This place should be calm and quiet. There should not be any sound or noise to distract you and disturb you during your meditation. This place should be such where you can forget all your pain, sorrow and can get rid of all your stress. This place should emit a sacred feeling. It can be a religious place or any place of your choice which gives you positive vibes. You don’t need to be a practicing Buddhist to see the benefits that come from a mindfulness practice.

Starting your meditation is a rather simple process. It may help to start meditating for just short periods, but do so frequently. Do not sit for long periods of meditation initially. You’ll need to slowly adjust to the meditation techniques for best results. Utilizing a meditation timer is a great way to keep track of time without worrying about a clock.

Having the correct posture is crucial step in mindfulness for beginners. There is a strong connection between the body and the mind. Hence, to control your mind you need to control your physical posture. The right way of meditating is to have an upright erect posture. Think of the traditional cross legged (lotus) pose. Keeping an erect posture helps with concentration, though you should not experience any discomfort. When it comes to meditation for beginners staying focused is one of the biggest hurdles.

Your focus should be down around the few inches around your nose. The eyes can remain open and still not be distracted by your  surroundings.

The goal here is to focus on your breath during meditation. Your natural breathing process should be the object of concentration during your meditation. You may focus on your exhale as it passes through the back of your nasal cavity or you can feel the air as it escapes past your nostrils. If you get distracted, that’s okay, just refocus and feel your breath as you come back to the meditation.

Remove your thoughts and focus on the present through your breathing. It may be easier said than done, but this is what we strive for. Initially it will be very difficult to focus and concentrate your mind. You will feel yourself getting distracted by the constant chatter of the mind. By feeling your breath to the core, you can gradually root your mind in the present and stay focused.

These are the very basic fundamentals, as they relate to practicing mindfulness meditation. There are many Buddhist texts and guided meditations that will certainly help advance your practice.

Meditation for Beginners

May 29, 2009 by  
Filed under Meditation Tips

Meditation for BeginnersMeditation is one of the best stress-relieving activities that you can do. Meditation also promotes better sleep, makes you feel calmer, aids in concentration and clear thinking, and improves your focus. You can also enjoy a better over-all health by meditating regularly. Taking a few minutes out of your day for quiet contemplation and meditation will help you be more productive and happier as you go about your daily tasks. Use these helpful tips on meditation for beginners to help you get started.

You don’t have to adopt special positions or have a special place to meditate. These can come later. All you need is a comfortable place to sit, where you feel supported and relaxed. Plan a time in advance for meditation; take the phone off the hook, be prepared to ignore the door-bell and other interruptions. Block out 15 to 20 minutes of your time, although, in reality, you will only actually meditate for 5 minutes or so in the beginning. You can utilize a meditation timer that will notify you when your time is up. Meditation timers are a great tool, as they remove the constant distraction and questions of “am I there yet?” After meditation, it is a good idea to sit quietly for a few moments, and not rush off to the next part of your busy day.

It is a good idea to keep a meditation journal; a special book only used for this purpose. As you sit quietly after your meditation, write down any thoughts or feelings that come to you. Some people find that they can write beautiful poetry at this time, which seems to come easily to them, as if from within.

To start your beginner meditation, sit comfortably in a chair or on a cushion on the floor. Wear loose-fitting comfortable clothing and take off your shoes. Make sure your back is straight and you are comfortable, with no tension in any part of your body.

There are many meditation techniques for beginners out there, but the best advice for the beginner is to keep it simple. The first thing you do is take several slow, deep breaths. With each outward breath, think of releasing the stresses and worries of your everyday life. Breathe in calmness and breathe out tension; you can even say to yourself – “I am breathing in calm; I am breathing out tension.”

Continue to breathe in your own natural rhythm, just observing the breath as it gently moves in and out. Your body is relaxed. You are feeling calm. Clear your mind of the usual chatter that we have going on continuously. Focus on your breathing, and if a thought comes to your mind, acknowledge it and let it go. Don’t stress about any thoughts that come up, just let them float away. Meditation for beginners isn’t an extremely difficult process. It’s important to note, however, that when we first get started in meditation we quickly realize how much chatter goes on in the mind. This is natural, though our goal in meditation is to seek control back from the egoic mind. As we progress in our meditation practice we’re able to quite these constant thoughts.

Keep your early sessions short, to about 5 minutes. As you continue to practice, you will be able to extend this time, but it is best to start off slowly. Don’t worry whether you are doing it correctly, just develop the skill of observing your breathing and controlling the thoughts that come into your mind. You may vary your meditations by adding soft, soothing meditation music in the background, using guided meditations, burning incense, or lighting a candle and gazing at the flame as you breathe.

Make a meditation appointment with yourself each day to form a habit of regular meditation. By following these tips in meditation for beginners, you will soon start to feel the wonderful benefits of this ancient craft.

Learn to Meditate

May 20, 2009 by  
Filed under Meditation Tips

Learn to MeditateWhen we come across people interested in meditation it’s not always so simple to explain, they often have an image of  a yogi or spiritual leader meditating with mystical powers. The pop culture image of a bearded wizard type individual who meditates in the forest certainly perpetuates this. Reality, however, is far from it, as there are various types of meditation practiced by millions of ‘normal’ people each and every day. You won’t have to move to a Tibet or take up the forest life to learn meditation. It’s really quite simple, and you can learn to meditate in the comfort of your own home.

When you first get started in learning meditation you may not know where to begin, as there are many types of meditation to choose from. The best advice is to start with a simple meditation when you’re just getting started. Once you get the swing of things you can experiment with the other varieties of meditation and find your preference.

Anybody who is new to meditation can start with the simplest of all, the breath counting meditation. This meditation is the easiest to perform, and the easiest to learn, as it’s also a form of natural meditation. To get started you will want to find a quite place where you’ll be comfortable and have no interruptions. You may sit in the lotus position (cross legged) or simply lay on your back if it’s more comfortable for you. It’s important not to get too relaxed while lying down, which can be an issue.  Once you are in a comfortable position you can start you breath counting meditation.  Gently relax your body and mind, as you close your eyes. We start by simply counting each inhale and exhale. Once we reach a predetermined number we start over. You can count up to 3, 5, 10 or whatever suites you. Keeping the number short, however, helps with your concentration. And concentration is what it’s all about. The goal here is to just focus on our breath, as we count each inhaled and exhaled breath. You’ll quickly learn that this is easier said than done, as your mind has other ideas. Don’t be dissuaded by the constant chatter of the mind, as it’s perfectly normal. You’ll develop better control with time.

You can start performing this simple meditation for a few minutes every once or twice a day. Once you begin to do this practice you can gradually increase the duration of the meditation. Remember to just to watch your thoughts pass by. Try not to get distracted by the mind. Or better yet, when you get distracted by your mind, simply return to your breathing. You can use a meditation timer that will not only signal the end of your session, but chime at certain intervals, so that you can return if distracted.  This mind distractions may seem very difficult at first, but consistent practice will help you get control back from your mind.

Learning to meditate is not at all a complicated procedure, it’s actually quite simple. The problem most people face is that it’s a lot like exercise, in that it takes steady discipline.  Understanding the benefits of exercise is not hard to conceptualize, just the action required to get the the results. Most people get motivated with a few visits to the gym, but the excitement quickly fades, and before they know it they’ve lost all motivation. This applies to learning meditation too. You will not see the results you’re looking for if you don’t put in the consistent practice. Meditation is a learned discipline that can provide a number of life changing benefits, but you’ll have to practice.

Before you learn to meditate your objective should be clear. Setting up goals is an important step. These goals need to be realistic for what you plan to achieve. Make meditation a part of your daily routine. If you can meditate twice a day, morning and night, that’s great, but try to allot a portion of your day to meditation. It’s recommended that you at least devote 20 minutes to your daily meditation. This should be a minimum, since the best results are achieved with longer consistent sessions.

Once you learn to meditate and are clear about what you wish to achieve via meditation you can then choose the meditation that best suits you. There are many types of meditation in some cultures that are actually a form of prayer like in Hinduism and Buddhism. You don’t, however, need to change your religion to learn meditation, rather pick up a meditation that will most benefit you. This may be a Buddhist mediation or some other form, proceed with an open mind.

Picking up the right meditation for you can be a bit of a task with so many to choose from, but it really doesn’t have to be. Many of the most experienced meditation gurus make the simple breath counting meditation the mainstay of there daily practice. This is because it works. Once you learn to meditate you’ll find there is no magic meditation that’s better than the others, just the one that’s best for you.

So start with a simple meditation. Set a realistic goal that you can stick to for a certain peiod of time. For example, 30 minutes in the mornings for 2 months.  Make it part of your daily routine. Don’t have unrealistic expectations. In fact, don’t have any expectations, other than your daily devotion. Once you’ve practiced for a few months and reached this goal, you can then reflect on your developement. What you’ll find will be nothing short of amazing.

Meditation Timer

May 18, 2009 by  
Filed under Meditation Tools

Meditation Timer

The following meditation timers come in a variety of lengths to assist in your meditation practice. Utilizing an audio meditation timer is a helpful tool that eliminates the need to check a timer or a watch.

The first group of free meditation timers below simply signals the beginning and end of your timed meditation session with a bell sound. The bell sounds once at the beginning and then three times to signal the end of the session.

You may choose to download these MP3 audio files or simply play them in your browser. To download Right Click and “Save Link As” and then specify your desired file location.

Meditation timers can also be utilized as a tool to gently bring the practitioner back into focus. The following timers sound at certain intervals.  For example, the 20 minute meditation timer below sounds at 5 minute intervals (4 times) and then 3 consecutive times to signal completion.

If you’re interested in buying a meditation timer to utilize in your home you can find a variety of choices at Amazon.com:



Meditation At Sunset

May 16, 2009 by  
Filed under Photo Gallery

Meditation

Ending the day with a relaxing meditation.

A Guide On How To Meditate

November 19, 2008 by  
Filed under Meditation Tips

How To Meditate

Meditation has long been considered an effective way to cope with stress and achieve a deeper state of mental relaxation, helping the mind in the process become more active in performing various mental processes.

For one to be able to achieve these goals, it is important to learn how to meditate. Meditation is more than just the image of someone sitting with his legs on a “twisted” position and his eyes closed as we will find out later on.

But the first thing we must learn in meditation is to set the time for it everyday. It doesn’t matter the time of the day or the length of time you allocate; what is more important is that you do it on a regular basis so that you can better feel the effects of meditation on your mind and body. Remember that meditation is not an exercise that promises immediate results, if that is what you’re looking for.

Once you’ve set up the time, you must now set up the location. Make sure it’s a quiet and relaxing location without any nuisances or other distractions that could get in the way of your meditation.

Now that the time and place has been set, we now go to the actual exercise itself in learning how to meditate. We begin by sitting on the same level as the ground, but you can sit on a meditation pillow or a chair if it makes you feel more comfortable. In fact, you can even do it while lying down, and you don’t necessarily have to be in some limb-twisting posture. Just remember to keep your back straight to help you with the breathing later.

Now that you have a comfortable posture for meditation, you now let your breathing become deep and slow from the abdomen instead of from the chest. At the same time, you should keep your eyes half-opened, not letting them focus on anything. But if you’re having a hard time doing so, you can either close your eyes or let them focus on a single, steady object in their view.

The next step is to relax every muscle in your body little by little. This takes time, so it’s important not to rush it. Around this time, your mind begins to think of many things. For meditation, it’s important for your mind to focus; you must gently let your mind focus on a single point and allow it to eventually stay in that point. This sort of mental anchor can either rest on the flow of your breath (without making any judgment on it) or it can be a mental image of place that calms you. The idea here is to just breath.

With your mind trained now to focus on a single point, the next step is to focus now on nothingness to fully clear your mind. This is the pinnacle of meditation, but also the most challenging. This requires great discipline on your part as you can either let the image be cast away or let it come and go until it disappears from your mind.

One must remember in learning how to meditate that meditation is not about seeking enlightenment or perfection. The ultimate goal here is for you to just be, which meditation allows for us in the midst of the frenzy and chaos surrounding our world today.

Types of Meditation

November 19, 2008 by  
Filed under Types Of Meditation

Types of Meditation

Today meditation is no longer a practice being done by people who belong to the new age subculture or those who subscribe to an ancient religion such as Buddhism or Hinduism. Even health practitioners are considering meditation as a form of therapy to relieve people of stress. This is because several studies have already proven the wondrous effects of meditation. The various types of meditation have had significant impact on a health and well-being of millions. Therapists have prescribed meditation as a way to alleviate stress and anxiety. It also relieves us of some ailments such as insomnia, migraine, and high blood pressure. Consequently, meditation can also prevent lots of different illnesses.

As a result of this trend, several types of meditation are being taught by both therapists and gurus alike. Among these meditation techniques, there are a few common types of meditation that have proven to be effective and easy to follow. Most of these can be done in the comfort of your own home.

After all, meditative techniques usually run along a common thread. For one, all of them emphasize the need to quiet the mind. This means that during meditation, you have to stop thinking about anything that causes stress, not even the probable solution to stress. You simply have to let the voice in your head be quiet by thinking about nothing at all.

Aside from the obvious, it’s also important with all types of meditation  to focus on the “now” rather than the past or the future. The key here is for you to be able to experience every moment of your day and simply let it go, so that you can experience the next. This is easier said than done since most of us are constantly thinking. Common thoughts about what the future may hold or what type of day we had are not always easy to relinquish.

During meditation, we are taken to an altered state of consciousness. This is different from what we experience during sleep, or our waking life. Because of this, meditation is able to increase the level of brain activity in our minds in the areas that govern happiness and positive thoughts and emotions.

So whatever meditation techniques we choose to subscribe to, the results usually remain the same. However, they say that the different types of meditation techniques also have their own specialization. Such specializations are not constant though; as everyone is different and will  have different effects with a variety of techniques. Nonetheless, there are a few common types of meditation techniques you can begin with for you to find which suites you.

One basic technique is as simple as sitting comfortably, usually in a full lotus or cross-legged position, as you try to quiet your mind by thinking about nothing. This is called the “empty mind meditation.” The key here is to think of yourself as an observer of your own thoughts. Just let all your thoughts flow inside your mind as if a voice is narrating them but you must only listen and not be engaged by them. This is somewhat tricky at first because we have the tendency to become preoccupied with our thoughts, thus, defeating the purpose of emptying your mind.

You can try this very basic meditation technique and after that, you might want to consult an expert to help you choose the technique that suits you best. In addition, there are also different types of meditation techniques for different purposes. Below are some of these popular meditation types:

Body Meditation – this relaxation meditation usually involves a scan of the body. From head to toe you focus your attention on one body part at a time.

Transcendental Meditation – Another relaxation meditation that vrings on a state of deep restfulness. Introduced by the popular Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in the 1950’s.

Chakra Meditation – Popular Buddhist meditation that focuses on the seven energy centers known as chakras.

Energy Meditation – Focuses on the energy around us, as well as within us through meditation.

Mantra Meditation – This popular technique involves repeating specific sounds known as a mantra.

Body Meditation: How It Works

November 19, 2008 by  
Filed under Types Of Meditation

Body Meditation

Body meditation is a type of meditation that may be considered different from the conventional meditation techniques that we have known of and used for quite some time now. Indeed, what makes it different is the way we meditate, which we will explain further here as we move along.

You see in conventional meditation techniques, we let our minds focus on a single object throughout the exercise, like a lighted candle for instance, until eventually your mind becomes relaxed mentally. In body meditation, however, our focus changes to every part of your body as this exercise progresses. This in turn would allow each part of our body to relax in the process.

But how does one begin doing a body meditation? As with any meditation exercise, it all begins by placing yourself in a position you are most comfortable with. You can do it sitting down or laying down somewhere, as long as you do it in a quiet place, without any disturbances or distractions around you.

The next step would be take slow, deep breaths; we let our eyes close on their own as we do our breathing. We then focus on the scalp and let it relax completely. Don’t mind any itchiness you may feel on your scalp, let your meditation take it all away.

We move downwards now to the forehead. Let the furrows in the brow smooth themselves out in your mind. We then let our eyes relax, followed by the ears, nose, and then the mouth. These parts of our body are some of the most used body parts in our day-to-day activities, so it’s important to free them from stress experienced in our daily lives. Always remember that as we move from one body part to another, we must keep that part of our body relaxed throughout the whole exercise, even if it’s tempted not to do so.

We then move to the neck and then down to the shoulders, letting them drop a little bit to make them feel less rigid and help them relax. We now proceed to the arms; you have the option to either work on each arm or both of them at once to relax, depending on what works best for you.

From the shoulders, we move down to the hands and fingers and let them totally relax. Then working the way down the trunk of the body, we proceed to relax our lungs, chest, stomach and the abdominal area. With the top half of the body relaxed by now, we continue our way down towards the legs (working on each leg or both) then to the feet and toes. Keep your body relaxed for a few minutes; allow your eyes to open by themselves to end the exercise.

Always remember to check on the base of your spine that you feel no pressure in that area. Try not to fall asleep, this is common during relaxation exercises where we’re in the lying position. That’s why the traditional (lotus) meditative posture is often recommended with other types of mediation; it keeps us alert.

Another thing you need to know, especially if you’re doing body meditation for the first time, is that you may feel other parts of your body “un-relax” by themselves which is normal. All you have to do is to bring your focus back to that affected body part to let it relax again.

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