The question is commonly asked, “Exactly what is meditation?” There’s a technical answer and then a simpler one. The first can be found in any dictionary, and goes like this: Meditation is a practice where an individual uses a technique – such as mindfulness, or focusing the mind on a particular object, thought, or activity – to train attention and awareness, and achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm and stable state.
That being said, there are a number of mental processes that can all be loosely classified as a form a meditation, including mindfulness, transcendental meditation, hypnosis, and even prayer. We feel that it is not necessary to make such important distinctions; rather, the primary goal is to reduce the amount of “mind noise,” acquire for oneself a more relaxed, aware and focused state of being, and use this new experience as a tool for dramatically enhancing one’s personal effectiveness.
Steps for Meditation
There are two essential steps for effective meditation – good posture and proper breathing. The correct posture for meditation starts by sitting upright, with the head, shoulders and hips lined up one to the others. This ensures maximum flow of energy through the body while meditating. This can be done cross-legged on the floor, on a mat, or in a comfortable chair, all according to your preferences and needs. Just as important is your breathing, an activity that is the clearest indicator of the actual condition of your mind. Your breathing while meditating should be steady, smooth and rhythmic. Doing it this way calms the restless mind and sets the right mood for concentration.
Time and Place of Meditation
It is also very helpful to engage in this practice systematically, doing so each morning and evening. Although there is no fixed time, practicing meditation in the morning, when you first wake up, is most opportune time to do so. Your subconscious mind is most active upon rising, and you can therefore train your mind to think positively from the outset, thereby accomplishing as much as possible throughout the day. Again, you can practice one or two times a day, but consistency is the essential key to success. The place doesn’t matter; simply choose one that is solitary and where you will not be disturbed by others.
Diet and Hygiene
Your diet should be moderate, and you should not overeat, for if you do, then all your energy is spent on digesting your food. After a few weeks of practicing moderation, youwill develop greater control over your palate and once this occurs, all other senses will fall in place. A daily shower is essential in maintaining good hygiene, a crucial component in achieving and maintaining well-being.
Repetition of OM Word
Lastly, there is great value in repeating a specific sacred word or any word that brings your attention back to center and into sharper focus. We strongly recommending adopting the universal sound of “OM” for this purpose. By definition, Om is all encompassing, the essence of ultimate reality, and unifies everything in the universe. But again, if you prefer something closer to your heart, that’s fine too, as long as it assists rather than distracting you.
Benefits of Meditation
There are many benefits to meditation! The primary reported, positive changes, all of which are well-discussed in scientifically validated literature, include:
– Decreased stress
– Reduced anxiety & depression
– Better sleep
– Improved focus
– Enhanced overall performance
Additionally, meditation has been shown to lower blood pressure, improve blood sugar levels (a great benefit for diabetics!), and has even been associated with increased longevity and quality of life studies. The evidence for its benefits is so overwhelmingly positive that no one alive today has any more excuses to rely on when it comes to keeping to a simple meditation schedule.
The Science of Meditation
There is so much science on the validity and value of meditation that it would literally fill a book! That being said, what follows is an excellent summary of the most current scientific findings. In 2011, researchers at Harvard University found that meditation can actually change the structure of the brain, increasing cortical thickness in the hippocampus (the part of the brain that controls learning and memory), as well as in areas of the brain that regulate emotion There were also decreases in brain cell volume in the amygdala, the part of the brain responsible for fear, anxiety, and stress. This meant that meditators FELT BETTER and HANDLED STRESS more easily. In short, meditation changes the brain, and very much for the better!
We use affiliate programs to help fund this app and keep it free for you. At no extra cost to you, we may receive some compensation for a purchase you make using one of these links.
Here are a few recommendations we have related to this topic:
Noise Canceling Headphones to eliminate distractions while meditating. Covers the ears and is bluetooth.
This Meditation Mat helps prevent knees and legs pain – certified organic
For more support this Memory Foam Meditation Cushion is good to help improve posture and help align your chakras.