“Meditation is sticking to one thought. That single thought keeps away other thoughts; distraction of mind is a sign of its weakness; by constant meditation it gains strength”.
– Sri Ramana Maharshi
These words, from one of the great spiritual teachers, Sri Ramana Maharshi, describes in concise words what meditation is. It means focusing your mind on one thought, and keeping away all other thoughts. This leads to inner peace, a quiet mind, and the ability to control your mind and your thoughts.
In this article, I would like to talk about meditation definitions, suggest a few tips, and impart some general information about this topic.
Let’s first start with a few definitions.
How can we define meditation? What does it mean?
Here are a few short definitions and descriptions.
- Meditation is a technique for calming down the nonstop activity of the mind and experiencing inner peace.
- It is a way to freedom from constantly nagging thoughts and worries.
- It is a method for relaxing the body and reducing stress and anxiety.
- It is a way to go within and experience a higher awareness.
- It is a way to go within and find out your real I, your real essence.
- It is a way for spiritual growth and is a spiritual practice.
Meditation definition according to Cambridge dictionary: “The act of giving your attention to only one thing, either as a religious activity or as a way of becoming calm and relaxed.”
Meditation definition according to Merriam Webster: “To engage in mental exercise (such as concentration on one’s breathing or repetition of a mantra) for the purpose of reaching a heightened level of spiritual awareness.”
Encyclopedia Britannica says
“Private devotion or mental exercise encompassing various techniques of concentration, contemplation, and abstraction, regarded as conducive to heightened self-awareness, spiritual enlightenment, and physical and mental health.”
Definition according to Wikipedia: “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.”
Meditation plays an important role in many religions and spiritual traditions, and has always been practiced everywhere, from ancient times until the present day.
It is not only a technique for relaxing the body. Tt can also lead to inner peace, happiness, spiritual awakening and enlightenment.
Meditation involves inner work, focus, discipline and patience. Start to meditate even if you do not possess these skills. Gradually, as you continue meditating these skills will awaken in you.
There are many forms, techniques and traditions, which people practice for various reasons and aims, such as for relaxation, mental mastery, and for inner peace. Some, practice it for the purpose of attaining spiritual awakening and enlightenment.
The Benefits of Meditation
What are the benefits of meditation? Here are a few of them:
- Meditation calms down the body and the mind and conserves the energy.
- It reduces stress and anxiety.
- It normalizes the blood pressure and has a healing effect on the body.
- It improves the focus and the power of concentration, sharpens the mind, and awakens the intuition.
- Its constant practice reduces the number of restless thoughts in the mind and brings inner peace, happiness and a sense of bliss.
- It teaches you to live in the present moment.
- Its practice improves the emotional and mental health.
- It can lead to the expansion of consciousness Spiritual Awakening, Enlightenment and Nirvana.
Other benefits of meditation include better focus, a happy and positive state of mind and more patience.
Meditation Guidance and Tips
When you start meditating, you might encounter some inner resistance, because the mind does not like to be controlled by you. Don’t give in to the tendency to procrastinate and give up.
I would like to offer a few tips to help you improve your ability to meditate and to reduce the inner resistance of your mind.
Read the tips attentively, and apply them to any technique that you choose to practice.
1. Meditate everyday
If you wish to achieve real results, it is important that you meditate every day. It is best to meditate regularly, even if it is just for a few minutes. If you sit down to meditate every day at the same time, after a while, this will become a habit, and you would encounter less inner resistance and need less effort.
2. Keep up a positive attitude
A positive state of mind ensures that you have motivation, enthusiasm and perseverance.
3. If tired get rest first
Do not meditate when you are tired, since you might lose your focus or fall asleep. When tired, it is difficult to focus the attention on the meditation. It is better to rest first.
4. Find a quiet place
Meditate in a quiet place, where you can be undisturbed. Noises and distractions spoil your concentration and disturb your inner peace. Conversations you hear while meditating, street and cars noises, TV and the radio, your smartphone, all of them disturb the focus, do not allow you to meditate, and make your mind wander away.
5. A comfortable position
Sit in a comfortable position with your spine erect. You can sit on the floor, on a cushion, or on a chair. There is no need to sit cross legged, unless you find it convenient. Do what you find most convenient and comfortable.
The important thing is to keep your body as comfortable as possible, and with your back straight. There is absolutely no need to sit in a difficult and uncomfortable position that tenses your body and disturbs your focus.
6. Deep breathing
After sitting down, take a few slow deep breaths. Inhaling and exhaling will calm down your mind and body.
Breathe slowly in, hold your breath briefly, and then exhale slowly. There is no need for complicated breathing techniques. The aim is just to relax the body and the mind.
Relax your body. Pay attention to your body and calm down each tensed muscle. Start from your feet, up to your head, focusing on each part of your body, becoming aware of the tension, and then relaxing it.
8. Use your imagination
To increase relaxation, for a few moments before you start, think on a pleasant memory or a mental image of a place that makes you feel calm and relaxed.
9. Think about the benefits
Think for a few moments about the benefits of meditation, how it will strengthen your focus, calm down your mind and ease your stress and tension.
10. Resolve to disregard distracting thoughts
Before starting to meditate, tell your mind that all thoughts will have now to wait until you finish… Be clear and firm about that.
11. Keep your mind focused
Stay calm, physically, mentally and emotionally and keep a state of focused attention. The more focused the attention is, the easier it is to ignore thoughts and distractions. This might not be easy, but with perseverance, and training your focus it would become easier.
12. Do not tense your body
Strive not to tense your body. If you feel that tenseness is increasing within your body, stop for a moment and relax your body.
13. Cultivate patience and perseverance
Continue despite difficulties and inconvenience. Just display some patience and self-discipline.
10 minutes of practice are quite enough for a beginner. In time, as you gain experience and expertise, you may increase the time.
There are many forms of meditation to choose, such as guided meditation, mindfulness meditation, transcendental meditation and walking meditation. There are also available meditation courses. Try some of these meditative practices, to find the one most suitable for you.
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