“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, describe in concise words what meditation is.
Meditation 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.
- This is a process of going within and experiencing higher awareness.
- It is a way to go within, and become aware of the real I, one’s real essence.
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.”
Purpose of Meditation
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, though many practice it for this purpose.
It can also lead to:
- Inner peace
- Mental mastery
- Spiritual awakening and enlightenment
Some of the requirements of meditation include inner work, focus, discipline and patience. It does not matter if you do not posses these skills yet. As you continue, gradually, these skills will awaken in you.
Meditation involves learning to control your mind and your attention. This is most valuable not only for this practice, but also in every area of life.
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.
- This practice 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.
Meditation Guidance and Tips
I would like to offer a few tips to for improving the ability to meditate, and to reduce the inner resistance.
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. When tired, it is difficult to focus the attention. 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.
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.
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
A few moments before you start, think about a pleasant memory or a mental image of a place that makes you feel calm and relaxed. This would increase relaxation.
9. Think about the benefits
For a few moments, think about the benefits of meditation, how it will strengthen your focus, calm down your mind, and ease 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 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. Some patience and self-discipline are useful.
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, such as guided meditation, mindfulness meditation, transcendental meditation and walking meditation, to name a few. You can also choose meditation courses. Try some of these meditative practices, to find the one most suitable for you.
Image source – DepositPhotos
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