Meditation Guidance, Tips and Advice
By Remez Sasson
"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
What Is Meditation?
Meditation is more than just a technique for relaxing the body. It is a method for relaxing the nonstop activity of the mind, so that you experience peace of mind in your everyday life. Its purpose is also to help you gain freedom from constantly nagging thoughts and worries, and quiet the chatter of your mind.
In its higher forms, meditation leads to inner peace and happiness, and to spiritual awakening and enlightenment.
Meditation plays an important role in various religions and spiritual traditions, and has always been practiced everywhere, from ancient times until the present day. There have always been people, who had the desire to go within, beyond the mind, and to discover who and what they are, and attain a higher spiritual consciousness.
There are many forms, techniques and traditions, which are practiced and followed for various reasons and aims, for relaxation and health, for mental mastery and inner peace, and of course, for attaining spiritual awakening and enlightenment, and for discovering who you really are.
What Are the Benefits of Meditation?
- 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 bliss.
In order to obtain these results, meditation has to be practiced every day, at least once a day. If you are a beginner, you may start with only 10 minutes and even less, and gradually increase the time.
Two Forms of Meditation
Essentially, there are two forms of meditation:
- One form of meditation requires focusing the mind on a certain activity, such as on the breathing process, or on a physical object, a mental image, a word, a thought or a quality of character.
- The other form, which is more advanced, does not require that you focus on anything in particular. You just need to try to empty your mind of all thoughts, and strive to be aware of the inner silence and calmness that results when you stop thinking. For better results, this form of meditation should preferably be practiced after one is well trained with the first form.
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Meditation Guidance, Tips and Advice
Below, you will find guidance for meditation, and a few tips to help you improve your ability to meditate, reduce the inner resistance of the mind, and improve your chances of success. Read these tips attentively, and apply them to any technique that you choose to practice. You can find a few meditation techniques, together, with guidance and tips here.
- It is important to meditate every day. It is better to meditate regularly, even if it is for a few minutes, than only occasionally.
- Keep up a positive attitude. A positive state of mind ensures that you have motivation, enthusiasm and perseverance.
- Do not meditate when you are tired. When tired, it is difficult to focus the attention and fix it on your meditation.
- Meditate in a place, where you can be alone and 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, disturb the focus, do not allow you to meditate, and will make your mind wander away.
- Sit in a comfortable position with your spine erect. You can sit on the floor, on a cushion, or on a chair. Do what you find more convenient. 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.
- After sitting down, take a few slow deep breaths. This will calm down your mind and body.
- Relax your body before starting to meditate. Pay attention to your body and calm down each tensed muscle.
- To increase relaxation, you might find it useful, if for a few moments you think about a pleasant memory or a mental image of a place that makes you feel calm and relaxed.
- Think for a few moments about the benefits of meditation, how it will strengthen your focus, calm down your mind, ease stress and tension, etc.
- Before you start to meditate, tell yourself that all thoughts, ideas and plans will have now to wait until you finish, and that nothing is going to distract your mind.
- Start meditating calmly, but with focused attention. The more focused the attention is, the easier it is to ignore thoughts and other distractions.
- Strive to stay calm, both mentally and physically, and not to tense your body. If you feel that tenseness is increasing within your body, stop for a moment, and relax your body.
- Patience and self discipline should be always cultivated. These skills would enable you to continue with your practice, despite difficulties and inconvenience.
- 10 minutes of practice are quite enough for a beginner. In time, as you gain experience and expertise, you may increase the time.
- Start with a simple technique. Below are two examples. Try them both, and decide which one you like more.
Two Meditation Techniques
1. Focus your attention on your incoming and outgoing breath
For a few minutes, focus your attention on your breath. Breathe normally, while focusing on the act of breathing in and breathing out. Be careful not to strain your breath or your body.
Just be aware of the act of breathing, while breathing calmly and attentively. If your mind wanders away, brings it back, over and again.
2. Focus on an inspiring quote.
Choose an inspiring quote. There are many places where you can find such quotes. Memorize the quotes, and repeat it in your mind, trying to find its deep meaning, beyond the written words.
Try one or both techniques, to find out with which one you feel is more comfortable for you, and stick with it for some time.
"Meditation brings wisdom; lack of meditation leaves ignorance. Know well what leads you forward and what hold you back, and choose the path that leads to wisdom."