Meditation – A quick guide
~ MEDITATION – WHAT IS IT? ~
“Meditation is offering your genuine presence to yourself in every moment,” – Thich Nhat Hanh
The word ‘meditation’ comes from two Latin words: ‘meditari’ (to think) and ‘mederi’ (to heal). The Sanskrit origin of the word is ”medha” which means wisdom.
The earliest recording of meditation actually comes from India in Hinduism as a system of physical, mental and spiritual exercise. Four aspects from the tradition are ethical restraint, self-discipline, mental focus, and physical exercise.
Meditation does not have to be religious or even spiritual, although through the practice of learning to quiet your mind, you are likely to be able to hear your inner voice more clearly, and should allow your awareness to shift to something higher than yourself.
Simply put, meditation will help you gain back control on your awareness of all things, and to be mindfully present within each moment.
Meditation can help decrease stress, depression and anxiety, aid in lowering blood pressure, bring relief for physical illness such as fibromyalgia, and aid breathing difficulties. In having a direct impact on the process of our brain, it can help reset our behavioral patterns.
The six types of meditation are:
– Breath watching
– Empty mind
– Walking or physical
– Simple mantra
– Concept (guided visualization)
“Meditation is not about finding solutions to problems, but about changing our attitude towards the problem.”
Your environment and physical posture are important during meditation, allowing yourself to be completely receptive to the experience and allowing your mind to rest. If you are uncomfortable, or if there are noises to distract you, you are likely to find it harder to ‘switch off.’
A mantra is a repeated group of words or sentence that have a phonetic impact and emotional significance. The key to working with mantras is being able to connect with the vibration of what we are repeating. The sound vibrations help awaken our desire for higher communication within our hearts and minds. The energy of our mantra is then infused into our consciousness.
Sometimes however, the act of meditation can have negative consequence as it has been used to avoid physical responsibilities and to escape from the world. If meditation is allowed to take over your life, it can cause anxiety, confusion, emotional unbalance, spontaneous trance state, unwanted psychic activity, difficulty concentrating, an experience of invasive thoughts and emotions, insomnia.
If the above occurs, meditation should not be practiced for several days while these side effects are processed. The rules below should be adhered to as a precaution:
– Do not meditate if suffering from any form of psychological disorder or if taking drugs for a psychological condition unless under the guidance of a qualified psychologist or psychotherapist.
– Never commence meditation without a proper method of opening and closing your mind and energy
– Keep a journal to monitor your mental and emotional state
– If you have any unwanted experiences, discontinue practice until you have identified the source
– Do not undertake extreme or intense practices of meditation that may cause psychological show or physical stress
– Moderate your practice to 15-20 minutes a day
Tools can be used during meditation to help provide a comfortable setting, such as gentle music, candles, and incense. Crystals can also help provide a focus point, as well as additional healing benefit for those comfortable with using them. Visual aids such as tarot can be used to help guide your intention, but this should only be done after experience of being able to properly open and close your energy.
To start a meditation session, I would keep things simple by not concentrating too hard on what you’re doing, ultimately there is no right or wrong way, just allow your attention to be on your breath for a few minutes. Keep allowing your breathing to be natural, and then when you’re ready, with your eyes closed, begin to take deeper breaths; breathing in through your nose as you fully expand your diaphragm, and allowing yourself to slowly and fully exhale. If your thoughts start to wander, bring your focus back to your breath until your can experience a calm and quiet mind. If you try too hard your mind will remain full, so allow yourself to practice as gently and naturally as you can without any prior expectations, simply allowing yourself to be fully present in that moment.
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