Meditation is a conscious mental state where our body and mind are purposefully focused and relaxed. Expert meditators swear that doing it regularly, using the right meditation technique, leads to a higher state of consciousness. They say meditation gives you better focus,sharper concentration, and increased awareness, plus a healthier positive outlook.
You don’t have to be mystic, or a ‘guru’ to enjoy the acclaimed benefits of meditation and you can literally meditate anywhere, but preferably where you don’t have to concentrate on driving a car or machinery.
Meditation has many different disciplines and approaches, but the basic fundamentals remain common to all. The ultimate focus is getting rid of negative, wandering, and obstructive thoughts by disciplining the mind to become accustomed to a higher plane of activity. Meditation seeks to get rid of the the ‘flak’ and ‘junk’ that fills your mind, replacing it with more meaningful ideas and thoughts.
Reigning in the mind through meditation, seeks to tune your thoughts to a better purpose; to clean it of rubbish and self-defeating thinking.
One school of meditation requires the removal of all outside sensory stimulation so that exterioir noises and sights are phased out.
Other meditators deliberately focus their mind on some meaningful and important thought. This is not easy because we are all very accustomed to sensory overload in our daily lives. The paradox is that by settling the mind and training it through meditation, practitioners become much more aware of what’s going on around them.
Traditionally, we are familiar with mystics contorting themselves into all sorts of weird positions when they meditate, but rather than jumping in to try yoga meditation, those starting out should simply find a comfortable position to calm the body and the mind. You could lie down, sit cross legged, or even be walking as you meditate; anything that induces an atmosphere where you can both relax and concentrate.
Ensure that your back is straight and that your muscles are not tense or uncomfortable. But, don’t become so relaxed that you fall asleep, because this is a different mind state.
You should dress in very loose, comfortable, baggy clothing that does not constrict you in any way. Many expert meditators barely cover themselves at all; maybe just with a loin cloth.
The environment for your meditation should also be peaceful, pleasant, soothing and relaxing. It could be your favourite room in the house, or in your garden, or even in a warm bath.
Should you be a bit more advanced in your meditation journey, you could consider using an exercise mat. Some people even have a favourite meditation chair. Try some of the challenging positions you might have learned from your yoga or even Pilates class. But, don’t be too hard on yourself. Practice easy positions first and build your meditation approach as you become more confident.
Some people prefer a silent atmosphere when meditating; others like some appropriate relaxing meditation music or recorded natural sounds, like whales singing, birds quitely chirping or water flowing. There are even good recorded guided medition CDs you can use to enhace your practice.
You might also like to have some pleasant incense burning, or even some nice smelling candles, to add to your peaceful meditation environment.
You will need to get instruction about this, but one school of meditation involves chanting, or humming what sounds like a monotonous noise. This is actually a mantra which has a mystic value to the person using it. Meditation chanting is a more advanced technique.