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Part 1: The Stages of The Mind
Before you can begin practicing meditation you do need to understand what it is and why you need to use this method of relaxation. The brain is the primary tool that you’ll use to define this process. But, you may not realize that when the brain is in a “normal” state that it actually is very abnormal in what it is doing.
To help you to understand meditation, we must first break down the different stages in which the brain functions so that you can see the state of mind that you are functioning in most often.
The Stages of the Mind
There are three unique stages in the brain that depicts how it is functioning at any one time. When you consider meditation, only going through these three stages can actually get you to achieve the serenity that you are after with meditation.
Stage One: The Normal Mind
In the “normal” state of mind, your mind is working in various directions. It is functioning as it usually does which means it is bouncing from one idea and thought to the next. In fact, this is quite abnormal activity for the brain because it needs to focus on a lesser amount of ideas if it is to be successful in resolving problems.
Stimuli from all over the place are coming in at the brain. When something new stimulates your mind, it moves from its previous thought to the new one. Although you feel like you are completely in control of yourself during this type of brain function, you likely aren’t.
You have very little control over the way that you behave and think during this type of situation. Not only do your thoughts move from one thing to the next thing quickly, but your physical being is doing the same thing too. Your emotions follow suit, too.
An example of this type of brain activity can be as simple as seeing a child playing. If you see that child while you are driving, your mind goes from control of the vehicle to the child. She’s cute, playing and riding her bike. Then, your mind moves to thoughts from your own childhood. You feel good and smile at the happy memories.
Of course, it doesn’t always play out so innocently. You can go through these same thought and emotional processes with negative images too. Consider if that child was a teenager, doing something that they shouldn’t be. Now, you are wondering about your own children, what they are doing that you don’t know about. And, your emotions follow you too with thoughts that are fearful and tense.
In a negative situation, you are likely to become distracted by the thoughts playing through your mind which then directly impacts the way that you drive your vehicle. Perhaps you run a red light or, you narrowly miss a car accident.
As you can see, in your normal state of mind, your emotions as well as your physical being are at stake. Each plays their own role in the outcome of these events.
Often, stresses build up during this process and since it is our “normal” state of mind, they pile on over time. You can find yourself unable to concentrate on anything and overtime you can have trouble balancing all that you have to do in your everyday life.
For the most part, your “normal” way of thinking may be one of the worst things that you can do for yourself.
Part 2: Benefits You Experience
Meditation allows you to focus, allowing you to accomplish your tasks in a better method as well as faster.
Meditation allows you to improve your level of stress. By reducing stress, you will make better decisions and fully handle problems effectively.
Meditation allows you to communicate more effectively, through more defined words that ultimately lead you to a better realm.
Meditation allows you to improve your health including helps to improve heart conditions, cancer risks, high blood pressure and plenty of other conditions. By lowering stress levels on the body, you can heal faster and more effectively from any of these experiences.
Meditation allows you to be a better friend and family member. Through the dedication of those around you, you all can become enlightened and therefore on a higher realm of being.
Meditation promotes health of the mind, too. By allowing your mind to enter this improved state, you can create for yourself an amazing of being, which allows you to think clearer. It helps to keep your mind sharp.
Meditation allows you to become the real you, the one that you want to be, rather than the person that is held captive by the world around them. If you meditate, you can learn quite a bit about yourself as well as the world around you!
There are many more benefits to meditation. For each person, this experience is going to be quite unique. If you wish to find out what it can offer you, you must learn to meditate. There is nothing negative that can come of meditation and what’s more there is quite a bit of good that can come out from it.
Part 3: A word of Warning
As you begin meditation, you should realize that the process can bring up feelings, thoughts and even traumatic events that happened in your past. If you have repressed memories or otherwise are psychologically affected by meditation, don’t give up on it. You should work with a skilled instructor though to work through these problems so that meditation can be successful for you.
Meditation may not be for you if you are a person that is paranoid, have problems with delusions or are facing high levels of anxiety to the point of not being able to function properly. These individuals often find that meditation can be helpful, but only when under guidance from their doctors. Those that have psychotic episodes of any sort should work with their meditation specialist first and foremost before starting their own meditation.
Those that are interested in meditation but are worried about what could happen during meditation should insure that they have a skilled meditation specialist to help them through the first few episodes.
Meditation is an art form that has come down from all types of cultures and from ancient civilizations. Yet, each form comes from its own place, making it a bit unique from others.
One thing that you will notice about meditation is its ability to change with the culture and therefore you’ll find various names for some of the techniques and styles that you find. In addition, you will find countless religious or mystical applications to meditation as well. As you move through meditation, realize that each aspect is different in where it is from and how it is used, yet all strive to offer the same end result to you.
For example, in ancient Christian training of the spirit, meditation is the process of thinking with a good amount of concentration on a topic. Yet, in Eastern meditation, meditation doesn’t have any such meaning. Instead, you are doing the opposite of thinking about a topic.
The goal of meditation in this form is to become detached; to pull away from your thoughts and then allow the silence to open up to you. When this happens, your mind becomes quite. In Eastern meditation arts, this is called the relaxation response that your body presents. Yet, in Christian mystical practices, it is called contemplation, which we have already touched on.
Part 4: Meditating In A Simple Form First
Simple mediation can start like this.
Find a location that’s quiet and where you know you won’t be bothered. You are looking for ten to twenty minutes of undisturbed meditation here. Turn off all telephones and anything else that could become a distraction.
Now, sit comfortably and quietly. Keep your back in position with your spine vertically aligned. Remember that posture is something that you need to make happen.
Commit to what you are doing right now. That means not allowing distraction to play a role now. Commit to not being interrupted by anything happening in the world around you. Most importantly, remove anything from the room or from your line of view that could be a potential distraction. Commit to performing meditation.
Select a word that fits into your natural belief system. For example, use “love” “peace” or others. If you are religious, select a work of a short phrase that signifies what you believe. “Hallelujah” or “Om” make good choices. Close your eyes once you’ve selected the right word. Closing your eyes helps you to enter into relaxation.
Now, we’ll go through the body and relax each of the muscles in it. Start with your toes. Consciously think to yourself that your toes should relax and feel them relax. Next, move to your feet, your legs and so on. You want to allow each of your muscles to relax. Make sure to include your neck, your jaw, your pelvis, back, your arms, fingers and hands, and shoulders. As this happens, feel the tension leave your body.
Continue to breathe through the process in deep, long breathes and repeat your mediation word over and over again. Breathe in, say your word, breathe out, and repeat. You don’t need to say the word out loud, but rather mentally pronounce it.
Use the passive attitude that we’ve talked about. If any thoughts come into your mind while you are sitting, relaxing, let them go out simply by telling yourself “oh well.” Most people will have trouble with this at first, so don’t worry about how well you are doing. Just let go of those words the best that you can. Keep repeating your meditation word, too.
Keep this going for ten minutes at least and strive for twenty. Don’t use any alarm to warn you, just open your eyes for a moment to check.
Sit and relax for several minutes once you’ve come out of your meditation. Keep your eyes closed for a couple of minutes before opening them. Don’t stand up just yet. Allow yourself time to come back into reality before doing so.
You should try to do this simple meditation at least once a day but two or more times per day really can have a positive effect on your daily stresses. Many people find that this simple meditation works well before they get their day started, when they are fully rested and before they have eaten breakfast.
When you have practiced this type of mediation for several days or even longer, you should learn the benefits of meditation and what it can offer. If you don’t feel any different, you may not be following each step appropriately. You need to focus on relaxation not on whether or not meditation is going to heal all of you.
Part 5: Walking Meditation
One other type of meditation that you can easily incorporate into your daily lifestyle is that of Walking Meditation. The process seems much simpler than it is, but it’s worth the try because it can allow you to enter into a new enlightenment no matter where you are.
Walking meditation does take practice so plan on giving it a few chances before you write it off as something that’s not working for you.
Here’s how walking meditation works.
Start by paying attention to your body as you walk. You should take note of the way it feels, not just walking but how it affects each part of your body. You should feel the ground hitting the bottom of your foot. You should feel the muscles in your legs and back tighten with each step that you take. Pay attention to these things.
Focus your attention, now on each of your feet. Start with just one foot. As it hits the ground, take notice of it. Feel the next foot come up and go down, notice how it feels too. Continue to do this over and over again until it almost becomes a mantra that you are saying to yourself.
If your mind begins to wander off, force yourself to focus on your movements again. Your eyes should be watching in front of you, without really looking at anything in particular. Don’t focus on anything else. This will help you to take your meditation to the next level of meditation.
Why should you use walking meditation? Its simple. When was the last time that you paid attention to the actually walking part of your movements?
You think about the countless things you have to do, where you are going and who’s talking to you, but not the movements of walking itself, which can offer a high level of relaxation when focused on.
By concentrating on walking itself, you can better experience relaxation and the movements of walking itself. Through this, you can enter into a new awareness of the world around you and of your physical self.