A beginners’ guide to meditation
What is meditation?
Meditation is the acquiescence of extreme inner peace and calm, a state of mind and body which is away from all worries and materialistic sufferings. A mind that is not stressed at all and is free. Free to dwell in serenity. It is basically a behaviour ensured to rest your mind and is a scientific process. Meditation ensures awareness and takes you close to nature. Silence is the key to meditation.
Meditation teaches you the art of letting go. The art that teaches you to prevent distraction. The art of jettisoning all the worldly troubles, questions and curiosity. A conscious state of mind is reached through meditation along with providing relaxation of body and mind. During meditation, a person is fully alert and awake but it’s the mind which is carefree yet focused.
The process of meditation?
We are habitual of dwelling in the outside world. Finding peace, happiness in the outside world, through other people. What we haven’t learned is looking inside. Inside our mind and body. Dealing in self realisation and self acceptance. Finding joy, peace and company within ourselves.
According to Ajahn Brahmavamso meditation is knowing the difference between two main functions of mind i.e. ‘Knowing’ and ‘Doing’ and to stop the process of doing while maintaining the ‘knowledge’ of the brain.
Surroundings play an important role in the process of meditation. Certain factors that need attention before you start with meditation are :-
- Place – Place constitutes majorly the surroundings where you are ready to meditate. The cleaner and quieter the place, the better results are to be yielded. Clean environment will leave you with positivity whereas quietness will allow your brain to dwell in peace and relax.
- Time – Time again holds a similar importance like place. The suitable time depends from person to person but the time of sunrise and sunset are quiet and one should practise during this time.
- Posture – Your body posture will have a direct affect on your thinking and concentration. You must sit in a position that is comfortable for you. Moreover, keep your spine erect and straight, make yourself relaxed and shut your eyes.
- Warm – up – Warming up for at least 5 minutes performing meditation would help in regular flow of blood throughout the body and would also keep your muscles relaxed and ready.
- Activities performed – Taking a few deep breaths helps maintain the breath rhythm during meditation and escalates the peacefulness of mind.
After going through these pre meditation activities, the real process or journey of meditation starts. The journey that will eventually lead you to self satisfaction, happiness and inner peace. The certain things that need to be kept in mind while performing meditation are :-
- Don’t chant any ‘mantra’ – Silence is the key.
- Eyes are the doors to your mind, therefore they should be closed.
- Mind is the bundle of thoughts, reduce the density of thoughts.
- Do not inhale or exhale consciously.
- Do not pay heed to queries, questions or thoughts.
5 Step guide to meditation
- Relaxation – Relaxation is the ultimate relaxation of mind and body. The starting process of meditation is the state of relaxation or the state of letting go. Letting go of all worries and tension and making your body and mind still. The moment you stop all the activities of moving your body and travelling through your mind, you are relaxed and you reach a state of calmness and serenity.
- Concentration – Concentration is keeping yourself away from any kind of distractions and focusing on simpler things. Dwelling in the deeper state of mind and exploring it. Your mind must be pure for concentration. It would then allow you to use your time productively and effectively and to focus on thoughts that you have chosen for yourself.
- Contemplation – Contemplation is basically reflecting on your inner self. Knowing yourself better and finding yourself. Contemplating your inner values and finding peace, happiness and gratification without looking for an outside source.
- Realisation – You realise to let go of certain thoughts you are holding into. Thoughts that are repetitive, thoughts that are either painful or seek happiness are learned to be controlled. So, realisation is when my knowledge of things and my desires combine to form a more meaningful reality.
- Meditation – A combination of relaxation, concentration, contemplation and realisation is meditation. Meditation is when you learn to focus on thoughts, recognise your inner self and re-awaken a calmer, peaceful and happier self of yours.
Now, all those who have doubts regarding the benefits of meditation and what would it help you achieve. Meditation helps you attain emotional, mental, spiritual and physical well-being. Here, I present to you the various advantages of meditation.
- Acts as a stress reducer :- One of the most significant impact that you will have once you start practising meditation on a regular basis is stress reduction. Our current lifestyle has made a large number of people a victim of stress which, if not seriously takes the form of depression and is a very serious issue. To live life happily and peacefully, an individual must be away from all worries and tensions in life. Meditation reduces the production of ‘Cortisol’ – A stress inducing chemical in our body and increases the production of ‘Serotonin’ – A chemical that enhances mood.
- Makes you optimistic :- The freshness of mind and body is the attribute to meditation. It provides you with inner peace, calmness and energy all of which are ultimately the constituents of positivity and optimism in life. Such an optimistic approach eventually leads to success in life.
- Enhances self – esteem and acceptance :- Meditation helps you control your thoughts and emotions. It energises you and provides you with a fresh feeling. You are able to judge things properly and begin to grow confidence in yourself. This enables you to build self esteem and learn to accept the way you are.
- Helps build social connections :- The main reason some people are unable to build social connections is their lack of confidence to interact with others. Once you start to meditate, you build self esteem and confidence which makes you interact with people around you and thus builds strong social connections.
- Improves creative thinking :- Creativity is directly connected to your cognitive ability and your mental skills. Once you start meditating, you learn to remain focused. Your mind learns to expand its vision and thinking. Your creativity will boost in silence and peace. Away from all the hustle and bustle where you can concentrate all of which is a prerequisite for the meditation process.
- Provides happiness and peace :- As mentioned earlier, an individual learns to control his/her thoughts when they transcend into the world of meditation. The qualities of love, peace and happiness are all within ourselves but we try to find all these in the outside world. Meditation helps you achieve the ability to acquire peace and happiness within yourself. It helps you ignore all the negative aspects present in your life and focus on the positivity.
- Keeps you young :- Results show that people indulging in meditation are likely to look young and age slowly. The reason that ensures such a glowing look in an individual is the reduction in body’s production of free radicals. Free radicals are the organic molecules responsible for aging. Moreover, the reduction in stress and anxiety levels
- Lessens heart related problems :- Research shows that people practising meditation are less likely to suffer a heart stroke. Meditation significantly reduces the heart rate and enables improved blood circulation in the body.
- Reduces blood pressure :- One of the main reasons behind increased blood pressure in people is high levels of stress, anxiety and tension in life. A study further suggests that meditation helps in producing ‘telomerase’ – an enzyme holistic to reduced blood pressure.
- Increases energy levels and enhances immune system :- Immune system is highly receptive to your thoughts both positive and negative. It develops well in the positive environment which is created through meditation. Meditation stimulates the functioning of various brain regions that act as a command transmitters for the immune system.
Difference between Yoga and Meditation
A lot of people seem confused about Yoga and meditation and often consider both of them as the same. Yoga is the umbrella under which stands meditation. Meditation is a part of Yoga. While Yoga focuses on various aspects like different ‘Asanas’ and exercises, attained through different physical postures with each one attributing a separate benefit for health and body ; Meditation on the other hand is restricted to mental peace and stability. It just focuses on your mind
Are you quite busy in your daily life and want to practise meditation from the beginning then you can anytime take the digital help. There are various amazing apps available for you that will guide you through the process. Some of the prominent applications are :-
- ‘Smiling Mind’ and
In the nutshell, I would say that meditation holds a lot of significance especially in today’s lifestyle where everyone is busy, tired and is looking for peace. But meditation will teach you that the quest for peace can only be gained from within. One will learn to find calmness, peace and happiness in the inner self. Meditation in itself is a rigorous process, you will have to dedicate time but what you will gain from it is limitless and exceptional. Meditation will have a drastic change in your lifestyle, needless to say ‘for the better’.