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Meditation

Image result for meditation techniquesMeditation is a practice where an individual trains the mind or induces a mode of consciousness, either to realize some benefit or for the mind to simply acknowledge its content without becoming identified with that content, or as an end in itself.

The term meditation refers to a broad variety of practices that includes techniques designed to promote relaxation, build internal energy or life force (qi, ki, prana, etc.) and develop compassion, love, patience, generosity, and forgiveness. A particularly ambitious form of meditation aims at effortlessly sustained single-pointed concentration meant to enable its practitioner to enjoy an indestructible sense of well-being while engaging in any life activity.

The word meditation carries different meanings in different contexts. Meditation has been practiced since antiquity as a component of numerous religious traditions and beliefs. Meditation often involves an internal effort to self-regulate the mind in some way. Meditation is often used to clear the mind and ease many health concerns, such as high blood pressure, depression, and anxiety. It may be done sitting, or in an active way—for instance, Buddhist monks involve awareness in their day-to-day activities as a form of mind-training. Prayer beads or other ritual objects are commonly used during meditation in order to keep track of or remind the practitioner about some aspect of that training.Meditation has a great deal in common with climbing a mountain. When you reach the summit of the meditation mountain, what do you see? If we can trust the reports of the meditators and mystics who have climbed the mountain before us, we can declare with some confidence that the top of the mountain harbors the source of all love, wisdom, happiness, and joy. Some people call it spirit or soul, true nature or true self, the ultimate truth or the ground of being (or just being itself). Others call it God or the Divine or the Holy Mystery, or simply the One. There are nearly as many names for it as people who experience it. And some spiritual traditions consider it so sacred and powerful that they hesitate to give it a name.

Image result for meditation techniquesMeditation may involve generating an emotional state for the purpose of analyzing that state—such as anger, hatred, etc.—or cultivating a particular mental response to various phenomena, such as compassion. The term “meditation” can refer to the state itself, as well as to practices or techniques employed to cultivate the state. Meditation may also involve repeating a mantra and closing the eyes.The mantra is chosen based on its suitability to the individual meditator.

Meditation has a calming effect and directs awareness inward until pure awareness is achieved, described as “being awake inside without being aware of anything except awareness itself.”In brief, there are dozens of specific styles of meditation practice, and many different types of activity commonly referred to as meditative practices.Meditation is simply the practice of focusing your attention on a particular object — generally something simple, like a word or phrase, a candle flame or geometrical figure, or the coming and going of your breath. In everyday life, your mind is constantly processing a barrage of sensations, visual impressions, emotions, and thoughts. When you meditate, you narrow your focus, limit the stimuli bombarding your nervous system — and calm your mind in the process. The reason meditation works so effectively is that it connects you with a spiritual dimension, which different commentators give different names, but many people simply call it “being.”As for the experience of reaching the summit, seasoned meditates use words like enlightenment (from ignorance), awakening (from a dream), liberation (from bondage), freedom (from limitation), and union (with God or being).

To experience the benefits of meditation, regular practice is necessary. It takes only a few minutes every day. Once imbibed into the daily routine, meditation becomes the best part of your day.Meditation is like a seed. When you cultivate a seed with love, the more it blossoms.

Busy people from all backgrounds are grateful to pause and enjoy a refreshing few minutes of meditation each day. Dive deep into yourself and enrich your life.

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Meditation is an activity in which the practitioner just sits and allows the mind to dissolve. In Art of Living, meditation is a simplified activity which can easily be practiced by all. Meditation is not concentration. It is de-concentration from everything surrounding you. If, as the old saying goes, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, then the journey of meditation begins with the cultivation of awareness, or attention. In fact, awareness is the mental muscle that carries you along and sustains you on your journey, not only at the start but every step of the way. No matter which path or technique you choose, the secret of meditation lies in developing, focusing, and directing your awareness. (Incidentally, attention is just slightly focused awareness.)

In meditation, you can do the following:

-Increase your powers of awareness by developing concentration on a particular object.

-Through the practice of receptive awareness, expand your awareness to illuminate the full range of your experience.

-Cultivate positive emotions and mind-states.

-Investigate your inner experience and contemplate the nature of existence itself.

These four conditions — concentration, receptive awareness, contemplation, and cultivation — constitute the major uses of awareness throughout the world’s great meditative traditions. “Meditation techniques are just different paths up the same mountain.”

The rest in meditation is deeper than the deepest sleep that you can ever have. When the mind becomes free from agitation, is calm and serene and at peace, meditation happens.

We can use a variety of techniques Image result for meditation techniquesto sharpen your sense of awareness. Here are a few of the many techniques that have been developed over the centuries:

-Repeating a meaningful word or phrase, known as a mantra

-Being mindfully aware of the present moment

-Following or counting your breath

-Paying attention to the flow of sensations in your body

-Cultivating loving, kindness, compassion, forgiveness, and other healing emotions

-Concentrating on a geometric shape or other simple visual object

-Visualizing a peaceful place or a healing energy or entity

-Reading and reflection upon inspirational or sacred writings

-Gazing at a picture of a holy being or saint

-Contemplating nature

-Chanting praises to the Divine

There are numerous benefits of meditation. It is an essential practice for mental hygiene.

  • A calm mind
  • Good concentration
  • Clarity of perception
  • Improvement in communication
  • Blossoming of skills and talents
  • An unshakable inner strength
  • Healing
  • The ability to connect to an inner source of energy
  • Relaxation, rejuvenation, and good luck are all natural results of meditating regularly.

Simple meditation techniques which will help us and are very effective to have a deeper meditation experience:

  • We shoul Choose a convenient time and place, than
  • Image result for meditation techniquesSit comfortably with a light stomach and

Start with some warm-up exercises, deep breaths, Smile and more…

Before we start our meditation we should do the following:

  • Choose a clean, distraction-free spot or room in your home, though you can do it sitting in your chair at the office during lunch-hour, too! If it is at home, it is better not to use this space for any other activity.
  • Ensure the lighting is soothing and the ventilation sufficient – and the noise-levels under control.
  • You can listen to guided meditations, but it is better to start with a group.
  • Meditate at the same time every day, so it becomes a sustainable routine. Early morning is an optimal time.
  • Don’t overdo it. Start by meditating for 10-15 minutes. Keep a timer
  • Shut up – the cellphone. Tell your family you are on Do Not Disturb mode for a short spell of time, till your meditation is over.
  • And,  wear comfortable clothes, preferably of natural fabric.

At work today’s levels of stress makes meditation a no-brainier and it helps us achieve that all-important work-life balance, enhances mental clarity and decision-making skills and nurtures trust, creativity, innovation and intuition.

Improves our relationships. We develop a pleasant, sociable personality, and are able to accept people as they are. These are important skills in any sphere, more so at the, workplace, where teamwork is crucial.It gives a deep sense of health and well-being as, regularly practiced, the mind, body and spirit benefit immensely. The deep rest it offers makes us more dynamic in activity.

If you are one of those who find forgiveness difficult, then regular meditation is just the ticket for you!

Image result for meditation fantasy artIn its pimpliest form Meditation is simply a powerful tool for connecting to your inner self to understanding your core believes and energies as these are key to moving forward. Meditation is an important part of this process for as you meditate you put your mind in that level in those wave length so to speak. Where you are not asleep yet you are not quiet fully awake. This existence this awareness is that which we seek that awareness the level you can function at throughout the day. It does take time and practice but meditation is the key to getting into this mindset so to speak it helps you relax it helps you calm down your mind turn down the volume so to speak.Centering Mediation
Start by paying attention to your breathing, breath in and out deeply and calmly, clear your mind of any thoughts. Now Imagine yourself in your favorite place, such as the beach or park. Visualize yourself sitting peacefully and observing your surroundings. If any thoughts come to mind imagine them transforming into clouds and disappearing over the horizon. Keep breathing deeply and calm when you feel relaxed and centered you can being working with your pendulum.

Some paths superficially resemble meditation but lead you in an altogether different direction. Of course, every activity can become a meditation if you do it with awareness or concentration. But certain activities become confused with meditation in the popular imagination, whereas they may have a very different intent. Some people claim that reading the newspaper or watching their favorite sitcom qualifies as meditation!

Consider the following list of ersatz meditations that certainly have their place in the repertory of leisure pursuits but don’t generally offer the benefits of meditation:

Thinking: In the West, the term “meditation” has frequently been used to refer to a kind of focused reflection on a particular theme, as when you say, “I’m going to meditate on this problem for a while.” Although higher-order contemplation or inquiry plays a part in some meditation techniques, it bears little resemblance to the often tortured, conflicted process that usually passes for thinking. Besides, thinking tires you out, whereas meditation refreshes you and perks you up.

Daydreaming: Daydreaming and fantasy offer their own unique pleasures and rewards, including occasional problem-solving and a momentary escape from difficult or tedious circumstances. But rather than leaving you feeling more spacious and more connected with being, as meditation does, daydreaming often embroils you more actively in the drama of your life.

Repeating affirmations: This common new-age practice — a contemporary version of what used to be called positive thinking — purports to provide an antidote to your negative beliefs by replacing them with positive alternatives. Generally, however, the negativity is so deeply rooted that the affirmations merely skim the surface like froth on the ocean and never really penetrate to the depths, where your core beliefs reside.

Praying: Ordinary or petitioner prayer, which calls on God for help or asks for something, can be performed meditatively but has little in common with meditation. However, contemplative prayer, also known as orison — the yearning of the soul for union with the Divine — is actually a form of concentrated contemplation whose focus is God.

Image result for meditation techniquesMeditation is an ancient method of employing the mind-body connection to achieve specific developmental goals. Over the four thousand years since the beginning of Yoga, the developmental goals have shifted, and so have the methods.

All meditation methods are effective in reducing stress, but they do so in different ways. For example, the earliest methods meant to explore the field of consciousness beyond the physical universe, as the material world was seen as illusory and limiting. As a by-product, these methods eliminate stress by creating detachment. In contrast, modern methods of meditation honor the physical world as the final step in spirituality, and honor the problems of life as the stimuli of growth. They do not create detachment; they create creativity.

The defining characteristic of meditation is conscious breathing. The single most effective relaxation technique I know is conscious regulation of breath.

In many languages – the words for spirit and breath are one and the same (Sanskrit prana, Hebrew ruach, Greek pneuma, Latin spiritus). Breathing is the bridge between mind and body, the connection between consciousness and unconsciousness, the movement of spirit in matter. Breath is the key to health and wellness, a function we can learn to regulate and develop in order to improve our physical, mental and spiritual well-being.

Breathing is special in several respects: it is the only function you can perform consciously as well as unconsciously, and it can be a completely voluntary act or a completely involuntary act, as it is controlled by two sets of nerves, one belonging to the voluntary nervous system, the other to the involuntary (autonomic) system. Breath is the bridge between these two systems.

Most people do not know how to breathe so as to take full advantage of the nourishing, health-giving properties of the act of breathing. Knowing how to perform simple breathing techniques can help lower your blood pressure, calm a racing heart, or help your digestive system without taking drugs. Breathing has direct connections to emotional states and moods – observe someone who is angry, afraid or otherwise upset, and you will see a person breathing rapidly, shallowly, noisily and irregularly. You cannot be upset if your breathing is slow, deep, quiet and regular.

You cannot always center yourself emotionally by an act of will, but you can use your voluntary nerves to make your breathing slow, deep, quiet and regular, and the rest will follow.

Focusing the attention on a single object during the whole meditation session. This object may be the breath, a mantra, visualization, part of the body, external object, etc. As the practitioner advances, his ability to keep the flow of attention in the chosen object gets stronger, and distractions become less common and short-lived. Both the depth and steadiness of his attention are developed.Instead of focusing the attention on any one object, we keep it open, monitoring all aspects of our experience, without judgment or attachment. All perceptions, be them internal (thoughts, feelings, memory, etc.) or external (sound, smell, etc.), are recognized and seen for what they are. It is the process of non-reactive monitoring of the content of experience from moment to moment, without going into them.Anther way is the state where the attention is not focused on anything in particular, but reposes on itself – quiet, empty, steady, and introverted. We can also call it “Choice-less Awareness” or “Pure Being”. Most of the meditation quotes you find speak of this state.

This is actually the true purpose behind all kinds of meditation, and not a meditation type in itself. All traditional techniques of meditation recognize that the object of focus, and even the process of monitoring, is just a means to train the mind, so that effortless inner silence and deeper states of consciousness can be discovered. Eventually both the object of focus and the process itself is left behind, and there is only left the true self of the practitioner, as “pure presence”.

In some techniques, this is the only focus, from the beginning.

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Grounding Meditation allow yourself to visualize the roots of a tree a beautiful big tree, we will use the gum tree for that is where you live. A beautiful gum tree with an extensive root system. See this tree this root system as a deep red color and watch it flow into the earth and nourish the tree. Focusing on an image such as this will help ground your chakra and help expand it and allow the energy to flow through it as does the water in the real life tree.

Astro Travel Meditation – There are many varied techniques for astro travel. One of the ways you can do this is you can sit there get into a place where you are comfortable and you wont be disturbed. Play some music or do what your most comfortable doing when you meditate. Totally relax and allow your self to be free of all energies. Focus your mind and your sleep patterns focus your mind to what vibrations you are working at. Imagine yourself surrounded by light close to your body. Use this light to generate an energy field around you. See yourself lifting and your vibration rise higher. Slowly focus pulling yourself out of your body essentially. Imagine that you’re sitting there and sitting outside of your body watching. Reach a hand out to yourself and try and grab the hand. You will feel a slow release of your energy’s as you try to do this. It takes a lot of practice to be able to do this easily but you can do it focus on your mind. Focus on the feelings the higher vibrations; focus on releasing your body and allowing your higher self to come out.

Meditation for letting go of that which holds you back – Breath deeply, As you breath in imagine yourself breathing in light Allow this light to fill your body. As you breath out imagine that you are breathing out all that does not serve you. Breath in light and breath out that which holds you back. Breath in, Breath out. Surround yourself with a cocoon of light Visualize yourself traveling to a beautiful forest filled with love and compassion There is a river running through this forest a golden river, a great beauty beyond all you have seen. See the richness of the river feel the love surrounding you. Imagine yourself on a raft on this river. Imagine that the raft is tethered to the banks by ropes which you have tied to the raft. These ropes represent that which holds you back. Focus on the ropes and acknowledge them for what they are. These represent your fears, your, worries and all that does not serve you. Focus you attention on a particular rope, bring it to you, face it. As you do see the rope vibrating and breaking apart, watch it dissolved and fall away. As it falls apart watch it turn into beautiful golden light and allow it to return to you. (You said that you feel sad, and asked why is this so emotional? They said emotions are part of who you are currently that your learning to let them go and not let them control you) (You asked why could you see a purple light in front of you. They said that this color resonates from deep within you. This color represents your spiritual journey embrace it and feel its love light and guidance.) (They also told you that they are there with you. They asked you to picture a beautiful light above you. Image result for meditation fantasy art
Picture this light sending you a beam of love through your head crown chakra and into your heart. Feel its love compassion guidance and peace.) Do this at a pace that suits you, you have all the time in world. Once the ropes are all dissolved into light allow the raft to dissolve as well. You are now floating in the beautiful river of life feel the freedom and the love and joy surrounding you. Picture yourself flowing with the river see the easy with which you do this. Picture no end just enjoy this moment this freedom the presence of now. Surround yourself with light and allow yourself to rise above the river. As you do this see the light of all your family and friends below Now see the lights of all the people in your suburb Now see the lights of all the people in your city You can now see the light of all the people of your country You can now see the light of all the people of the world Add to this the lights of all the animal, all the plants, and all the minerals This is the global consciousness we are all connected you are never alone. As you look around you there are beings above you and there are beings below you. The ones above are sending light and love to you and you are sending love and light to the ones below you. Feel the love and the oneness of all that you see. The universe is all connected a sea of beautiful light and love. Stay here as long as you like and come back to the room when you are ready.

There are a million forms of meditation in the world, but if you went around the world taking photographs of people meditating many of them would look quite similar. There are some basic elements of the meditation posture that are employed across the globe in order to calm the mind and align the body.

When we practice meditation we need to have a comfortable seat and a good posture. The most important feature of the posture is to keep our back straight. To help us do this, if we are sitting on a cushion we make sure that the back of the cushion is slightly higher than the front, inclining our pelvis slightly forward. It is not necessary at first to sit cross-legged, but it is a good idea to become accustomed to sitting in the posture of Buddha Vairochana. If we cannot hold this posture we should sit in one which is as close to this as possible while remaining comfortable.

The seven features of Vairochana’s posture are:

The legs are crossed in the vajra posture. This helps to reduce thoughts and feelings of desirous attachment.

The right hand is placed in the left hand, palms upwards, with the tips of the thumbs slightly raised and gently touching. The hands are held about four fingers’ width below the navel. This helps us to develop good concentration. The right hand symbolizes method and the left hand symbolizes wisdom – the two together symbolize the union of method and wisdom. The two thumbs at the level of the navel symbolize the blazing of inner fire.

The back is straight but not tense. This helps us to develop and maintain a clear mind, and it allows the subtle energy winds to flow freely.

The lips and teeth are held as usual, but the tongue touches against the back of the upper teeth. This prevents excessive salivation while also preventing our mouth from becoming too dry.

The head is tipped a little forward with the chin slightly tucked in so that the eyes are cast down. This helps prevent mental excitement.

The eyes are neither wide open nor completely closed, but remain half open and gaze down along the line of the nose. If the eyes are wide open we are likely to develop mental excitement and if they are closed we are likely to develop mental sinking.

The shoulders are level and the elbows are held slightly away from the sides to let air circulate.

If we want to color our mind with a virtuous motivation we need to clear away all our negative thoughts and distractions.

A further feature of Vairochana’s posture is the preliminary breathing meditation, which prepares our mind for developing a good motivation. When we sit down to meditate our mind is usually full of disturbing thoughts, and we cannot immediately convert such a state of mind into the virtuous one we need as our motivation. A negative, disturbed state of mind is like pitch-black cloth. We cannot dye pitch-black cloth any other color unless we first remove all the black dye and make the cloth white again. In the same way, if we want to color our mind with a virtuous motivation we need to clear away all our negative thoughts and distractions. We can accomplish this temporarily by practicing breathing meditation.

When we have settled down comfortably on our meditation seat we begin by becoming aware of the thoughts and distractions that are arising in our mind. Then we gently turn our attention to our breath, letting its rhythm remain normal. As we breathe out we imagine that we are breathing away all disturbing thoughts and distractions in the form of black smoke that vanishes in space. As we breathe in we imagine that we are breathing in all the blessings and inspiration of the holy beings in the form of white light that enters our body and absorbs into our heart. We maintain this visualization single-pointedly with each inhalation and exhalation for twenty-one rounds, or until our mind has become peaceful and alert. If we concentrate on our breathing in this way, negative thoughts and distractions will temporarily disappear because we cannot concentrate on more than one object at a time. At the conclusion of our breathing meditation we should think `Now I have received the blessings and inspiration of all the holy beings.’ At this stage our mind is like a clean white cloth which we can now color with a virtuous motivation such as compassion or Bodhisattva.

Meditation is a method for acquainting our mind with virtue. The more familiar our mind is with virtue, the calmer and more peaceful it becomes. When our mind is peaceful we are free from worries and mental discomfort, and we experience true happiness.If we train our mind to become peaceful we will be happy all the time, even in the most adverse conditions. But if our mind is not peaceful, even if we have the most pleasant external conditions we will not be happy. Therefore it is important to train our mind through meditation.

If we practice patiently in the way described in the breathing meditation section, gradually our distracting thoughts will subside and we will experience a sense of inner peace and relaxation. Our mind will feel lucid and spacious and we will feel refreshed. When the sea is rough, sediment is churned up and the water becomes murky, but when the wind dies down the mud gradually settles and the water becomes clear. In a similar way, when the otherwise incessant flow of our distracting thoughts is calmed through concentrating on the breath, our mind becomes unusually lucid and clear. We should stay with this state of mental calm for a while.So much of the stress and tension we normally experience comes from our mind.

kundalini2Even though breathing meditation is only a preliminary stage of meditation, it can be quite powerful. We can see from this practice that it is possible to experience inner peace and contentment just by controlling the mind, without having to depend at all upon external conditions. When the turbulence of distracting thoughts subsides and our mind becomes still, a deep happiness and contentment naturally arises from within. This feeling of contentment and well-being helps us to cope with the busyness and difficulties of daily life. So much of the stress and tension we normally experience comes from our mind, and many of the problems we experience, including ill health, are caused or aggravated by this stress. Just by doing breathing meditation for ten or fifteen minutes each day, we will be able to reduce this stress. We will experience a calm, spacious feeling in the mind, and many of our usual problems will fall away. Difficult situations will become easier to deal with, we will naturally feel warm and well disposed towards other people, and our relationships with others will gradually improve.

The purpose of meditation is to cultivate those states of mind that are conducive to peace and well-being, and to eradicate those that aren’t. Only human beings can do this. Animals can enjoy food and sex, find homes, hoard wealth, subdue their enemies, and protect their family; but they cannot completely eliminate suffering and attain lasting happiness. It would be a great shame if we were to use our precious human life only to achieve results that even animals can achieve. If we wish to avoid such a wasted life and fulfill the real purpose of being born human we must devote our self to the practice of meditation’.Happiness is a state of mind, therefore the real source of happiness lies in the mind, not in external circumstances. If our mind is pure and peaceful we’ll be happy, regardless of our external conditions, but if it is impure and un peaceful, we will never find happiness, no matter how much we try to change our external conditions.The Buddha Vairocana is often represented sitting in this posture at the center of a mandala of the five principle Buddhas. He is the lord of the Buddha family, all white representing the wisdom of all-encompassing space, as well as it’s exact opposite, the very ignorance that is the driving force behind our cycle of suffering. He represents, in part, the idea that our ignorance can be transformed into vast spaciousness, which can accommodate everything.

Image result for meditation fantasy artThe first stage of meditation is to stop distractions and make our mind clearer and more lucid. This can be accomplished by practicing a simple breathing meditation. We choose a quiet place to meditate and sit in a comfortable position. We can sit in the traditional cross-legged posture or in any other position that is comfortable. If we wish, we can sit in a chair. The most important thing is to keep our back straight to prevent our mind from becoming sluggish or sleepy.The first stage of meditation is to stop distractions and make our mind clearer and more lucid.We sit with our eyes partially closed and turn our attention to our breathing. We breathe naturally, preferably through the nostrils, without attempting to control our breath, and we try to become aware of the sensation of the breath as it enters and leaves the nostrils. This sensation is our object of meditation. We should try to concentrate on it to the exclusion of everything else.

At first, our mind will be very busy, and we might even feel that the meditation is making our mind busier; but in reality we are just becoming more aware of how busy our mind actually is. There will be a great temptation to follow the different thoughts as they arise, but we should resist this and remain focused single-pointedly on the sensation of the breath. If we discover that our mind has wandered and is following our thoughts, we should immediately return it to the breath. We should repeat this as many times as necessary until the mind settles on the breath.When we practice meditation we need to have a comfortable seat and a good posture. The most important feature of the posture is to keep our back straight. To help us do this, if we are sitting on a cushion we make sure that the back of the cushion is slightly higher than the front, inclining our pelvis slightly forward. It isn’t necessary at first to sit cross-legged, but it is a good idea to become accustomed to sitting in the posture of Buddha Vairochana. If we can’t hold this posture, we should sit in one which is as close to this as possible while remaining comfortable.

The legs are crossed in the vajra posture (they cross each other). This helps to reduce thoughts and feelings of desirous attachment.

The right hand is placed in the left hand, palms upwards, with the tips of the thumbs slightly raised and gently touching. The hands are held about four fingers width below the navel. This helps us to develop good concentration.

The back is straight but not tense. This helps us to develop and maintain a clear mind, and it allows the subtle energy winds to flow freely.

The lips and teeth are held as usual, but the tongue touches against the back of the upper teeth. This prevents excessive salivation while also preventing our mouth from becoming too dry.

The head is tipped a little forward with the chin slightly tucked in so that the eyes are cast down. This helps prevent mental excitement.

The eyes are neither wide open nor completely closed, but remain half open and gaze down along the line of the nose. If the eyes are wide open we are likely to develop mental excitement, and if they are closed we are likely to develop mental sinking.

The shoulders are level and the elbows are held slightly away from the sides to let air circulate.

For those of us who are accustomed to sitting in a chair, you might be a bit intimidated by the notion of sitting on the ground in a cross-legged fashion. This is a good time to give it a try. If you find that it is difficult, you can assume one of the simpler cross-legged postures.

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There are a few variations on sitting cross-legged on the ground, but all of them are best supported by having a formal meditation cushion. If you are going to use pillows from your couch or bed that’s okay, but it takes a lot of adjustment to get you sitting high enough so that it’s not painful. That said, if you want to grab some sturdy cushions and sit on those to get going, go for it.By being extremely gentle with yourself and returning your attention, continuously, to your breathing, you prevent that hummingbird mindset I mentioned earlier. You are, perhaps for the first time all day, focusing on just one thing: the breath. Thoughts about life, fantasies, strong emotions, discursive and subtle emotions will come up. In all these cases we look at the thought, acknowledge it, and come back to the breath.

Related imageSix Ways to Sit for Meditation

The Quarter Lotus – Here you can sit on your meditation seat with your legs loosely crossed and both feet resting below the opposite thigh or knee. I recommend this method.

The Half Lotus – This is a variation on the above. Your legs are crossed with one foot resting on the opposite thigh. The other foot can fold underneath the top leg and rest below the knee or thigh.

The Full Lotus – Your legs are crossed with both feet resting on top of your opposite thighs in Padmasana (Lotus Pose).

The Burmese Position – If you cannot sit with your legs crossed, that’s fine. Just sit with both feet laying on the floor in this relaxed position.

Seiza – Instead of sitting with your legs crossed you can also kneel and place a cushion or yoga props between your legs. This traditional meditation posture is essentially a propped-up Virasana (Hero Pose) or Vajrasana (Thunderbolt Pose).

Chair – Finally, yes, you can use a chair if you need to. No shame in it. Just be sure to sit away from the back of the chair and place your feet firmly on the floor, aligned with your hips and knees.

Sometimes people ask if they can meditate lying down. You can, but you’re more likely to fall asleep. If you’re going to do that you could place your feet on the ground with your knees up in order to maintain a sense of wakefulness.

Having established this firm foundation it is important to lift yourself up through your spine. Traditional analogies say that your spine should be like an arrow or a stack of coins, one on top of the other. It is as if a rod could go through the top of your head and down through your bottom. You want to feel uplifted when you sit down to meditate.

The simplest thing to do with your hands is to rest them on your lap. You can drop your hands at your sides and pick them up at the elbow then drop them palms down on your thighs. This is a natural axis point on which to rest them, providing better support for your upright spine. In his new book The Relaxed Mind, Kilung Rinpoche mentions that sitting with your palms down tends to relax the flow of energy throughout your body.

Alternatively, you can place your right hand on top of your left with your thumbs very lightly touching, resting them on your lap at your navel. Kilung Rinpoche has remarked that this creates more heat and energy in the body, which can be useful if you are feeling sleepy. Symbolically, the left hand represents wisdom and the right compassion. In this gesture you are bringing the two together.

Let the muscles in your shoulder and back relax. Your shoulders can be pushed slightly back. This establishes a strong back while opening up the front body. There is a touch of vulnerability in this point of posture as we expose our tender heart.

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Slightly tuck in your chin. You don’t want to go so far that you are looking directly down at your lap but you don’t want your head held so far upwards that it may tire you out.

Bring a sense of relaxation to the muscles in your face so that your jaw hangs open. Place the tongue up against the roof of your mouth to allow for clear breathing and slow down the swallowing process, which can at times be distracting.

Relax your gaze two to four feet ahead of you on the ground in an unfocused manner. Don’t pick out patterns in the rug in front of you. Just maintain a loose gaze. Rest your eyes. Sometimes people do not understand why they should open their eyes during meditation. For one, we are always gazing at our world—why should we treat our meditation practice as a time to hide from our life? It is instead a time to look directly at who we are. So our eyes can be open as a gesture toward that intention. On a practical level, you are less likely to fall asleep with your eyes open.

If you are unable to meditate with the eyes open you can close them. It is important to make a conscious decision before beginning to meditate on which you will do or you will fidget back and forth the entire meditation session between those options. It has been said that closed eye meditation leads to more thoughts, daydreams, and distraction. But if this is not the case for you, you can certainly meditate with your eyes closed.

If you take the time to establish your meditation posture correctly, you will find it is much easier to rest your mind and connect with the object of your meditation. When you go through these seven points you will enter your practice feeling relaxed yet uplifted.

Image result for meditation fantasy artFor centuries, monks, nuns, mystics, and wandering ascetics preserved it in secret, using it to enter higher states of consciousness and ultimately to achieve the pinnacle of their particular path. Highly motivated laypeople with time on their hands uncovered a few techniques. However, the rigorous practice of meditation remained a sacred pursuit limited to an elite few who were willing to renounce the world and devote their lives to it. How times have changed! From Beat Zen in the 1950 s and the influx of Indian yogis and swamis in the 1960 s to the more recent fascination with Buddhism, meditation has definitely become mainstream, and its practical benefits are applauded.

As you discover how to meditate, you are likely to gain the following:

Stronger focus and concentration

Reduced tension, anxiety, and stress

Clearer thinking and less emotional turmoil

Lower blood pressure and cholesterol

Support in kicking addictions and other self-defeating behaviors

Greater creativity and enhanced performance in work and play

Increased self-understanding and self-acceptance

More joy, love, and spontaneity

Greater intimacy with friends and family members

Deeper sense of meaning and purpose

Glimpses of a spiritual dimension of being

Better clarity

Improved communication

Relaxation and rejuvenation of the mind and body

With meditation, the physiology undergoes a change and every cell in the body is filled with more prana (energy). This results in joy, peace, enthusiasm as the level of prana in the body increases.

On a physical level, meditation:

Lowers high blood pressure

Lowers the levels of blood lactate, reducing anxiety attacks

Decreases any tension-related pain, such as, tension headaches, ulcers, insomnia, muscle and joint problems

Increases serotonin production that improves mood and behavior

Improves the immune system

Increases the energy level, as you gain an inner source of energy

Meditation brings the brainwave pattern into an alpha state that promotes healing. The mind becomes fresh, delicate and beautiful. It cleanses and nourishes you from within and calms you, whenever you feel overwhelmed, unstable, or emotionally shut down. With regular practice of meditation:

Emotional stability improves

Intuition develops

Problems become smaller

Meditation sharpens the mind by gaining focus and expands through relaxation

A sharp mind without expansion causes tension, anger and frustration

An expanded consciousness without sharpness can lead to lack of action/progress

The balance of a sharp mind and an expanded consciousness brings perfection

Meditation makes you aware – that your inner attitude determines your happiness.

Meditation doesn’t have a religion and can be practiced by anybody regardless of the faith they follow.

Effortless transition from being something to merging with the infinite and recognizing yourself as an inseparable part of the whole cosmos

In a meditative state, you are in a space of vastness, calmness and joy and this is what you emit into the environment, bringing harmony to the Creation/planet.

Meditation can bring about a true personal transformation. As you learn more about yourself, you’ll naturally start discovering more about yourself.

Greater confidence

More focus and clarity

Better health

More mental strength and energy

Greater dynamism

Using modern technology like f MRI scans, scientists have developed a more thorough understanding of what’s taking place in our brains when we meditate, kind of similar to how scientists have previously looked at measuring creativity in our brains.

The overall difference is that our brains stop processing information as actively as they normally would. We start to show a decrease in beta waves, which indicate that our brains are processing information, even after a single 20-minute meditation session if we’ve never tried it before.

Frontal lobe – This is the most highly evolved part of the brain, responsible for reasoning, planning, emotions and self-conscious awareness. During meditation, the frontal cortex tends to go offline.

Parietal lobe – This part of the brain processes sensory information about the surrounding world, orienting you in time and space. During meditation, activity in the parietal lobe slows down.

Thalamus – The gatekeeper for the senses, this organ focuses your attention by funneling some sensory data deeper into the brain and stopping other signals in their tracks. Meditation reduces the flow of incoming information to a trickle.

Reticular formation – As the brain’s sentry, this structure receives incoming stimuli and puts the brain on alert, ready to respond. Meditating dials back the arousal signal.

Image result for meditation fantasy art

its roots travel back to ancient times. Researchers speculate that primitive hunter-gatherer societies may have discovered meditation and its altered states of consciousness while staring at the flames of their fires. Over thousands of years, meditation evolved into a structured practice. Indian scriptures called “tantras” mentioned meditation techniques 5000 years ago.

Buddha, “one of history’s major proponents of meditation,”  and a major meditation icon, first made his mark around 500 B.C. His teachings were spread far and wide across the Asian continent. Separate countries or cultures adopted different forms of the word “meditation,” and they each found their own unique way of practicing it. Buddhist- and Hindu-based Easter-style meditation practices are still the most popular today.Between 600-500 BCE, the development of other meditation forms was recorded in Taoist China and Buddhist India, although the exact origins of these practices, particularly Buddhist meditation, continues to be debated among historians. The formula to salvation of morality, contemplative concentration, knowledge and liberation were believed to involve meditation as a central component.The practice of meditation also spread to other cultures in the West, via the Silk Road, to influence religions such as Judaism. Later, in the 3rd century AD, Plotinus developed meditative techniques, which were not easily integrated into the Christian faith.A Japanese monk, Dosho, discovered Zen on a visit to China in 653 and introduced the practice of meditation to Japan upon return to the country, opening the first hall for meditation. The practice grew significantly in Japan from 8th century AD onward, bringing the practice of meditation with it.

Meditation was spread to Western society thousands of years after it was adopted in the East. It finally started to gain popularity in the West in the mid-20th century. In the 1960s and 1970s, many professors and researchers began testing the effects of meditation and learned about its multitude of benefits.

To learn more about meditation’s benefits, please go to the Benefits page.

The history of meditation is intimately bound up with the religious context within which it was practiced. Some authors have even suggested the hypothesis that the emergence of the capacity for focused attention, an element of many methods of meditation, may have contributed to the latest phases of human biological evolution. Some of the earliest references to meditation are found in the Hindu Vedas of Nepal and India.Wilson translates the most famous Vedic mantra ‘Gayatri’ thus : “We meditate on that desirable light of the divine Savitri, who influences our pious rites” (Rigveda : Mandala-3, Sukta-62, Rcha-10). Around the 6th to 5th centuries BCE, other forms of meditation developed via Confucianism and Taoism in China as well as Hinduism, Jainism, and early Buddhism in Nepal and India.

In the west, by 20 BCE Philo of Alexandria had written on some form of “spiritual exercises” involving attention (prosoche) and concentrationand by the 3rd century Plotinus had developed meditative techniques.

The Pāli Canon, which dates to 1st century BCE considers Indian Buddhist meditation as a step towards liberation.By the time Buddhism was spreading in China, the Vimalakirti Sutra which dates to 100 CE included a number of passages on meditation, clearly pointing to Zen (known as Chan in China, Thiền in Vietnam, and Seon in Korea).The Silk Road transmission of Buddhism introduced meditation to other Asian countries, and in 653 the first meditation hall was opened in Singapore. Returning from China around 1227, Dōgen wrote the instructions for zazen.

The Islamic practice of Dhikr had involved the repetition of the 99 Names of God since the 8th or 9th century. By the 12th century, the practice of Sufism included specific meditative techniques, and its followers practiced breathing controls and the repetition of holy words. Interactions with Indians, Nepalese or the Sufis may have influenced the Eastern Christian meditation approach to hesychasm, but this can not be proved.Between the 10th and 14th centuries, hesychasm was developed, particularly on Mount Athos in Greece, and involves the repetition of the Jesus prayer.

Western Christian meditation contrasts with most other approaches in that it does not involve the repetition of any phrase or action and requires no specific posture. Western Christian meditation progressed from the 6th century practice of Bible reading among Benedictine monks called Lectio Divina, i.e. divine reading. Its four formal steps as a “ladder” were defined by the monk Guigo II in the 12th century with the Latin terms lectio, meditatio, oratio, and contemplatio (i.e. read, ponder, pray, contemplate). Western Christian meditation was further developed by saints such as Ignatius of Loyola and Teresa of Avila in the 16th century.

Secular forms of meditation were introduced in India in the 1950  as a Westernized form of Hindu meditative techniques and arrived in the United States and Europe in the 1960 . Rather than focusing on spiritual growth, secular meditation emphasizes stress reduction, relaxation and self-improvement.Both spiritual and secular forms of meditation have been subjects of scientific analyses. Research on meditation began in 1931, with scientific research increasing dramatically during the 1970  and 1980 . Since the beginning of the ’70  more than a thousand studies of meditation in English-language have been reported. However, after 60 years of scientific study, the exact mechanism at work in meditation remains unclear.

In popular usage, the word “meditation” and the phrase “meditative practice” are often used imprecisely to designate broadly similar practices, or sets of practices, that are found across many cultures and traditions.

Some of the difficulty in precisely defining meditation has been the need to recognize the particularities of the many various traditions. There may be differences between the theories of one tradition of meditation as to what it means to practice meditation.The differences between the various traditions themselves, which have grown up a great distance apart from each other, may be even starker. To accurately define “what is meditation” has caused difficulties for modern scientists. Scientific reviews have proposed that researchers attempt to more clearly define the type of meditation being practiced in order that the results of their studies be made clearer. Taylor noted that to refer only to meditation.
The term “meditate” originates from the Latin word meditatum, which means, “to ponder.” Monk Guigo II introduced this terminology for the first time in the 12th century AD.Meditation has existed for many thousands of years. It is the practice of turning one’s attention to a sole point of reference by eliminating the distracting and stressful thoughts abundant in the external environment.Meditation is known for its emotional benefits – of these, the key one is teaching a person how to understand their own mind. This allows one to transform their mental state at will from disturbed or negative to peaceful, positive and constructive.Meditation is important on the pathway to enlightenment and nirvana in the Buddhist faith, which are believe to help reach a state of serenity and insight. Several techniques including breath meditation and recollections are widely taught in Buddhist schools, but there are also distinct methods that differ between different regions. As a result, Buddhist meditation is a variable practice with many different paths that may lead to enlightenment and nirvana.The reasoning underlying meditation is that happiness is a state of mind and a product of internal thought, one should be able to discard the external environment as irrelevant and still obtain real happiness.