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Monthly Archives: January 2018

Meditation Tips for Beginners

For a long time now, meditation has been used by many for a variety of reasons. In the old times, meditation was a way of communicating with the Buddha or achieve a higher level of consciousness because the practice of meditation first started with the ancient Buddhists. Meditation was not just a way of relieving oneself from stress but more of actually being able to keep the balance in one’s self and exercising the mind to concentrate and focus. For beginners who do not know what to do when meditating there are a few tips they can make use of.

Learn about the Breathing Techniques. In meditation, one of the first few things that is needs to be learned is proper breathing techniques. To do this, you must first sit comfortably (either on a chair or on the floor) with legs crossed or the Indian sit. Place your palms on each leg with palms facing up. Close your eyes and start to listen to the things happening around you. Start paying close attention to your breathing making sure to slowly inhale and breathe out through your lips. Do this in a slow manner until you are able to concentrate on without being distracted of the noise around you or be bothered by thoughts running through your head.

Pick a place to meditate. You do not necessarily have to go far and wide and go to mountain tops just to meditate. Even a corner of your bedroom is already more than enough to be able to meditate. The important thing in making meditation successful is to be able to find a place where the noise is minimal and is free of distractions.

Make use of music and other things if needed. There are actually music that are really meant for meditation. It usually entails the use of ancient musical instruments or the sounds of nature such as the gushing water or the sound of the wind and the trees. These are actually a few things that can help you concentrate. You can also make use of scented candles if you like to make meditation more inviting.

Practice makes perfect. Remember the old cliché that practice makes perfect? It is very much applicable to meditation for beginners to. To concentrate and not have to think of anything is hard. It could be frustrating after a few tries but doing it regularly allows you to focus clearly and be able to perfect and master the art of meditation.

All about Mindfulness and Me

Another friend said mindfulness teaches you how to listen fully to others when they are talking. “Well,” he said, “Now that I’ve learned to listen to people I forget what I was going to say.”

If I thought too much about it, though, I would not have signed up for the classes. Meditation was never something I practiced. Too deep for me. I could never sit still that long without jumping up to do something. There is always something.

However, at the orientation, the practice, as they call it, sounded as though it could help me to focus better as a writer. I wanted to see if I can slow down the chatter in my head and think more clearly of the task at hand.

The formal definition, as described by Jon Kabat-Zinn, the founder of Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts, said mindfulness is a way of bringing meditation into the medical mainstream. He describes it as a basic human quality, a way of learning to pay attention to whatever is happening in your life that allows you a greater sense of connection to your life inwardly and outwardly.

Kabat-Zinn earned a Ph.D. in molecular biology in 1971 from MIT and also studied with the Insight Meditation Society and eventually also taught there. In 1979 he founded the Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, where he adapted the Buddhist teachings on mindfulness and developed a stress reduction practice or MBSR.

The formal course is set up for 8 weekly sessions of two and half hours. Between the sixth and eighth meeting there is an all-day retreat that includes several hours of “noble silence” and guided meditation.

My apprehension doubled. In the first class I struggled with meditating for 30 minutes. A whole day of silence seemed impossible. I’m a writer, a journalist and a talker.

After week six, on a rainy Sunday in November, we gathered at a large cabin-like home in the Redwoods. Couldn’t have been a more perfect day for a meditation retreat; Dark clouds overhead and a steady rain with short periods of pounding thunder.

We were warmed by a wood stove, cozy in our cushioned chairs and blankets. The mood started out with a fair amount of anxiety admitted by each of the attendees. None of us was practiced in long-term silent treatment… at least not outside of our various personal relationships.

While I was feeling insecure about my ability to embrace five hours of not talking, I was unaware of my vulnerability at the same time.

We started our session with a practice called “Standing Yoga Meditation.” As we were in a personal home, there were family mementos around the room. While in a pose, I turned to face a different direction and there on an end table were two bronzed baby shoes.

A bolt of lightning pierced my chest. Tears suddenly dripped down my face. I held the yoga pose longer than called for. I couldn’t turn away. The shoes brought me back to my childhood, my mother and father both dead now, and playing with my brother. I was back on the front yard of the small, WW II built house in North Hollywood, CA. I can see the rose trees my mother planted. My older brother with silver caps on his two front teeth and me with my skinny braids and cowboy boots. It was profoundly sweet and sad at the same time.

Unknown Facts About Meditation

1) Mediation can be done!

The term meditation relates to the term “Dhyana” in Sanskrit. “Dhyana” is the seventh stage of the “Patanjali Yoga Sutra”.[1]

Patanjali Yoga Sutra is the most ancient and vivid documentation depicting elaborately about the psycho-physiological connections and analyses the minute strata’s of mind and intellect.

According to this 8-fold system, meditation (Dhyana) is the stillness of mind with an active consciousness. So, the “I” awareness slowly dissolute into the consciousness and merges into one (The last step: Samadhi). So meditation couldn’t be done. We go into it or rather slip into meditation. What we consider as meditation is actually the practice of concentration with an active mind. The state of meditation can be achieved but cannot be practiced. So; to earn the desired level, start practicing concentration religiously.

2) It can be practiced solely!

It was well understood that without having a sound body; it is not recommended to practice meditation (read concentration) because it may lead to mental numbness.

This dormancy can provide a blankness inside which is basically due to the inactivity of mental conditions. It can be compared to a self-hypnotic condition which eventually results into sleepiness. The brain gets confused about the physical and mental inactivity and treats this state as a pre-sleep stage. It secrets melatonin hormone which naturally induces sleep as it does when anybody prepares to sleep.

This state is sometimes related with actual mediation but it is quite far from it.

So, to get into the basic of meditation; one should have a sound body and a sound sleep. Proper nutritious food helps in getting into a productive meditation.

A bit of freehand exercise, proper food and sleep and cultivating dispassion; when maintained regularly can lead to the goal.

3) Meditation is a religious practice

This is a practice to still our mind. A still and focused mind leads to a wide awareness. This awareness fires up the conscience (Viveka) which becomes a vehicle for inward journey. This “Viveka” is also a tool for realizing the oneness within.

This journey is common for all, the path may vary. So, practicing concentration for achieving meditative state does not fall into any classifications based on religion or belief.

You are fully free to choose you path if you want to walk independently. You will reach there, irrespective of any religion.

4) The practice takes huge time to provide benefits

This may vary with the effort given but the benefits of practicing concentration generate immediate effects on psycho-physiological system. Within a week, a devoted practitioner shall feel the lowering of blood pressure (if they have), release of stress, diminishing anxiety and an elevated experience of serenity within. It also boosts memory, feeling of empathy. It regulates sleep cycle for proper cleansing of the body toxin. It eventually develops the persona with a more elevated sense of humanity.