1. How do I actually Meditate?
There are many ways that you can meditate. Most common is to sit in a comfortable position. Keep your spine straight and vertical, sitting upright on a chair is an easy and comfortable position to meditate in. It is generally considered that you will experience a better meditation before a meal rather than after a meal.
Focus on something until your attention transcends the random thoughts that may be occurring in your head.
The something that you focus on can be one of the following…
- A solid object (usually a candle flame or flower)
- A picture (usually a mandala which is a highly colored symmetrical painting)
- A mantra
- Your breath
- A guided visualisation
Guided visualization is good as it will help bring you into a meditative state. Alternatively visualization may be used once a meditative state has been reached to produce specific results.
You are usually not aware of all the mental activity that you are engaged in. Focus and allow your mind activity to settle down. If you find yourself caught up in a thought pattern gently bring yourself back to the object of your focus. It is normal to experience itches and other body sensations, if this occurs relax and simply observe.
The constant practice of meditating will result in you becoming more peaceful, calm and focused.
2. What are the benefits of Meditation?
Meditation is great for stress management. You will experience, relaxation, increased awareness, mental focus, clarity and a sense of peace if meditation is practiced regularly.
As meditation involves becoming more aware and more sensitive to what is within you, facing unpleasant parts of yourself may be part of Meditation. This added awareness and clarity can help you advance your spiritual growth and clear negative emotional patterns you are attached to.
The following physiological effects of meditation have been documented
- Reduced blood pressure
- Lower pulse rate
- Decreased metabolic rate
- Changes in the concentration of serum levels of various substances.
3. When is the best time for me to Meditate?
Meditation will benefit you at any time.
Many people believe that early morning is the best time to meditate. They believe that in early morning the hectic pace of the world has not yet begun and so it is easier to establish the right atmosphere. Meditating in the morning also lets you carry some of the energy and peace of the meditation into your day.
Others meditate at noon, before dinner or later in the evening. Meditation at these times allows you to throw off some of the accumulated stress of the day and rejuvenate yourself for the next activity.
Consider your schedule and when it will allow you to meditate. Having a time of the day or week set aside for meditation helps with your self discipline and maintaining regularity.
4. How long should I Meditate for?
When you first learn meditation you might find that it is not possible to meditate for more than 10-15 minutes. After some practice you will be able to meditate for longer periods of time. Many people meditate 20 – 60 minutes each day, but the right duration and frequency is for you to decide.
5. Is Meditation affiliated with Religion? Meditation is for some people primarily a spiritual practice, or it may be closely tied to the practice of a religion such as, Hinduism or Buddhism. Meditation is a central practice in eastern religions, for contacting “God” or your higher Self. The Christian religion touches upon Meditation with Biblical statements such as “The kingdom of heaven is within you.”
Conversely Meditation is also used in the business, medical and sporting world, for stress management and as a successful relaxation technique. Meditation involves contacting something within you, a part of you that brings calm and is peaceful and rejuvenating.
Dependent on your beliefs, the type or structure of your meditation and which group you meditate with, you can be in contact with the following;
- your inner child
- your higher self
- your soul
- the spirit world
- Differing brain wave activity
- the silence within you
Almost everyone has already meditated. Every time you wash the dishes and are off dreaming and unaware of your surroundings you are probably in a meditative state. The same applies to when you are driving your car on ‘autopilot’ and arrive at your destination without remembering how you got there, you were in a type of meditative state.
6. Why do some people listen to music whilst they Meditate?
Meditative music can help in establishing the right atmosphere if you find it difficult to actually sit down and start your meditation. You can use music to mask the noise of traffic or neighbors in certain situations. Some people use music quite often, others prefer silent meditation and never use it. You decide.
7. Do I need a teacher and where do I find one?
You will find a teacher an invaluable aid in learning a meditation technique and making sure it is practiced correctly. If you are beginning meditation you will usually have questions which a teacher will be able to answer.
Learning with a group of people at a meditation class, allows you to experience the benefit of meditating with a group of people. Most people find that they have some of their best meditations while meditating in a group, because there is a collective energy and focus present.
Numerous individuals and groups teach meditation. Some charge money and others do not. Many different techniques are taught, some more spiritual in nature and others mainly concerned with stress management and relaxation. It is important that you find what works for you.
8. What’s the difference between Meditation and Concentration?
Concentration can be a part of meditation. You concentrate when you begin your meditation. After the initial period, as your thoughts decrease you keep your awareness spontaneously, this is meditation without concentration.
9. What’s the difference between Meditation and my thought process?
Your thinking process requires energy and is the result of stimuli in your environment. Meditation attempts to transcend the activity of thinking. After regular meditation you will become aware that you are not your thoughts and that there is an awareness that exists independent of thought.
10. What’s the difference between Meditation and Relaxation?
Relaxation is a benefit of meditation. You can relax in many ways such as a hot bath or playing sport. Relaxation still engages the thought process, meditation attempts to transcend the thought process. Meditation often produces deep relaxation and is much more effective at reducing mental and physical stress than general relaxation techniques.