Since the beginning of time, individuals on the road to spiritual discovery have used meditation in their journey. Many think that the word meditation refers to the practice of disciplining and training one’s mind. This is misleading. Meditation is actually a state of mind, an internal feeling one can achieve from mental discipline. In the raja-yoga tradition, meditation is the seventh limb of an eight-limbed path. A person needs to travel down a path of much preparation before meditation is reached. While there is no clear line between the sections, one thing is clear: without the necessary preparation, one cannot reach a state of meditation.
How does one reach a state of meditation? One can reach it only after certain criteria have reached a critical point. Meditation comes after concentration. Meditation is continuous concentration without disruption on the object of concentration
Concentration is the focus of attention towards a single point; the uninterrupted flow of one’s focus is meditation. Continuous meditation then leads one to become one with the object of meditation. This is then called samadhi.
When people first choose to learn the art of meditation, many struggle. No one knows what methods and techniques to choose. There are literally hundreds of meditation techniques! Once you choose a particular type of meditation, you must stick to it for some time. Results are not always immediate. However, the results are cumulative by nature. In other words, the more you practice a meditation technique, the more you will benefit from it.
If we want to accomplish something, we need to know what we want to accomplish. We need a clear understanding of our goal. We also need to know how we are going to reach it. We may need to create external goals for ourselves. This isn’t true for meditation. Guess what? The goal of meditation is already in you. That elusive state of mind, known as meditation, exists inside each of us and doesn’t need to be created. By training and disciplining your mind, you merely strive to achieve the right environment and atmosphere. This is when we become aware of the state of meditation.
Meditation is completely natural. Everyone can achieve it. You don’t have to be a great mystic or philosopher. We can all attain this state with dedication, patience and perseverance in our practices. Very little is required. We just need to choose a place where we will not be disturbed, a place that is quiet, free of noises and distractions. Sit in a position that will be comfortable without moving for an extended period of time. Our attitudes must be ready for the meditation. Make sure there are no distractions. We must have already chosen a technique to which we will stick too for at least a month. This is if we practice every day, both morning and night. Only with determination, patience and perseverance will we ever succeed in the art of meditation.
The Benefits of Meditation
Meditation has many benefits. The practice leads us to a state of relaxation. This reduces the body’s need for oxygen and lowers the respiratory rate. Blood flow to our organs increases due to the relaxed body state. The heart rate decreases, improving heart health. Meditation lowers sensitivities to allergies and enhances the immune system. Serotonin production increases. This improves our emotional disposition. With practice, we gain the increased ability to concentrate without tension. This state improves memory recall. Your ability to focus your mind will help you in anything that needs your full attention. Your mind becomes more efficient. You can learn to accomplish more in less time. Mental and emotional control increases as you maintain a calm outlook.
With increased practice, you can achieve a deeper level of meditation. You may uncover fears and unfulfilled desires that subconsciously direct your life. You can choose to change these or disregard them completely. You will gain a deeper understanding of yourself as you journey through your inner world.
Purpose of Meditation
Meditation is as a way of life, not a technique. The purpose of meditation is to ultimately lead one to the highest state of asamprajnata Samadhi. This however happens in three steps:
- Calm the conscious mind.
- Dissolve the unconscious imagery.
- Go beyond the conscious and unconscious mind to the highest state, Samadhi.
This is done with an awareness of allowing without attachment or aversion. Through practicing meditation and going deeper into ourselves, we begin to realize for ourselves that we are one with the spirit, consciousness or whichever name you prefer to use.
The simple fact remains; you will not achieve success in meditation if you do not practice. My advice is simple:
Practice, Practice, Practice.
Slow Down, Relax and Remain Calm.
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