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Introduction to Meditation
Never let anybody tell you there is only one way to meditate. No guru or religion has cornered the market on meditation!
In today's troubled times, many are turning to meditation to find a way of dealing with the challenges that life puts their way. The forms of meditation available are many and varied. Some available options do not even look like meditation at all. For instance, a housewife I know told me she regards her housework as a meditation. In fact, many religious orders of all faiths impose domestic and farming duties upon their members, as a form of spiritual advancement, although, of course, there are also practical considerations here. But that is the point really: meditation does not have to be some airy-fairy thing you do on a mountain. It can be very practical in its application.
Practitioners of Eastern martial arts, such as Qi gong and Tai chi, also regard their discipline as a form of meditation. Yoga uses breathing as meditation.Some religious orders are silent and spend all their time meditating on their spiritual heritage.
There are forms of meditation to suit all types of approaches to life. For example, we now have a wide range of machinery on offer to those who like technical solutions, which will put them in a deep state of meditation, with no effort on their part, when they simply put on headphones, or otherwise connect themselves to the equipment.
You will generally have one of two goals during meditation.
1: to empty the mind of all thought, or
2: to concentrate on a single thought.
When concentrating on a single thought, this will either be a thought or goal that is meaningful to you, or a completely meaningless word or phrase.
The meaningless phrase type of meditation is just another form of empty mind meditation, but some may find it easier to concentrate on something unimportant than to try to empty their mind altogether. If you are doing Transcendental meditation, your teacher will give you a special word or phrase to concentrate on, that is specific to you.
Empty mind meditation
Empty mind meditation
Empty mind meditation is very beneficial for improving the physical health, getting rid of headaches, stress and tension and lowering the heart rate.
This can bring about a transformation in your life by helping you to achieve your goals.
Do not confuse meditation with daydreaming. The intention is everything. Daydreaming has the exact opposite effect to meditation. Where meditation helps you bring about your goals, daydreaming merely wastes your time. Daydreaming does not have a positive effect on your health and it is actually bad for your eyesight.
If you do not want to join a group or buy a machine, you can find many books on meditation at your bookshop or library. Set aside some time regularly for meditation. Find somewhere quiet. Trance inducing music can be played if you find it helpful. Do not worry if you fall asleep while meditating at first. Just getting into a regular habit of meditating will begin to have a balancing effect on your life.
Another word for meditation is Mindfulness. There are many books and courses on Mindfulness. However, it may be more advisable to pursue a more traditional form of meditation, as Mindfulness has been criticized for encouraging people to be too accepting of the status quo, rather than finding ways and means to change their situation.