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Meditation: It's not what you think
What is Meditation?
The idea of meditation has been touted in the west as a relaxation technique. But that is not what it is.
Sure, you may experience relaxation as a side benefit of meditating, but it's purpose is far bigger than that. The purpose of meditation is to focus the mind and be in control of your own thoughts.
Have you ever felt frustrated that you couldn't let go of a nagging idea? Your brain just kept cycling it up over and over and over even though you kept trying to think about something else. Practicing meditation allows you to be in control and to decide what you will focus your energy on.
This page will explore some common myths about meditation:
*Isn't meditation a pagan ritual? I'm a Christian, so I can't do it (or, I'm a Christian so I "meditate" by praying)
*Who has the time to meditate?
*Why meditate when you can listen to music instead?
*Meditation is boring
Isn't Meditation a Pagan Ritual?
It isn't a ritual at all. It is a practice and it can be done with a Christian focus or a focus on whatever religion you follow. Though the term may have come from an eastern practice, it does not belong only to eastern religions.
Eknath Eswaran developed a meditation called Passage Meditation which can use any passage that has spiritual significance for you. He recommends the Lord's Prayer for Christians, or the prayer of St. Francis.
Learn passage meditation...
I Don't Meditate, I Pray
It's not the same thing
Prayer and meditation are two different practices and they both have value. Doing both is a great idea because learning to meditate clears your mind in such a way that your prayers become more direct and focused. After practicing meditation for a little while, you will likely find a stronger feeling of connection when you pray.
Who Has Time To Meditate?
We make time for what matters
If meditation is valuable for your life, then you make time for it.
For many people, meditation is a key practice that is part of the very reason for human existence. So it matters more to them than watching TV, shopping at the mall, grabbing a coffee, or taking an art class.
Another possible side benefit of a regular meditation practice is an ability to use time for efficiently. Because you are not wasting your energy chasing random thoughts around your head all day, you are able to get more done and feel more at peace while doing it.
It doesn't have to take hours...
Why Meditate When You Can Listen To Music?
Definitely not the same thing
If you think meditation is purely about relaxation, then you might just listen to music you find soothing.
But it's not. Relaxation is a side effect of meditation, but not the heart of it.
When you meditate, you are focusing your mind to a point and you need to be free from distractions. You are focusing inward, not to outward sounds.
The only reason music and meditation might go together
would be to provide a white noise background to help you drown out the other distracting sounds of your environment. Once you get really good at meditation, you will cease to hear it or any outside sound.
Meditation Is Boring
It isn't easy and it isn't a game
Learning to get in control of our own minds is hard work.
It is a practice that is going to develop your muscle of discipline and self control so that you can handle situations where you might feel bored.
Do you want to be the kind of person who can't stand still for even a moment without some distraction?
Meditation will teach you to be able to handle stillness, to handle the ups and downs of life without feeling like you're being thrown back and forth like a ship in a storm. You will weather life in a more peaceful way.
But it's going to take work. It may be fun for some, but its purpose is not for fun. It is to enrich your life. Once you learn to do this, you'll be better able to do anything else in life you want to.