Meditation a source of relaxation and well-being.

A state where your body and mind are consciously relaxed and focused is usually referred to as meditation. Practitioners of this art report increased awareness, focus, and concentration, relaxation as well as a more positive outlook in life.

Monks are usually the first people that pop to the mind when you think about meditation, mystics and other spiritual disciplines.  However, you don’t have to be a monk or mystic to enjoy its benefits and you don’t even have to be in a special place to practice it (well quiet will be ideal though) but still you could even try it in your own living room.

Does meditation really work?

Since as a kid I have always loved meditation as I usually saw Shaolin monks meditate for hour and be really strong and I always thought that was really cool. Even though I couldn’t really maintain focus for more than five minutes I come to realize that for the short amount of time I did, it actually made my mind clear for a little before all the playful ideas stormed back in.

Meditation has different approaches but the fundamental principles remain the same.  The most important among these principles is that of removing obstructive, negative, and wandering thoughts and fantasies, and calming the mind with a deep sense of focus. This clears the mind of restlessness and prepares it for a higher quality of activity.

Negative thoughts you might have, those of noisy neighbors, bossy office mates, that parking ticket you got, and unwanted spam, failing exams or being banned from AdSense, are said to contribute to the ‘polluting’ of the mind, and shutting them out allows for the cleansing of the mind so that it may focus on deeper, more meaningful thoughts and improve productivity.

What to do before meditation and how to do it.

  • Some practitioners even shut out all sensory inputs no sights, no sounds, and nothing to touch and try to detach themselves from the commotion around them.  You may now focus on a deep, profound thought if this is your goal.  It may seem deafening at first, since we are all too accustomed to constantly hearing and seeing things (like that new comment notification awaiting to be approved), but as you continue this exercise you will find yourself becoming more aware of everything around you.
  •  The meditating positions you see on television might seem very threatening like those with impossibly arched backs, and painful-looking contortion you need not worry for it is not about the position and the moves. The principle here is to be in a comfortable position conducive to concentration.  This may be while sitting cross-legged, standing, lying down (though I believe it’s very easy to fall asleep in this position, so you need to be really focused), and even walking.

If the position allows you to relax and focus, then that would be a good starting point.  While sitting or standing, the back should be straight, but not tense or tight.  In other positions, the only no-no is slouching and falling asleep.

Example of an advanced and really complex meditative position. Better be a pro before trying this.
  • Loose, comfortable clothes help a lot in the process since tight fitting clothes have a tendency to choke you up and make you feel tense and hence distract and prevent you for focus.
  • The place you perform meditation should have a soothing atmosphere.  It may be in your living room, or bedroom, or any place that you feel comfortable in.  You might want an exercise mat if you plan to take on the more challenging positions (if you feel more focused doing so, and if the contortionist in you is screaming for release).  You may want to have the place arranged so that it is soothing to your senses
  • Silence is vital for most people to relax and meditate, so you may want a quiet, isolated area far from the ringing of the phone or the humming of the washing machine.  Pleasing scents also help in that regard, so stocking up on aromatic candles isn’t such a bad idea either.
  •  The monks you see on television making those monotonous sounds are actually performing their mantra.  This, in simple terms, is a short creed, a simple sound which, for these practitioners, holds a mystic value (usually Om sound). You do not need to perform such; however, it would pay to note that focusing on repeated actions such as breathing, and humming help the practitioner enter a higher state of consciousness. But if you do need some form of sound to focus on there are meditation sounds and music you can find on any platform to help you with this. I personally use meditation sounds and binaural waves for the exercise.
  • Focus is the key aspect here and it’s all you need to worry about. You could also try focusing on a certain object or thought, or even, while keeping your eyes open, focus on a single sight.
  • One sample routine would be, while in a meditative state silently name every part of your body and focusing your consciousness on visualizing and feeling that part. While doing this you should be aware of any tension on any part of your body.  Mentally visualize releasing this tension.  It works wonders.

In all, meditation is a relatively risk-free practice and its benefits are well worth the effort (or non-effort remember we’re relaxing).

Meditation brings about beneficial physiologic effects to the body as well as psychological wellbeing with feeling of unity and harmony between the body, mind and soul.

Unison achieved through meditation.

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