1. the act of meditating; contemplation; reflection
2. contemplation of spiritual matters, especially as a religious practice
It has been said that prayer is talking to God and meditation is listening to God. The regular practice of sitting silently and communing with God, or whatever you call your Higher Power, trains the mind to concentrate and promotes mindfulness. Practiced for centuries by people of many religions, meditation is considered an act of faith, self-discipline, and devotion. However, one doesn’t have to practice any specific religion to meditate and receive its benefits. Scientists are finding that the act of meditating, whether for spiritual practice or relaxation, aids the body in several ways.
* lower blood pressure
* improved blood circulation
* lower heart rate
* less perspiration
* slower respiratory rate
* less anxiety
* lower blood cortisol levels
* more feelings of well-being
* less stress
* deeper relaxation
I meditate for several reasons. I meditate to center myself at the beginning of the day. At nighttime, I meditate to relax and calm my mind before sleep. In my personal practice, I’ve found that meditation does more than promote physical relaxation, it gives me peace of mind and a sense of well being. When I’m meditating regularly, life flows better: I smile more, worry less, and I have more energy. I sleep better; make time for exercise, and I make better choices for my health. I feel in touch with God, supported and safe. Even my time management is improved with meditation: I always seem to have the time to accomplish what I need to do, and I’m more punctual in my activities. It’s as though I’m in tune with the universe.
Types of Meditation:
* Concentration – Involves focusing on a single point, watching the breath, chanting a single word or mantra, or focusing on a candle flame.
* Mindfulness – Mindfulness meditation technique encourages the practitioner to observe wandering thoughts as they drift through the mind. The intention is not to get involved with the thoughts or to judge them, but simply to be aware of each mental note as it arises.
* Compassion – Buddhist in nature, this involves envisioning negative events and recasting them in a positive light by transforming them through the cultivation of compassion.
* Moving – Any type of meditation in which you are using rhythmic movements to quiet the mind. Some examples are Tai-chi, Qigong, yoga and sacred dance.
* Guided – In these meditations, either live or recorded, one is voice-guided step by step through a meditative experience.
You can begin a meditation practice anytime—all you need is a quiet space, good intentions, and a desire to know yourself. The most important thing is to feel love and gratitude for your life. If you’re not in a place spiritually where you can feel those things, don’t worry. Focus on your breath and the physical sensation of breathing and use that focus to calm the mind and relax the body. Over time, and with regular practice, you’ll start to see the changes within yourself that will manifest as benefits in your life.
Simple Meditation for Beginners:
This exercise is a great introduction to meditation.
1. Sit or lie comfortably. You may even want to invest in a meditation pillow or chair.
2. Close your eyes.
3. Make no effort to control the breath; simply breathe naturally.
4. Focus your attention on the breath and on how the body moves with each inhalation and exhalation. Notice the movement of your body as you breathe. Observe your chest, shoulders, rib cage and belly. Make no effort to control your breath; simply focus your attention. If your mind wanders, simply return your focus back to your breath. Maintain this meditation practice for 2-3 minutes to start, and then try it for longer periods.
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