What is Meditation?

A monk meditating on a rock

There is a quite a bit going on with meditation than most people realize. The average person will probably tell you that meditation is just a tool to calm you down, when in reality that’s probably the least important thing that it is good for. Meditation is a powerful tool that allows us to not only travel inward, deep into ourselves and into our core being. Not only that, but with practice and experience, it can allow us to travel outward as well. All while just sitting there comfortably.  

“Meditation is enough. Everything else follows on its own.”    Osho

Some of the earliest written records of Meditation come from the Hindu traditions of ‘ Vedantism‘ around 1500 BCE. And then later on around the 6th to 5th centuries BCE, other forms of meditation developed in Taoist China and Buddhist India. This practice has been around for a very long time and has changed very little since then. Meditation is still practiced today all around the world, in all countries and almost all continents. With the exclusion being Antarctica of course.

“You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes a day, unless you are too busy. Then you should sit for an hour.” Zen proverb

One of the most important spiritual tools used by beginners and masters alike, is Meditation. ‘So what is Meditation and Why is it so important?’ Lets start with the first question, ‘What is Meditation?’ Now on the surface this seems like an easy question to answer, however it is a lot more complicated than you might think. To the outside observer; Meditation is just sitting there with your legs crossed and the eyes closed breathing deeply. And while yes this is the general basis of the practice, there is still more going on. Meditation is one of the fundamental tools available to us in order to reach deep within and and establish a real connection with our inner selves.

“Meditation practice isn’t about trying to throw ourselves away and become something better, it’s about befriending who we are.” Ani Pema Chodron

Now let’s take a look at the other question, ‘Why is meditation so important?’ Meditation is important for a multitude of reason’s. It can help calm us when we are stressed, it can help bring us peace and understanding. But I think more importantly, It teaches us how to become more than who we are. Meditation teaches you to turn your attention away from the mundane physical and personal experiences of the world were problems seem significant. And turns to experience life through a broader more interconnected perspective, being one with everything. The process transcends and changes our sense of self. So that our problems seem less meaningful, and less troubling. The point is not to reduce the physical cause of discompfort but to change the importance we place on that discomfort.

“Meditation is a death – death of all that you are now. Of course there will be a resurrection, but that will be a totally new, fresh original being which you are not even aware is hidden in you.”  Osho

Through meditation alone we can change our perspective of reality itself, which in turn changes our reality as we know it, into an even greater expansion than we could have possibly believe. So now after taking all of this information the question becomes, ‘How does one Meditate?’

Well i’m pleased to tell you that the answer is really simple. Start by wearing some comfortable clothing, and either sit or lie down and become relaxed, first focus on each part of your body individually. First your feet, then your legs, then your thighs, hands, and so on, for about 10 to 20 seconds each, and just focus on them becoming relaxed. once you’ve done that all the way down to the top of your head, Begin to count silently in your head from 100 down to zero, take your time this is not a race. If any stray thoughts come into your head just ignore them and keep counting, try not to get distracted. once you have reached zero, restart the count from 30 down again to zero. this will help you stay focused and your mind sharp while your body continues to relax. once you have reached zero again sit in the atmosphere of peace you have created for yourself.

“When meditation is mastered, the mind is unwavering like the flame of a lamp in a windless place.”Bhagavad Gita

In this tranquil state of being you might even have an experience but do not expect an experience to happen. Just let whatever happens…. to well happen. Be in the I AM state, you will know when you are ready to finish the session. Now if your going to take this seriously, I recommend that you practice on a daily basis, 10 minutes a night even, is all you need, unless you want to do it more. which i highly recommend doing. However the amount and duration is completely up to you. And finally on one last note. If your really serious about getting into meditation, join a class. When it comes to meditation, personal guidance from a trained and experienced instructor is paramount. It will accelerate your progress tenfold, and you will shoot up to a very high level of skill in no time.

“Meditation brings wisdom; lack of mediation leaves ignorance. Know well what leads you forward and what hold you back, and choose the path that leads to wisdom.” Buddha

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