I love meditation. I love to see and hear about the benefits that my friends and students describe as they learn and become life long practitioners of meditation. I have been a practitioner and teacher of meditation for 35 years and I feel it is my responsibility to share my knowledge and that of the people I have had the privilege of studying with over these many years.
One of the reasons that people are drawn to meditation is because it is a great tool to be used in their daily life to help them deal with stress, lack of sleep, or mental chatter; but a practice of meditation can be so much more.
“Learning is not attained by chance, it must be sought for
with ardor and attended to with diligence.”
What is meditation?
Meditation has become a popular technique that offers an individual an easy and enjoyable way to reduce stress, relax, and rejuvenate. It has become a “fix it” technique for all problems associated with stress.
Meditation is a practice of quieting our physical bodies and our chattering minds, and directing our attention inward instead of upon our daily challenges. Today, we can find multiple sources of evidence (http://www.thestudyofwhatif.com/articles.htm) that meditation works and that demonstrate the benefits of meditating. These demonstrated benefits affect us on our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual levels; thus, presenting us with a “wholistic” approach to living our stress-filled lives.
What techniques can I use when I meditate?
Generally, meditation today is used for relaxation and re-energizing after a stressful day. In this respect, there are many ways to meditate to rejuvenate. These include, though are often not thought of as a form of meditating…
§ taking a few minutes to sit quietly and focus your attention on your breathing, on a sound, a single idea, thought or prayer.
§ sitting quietly and consciously and rhythmically breathing.
§ sitting quietly and repeating a prayer, affirmation, or mantra.
§ taking a short nap.
§ taking a quiet bath or a shower.
§ sitting quietly listening to your favorite music.
§ going for a walk.
§ and much more.
Actually, just taking yourself out of a stressful situation can be rejuvenating as it is just like finally getting a full breath of air after you have been hyperventilating.
Why should I meditate?
The obvious reasons to meditate are to
§ re-energize after a stressful day, a challenge, or living;
§ re-energize after one or two or many nights with little or no sleep;
§ for health benefits.
However, meditation can do so much more. Meditation offers us a chance to release and let go, to receive understanding and clarity, and to create opportunities in our lives. We live our lives through the window of our “jar” (http://www.thestudyofwhatif.com/classes.htm), interpreting our lives through our desires, hurts, fear, anger, and disappointments. During our waking hours, we are interpreting our lives through our conscious state (that state where we experience space and time through the five senses/the rational or intellectual levels).
Meditation gives us a quiet retreat to a timeless and spaceless place where we are afforded an opportunity to go beyond our conscious mind and examine ourselves in the subconscious state. Meditation puts us in the same state of consciousness that we experience in the dream state. During REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep, our dream state is, of course, where we review, examine, and resolve our day. The great benefits we derive from dreaming are possible because we are able to work through our daily issues without the limitations that our conscious state puts in our way of understanding our lives. Meditation gives us a broader canvas than the dream state because we can consciously direct the when, who, what, and where of what we are working out.
There are many elements in the meditation process. They include learning how to breathe properly. We hold our breath or hyperventilate, or shallowly breathe when we are under stress. Our bodies need oxygen to be healthy and to process our lives. Oxygen feeds our brains, our hearts, as well as our entire body with life giving/life sustaining energy. Unless one learns to properly breathe, stress related problems will dominate his/her life.
The element of releasing/receiving is vital to living a “whole” life. In order to receive, we must make room. How we make room is to release. If you purchase a new sofa, you have to get rid of the old one to make room for the new one. If you wish to change your life, you must examine what you are ready to release, and then let go. Meditation can help you to both examine it and then let it go.
A wonderful part of the meditation process is that of experiencing and sensing. The meditative state of consciousness puts you in the driver’s seat. If you are able to relax at the beach and you physically cannot take time off work or afford the trip, you can create a trip to the beach in the meditative state. You can go to the beach, you can go to the mountains, you can go anywhere you choose. You can swim under water without the worry of how can I hold my breath, because you will not have to hold your breath. You can fly into the universe and visit the stars without a rocket ship. The added benefit of this experiencing is that you can sense the wind, smell the flowers, feel the warmth or the coolness of the day. And so much more.
You will find that another element is the wonderful way you will find yourself responding to the experience. Your responses can include renewed energy to handle your day, new hope that you are able to live your life, new awareness and new understanding about yourself that you can take into your everyday life.
At first, you may say, can I trust the experiences I have in meditation? However, you will see the results; and, after seeing the results, you will understand and trust the experiences you have in meditation.
Finally, meditation is the greatest teacher and facilitator of the most life changing skill you must learn to make change in your life. That skill is the ability to “stay in present time,” (capturing the moment, present consciousness, present moment, …). We live each moment of our lives interpreting our lives through our jar (http://www.thestudyofwhatif.com/classes.htm), reacting to our life circumstances rather than responding to them. When we learn to live in the “present moment/present consciousness,” we view our life circumstances from outside our jars. From outside our jars, we are consciously able to use our "free will." Free will is our most precious gift and responsibility bestowed on us as human beings.