“Touch your inner space, which is nothingness, as silent and empty as the sky; it is your inner sky. Once you settle down in your inner sky, you have come home, and a great maturity arises in your actions, in your behavior. Then whatever you do has grace in it. Then whatever you do is poetry in itself. You live poetry; your walking becomes dancing, your silence becomes music.”
The word meditation comes from the Latin word ''meditatum'' which means to think. Its origins go back a long way, but no one knows for sure when the practice of meditation actually began. Its origins are closely linked to religion and the transfer of knowledge from generation to generation which has subsequently evolved into the practice known today as meditation. First archaeological findings that indicate the use of meditation were found in India and date back to 5.000 to 3.500 B.C.
Just like our apartment needs care, maintenance, and cleaning, so does our body (inside and out) and also our thoughts which are daily filled with worries, various emotions, and information of all kinds. And just as a flower needs the sun and quality soil to bloom in all its colors, our body needs quality food, the sun, clean air, and clean water to flow. And when our body flows, the necessary conditions are built for soul and spirit food to feed our being so we can shine in all our glory.
"Meditation and concentration are the way to a life of serenity.”
- Baba Ram Dass
Does meditation work on our bodies in a purifying or nutritional way?
Basically, meditation helps to reduce tension, stress, negative thoughts, and improves self-awareness, strengthens our internal power, and deepens internal peace. Some effects of meditation are evident after the practice itself (relaxation, appeasement), while the longer and consistent practice is needed to change deeper patterns of behavior, thinking, and performance.
HOW TO START?
We don't need the talent to meditate, only will and perseverance. Once we've mastered the basic logic of meditation, we will remember it for life. Positive effects of meditation are accessible to all, regardless of our religious beliefs, age, and lifestyle. However, as mentioned above, our way of life can have an effect on the flow of our body, and the cleaner it is, the easier and more efficient it is to clean our mental body and widely open the door to the infinite source.
A few minutes of meditation is enough for beginners. It should become the ritual that we perform in a place suited for meditation and also at a certain time. We choose a place where we feel safe and calm, we organize it as we want, with flowers, candles, crystals, images of holy people, with what represents peace, tranquility, and joy.
We first choose a comfortable position, we can sit in a chair (so our spine is aligned) or in the lotus position with our legs crossed. Hands should rest lightly on our legs. The position should be natural and our muscles relaxed.
“Don't hate the drawing of thoughts or stop the thoughts that do Aria. Simply realize that our original mind, right from the start, is beyond thought, so that no matter what, you never get involved with thoughts. Illuminate original mind, and no other understanding is necessary.”
- Zen Master Bankei Yotaku
The biggest challenge for beginners is escaping of thoughts, especially when it is not a guided meditation. Some helping techniques are:
Focusing on breathing (mental focus), observing our inhale and exhale. We can focus on the whole process or only a part of the process like the movement of our stomach or the feeling of air entering and leaving our nostrils. If your thoughts flow away, gently redirect them back to breathing.
Meditative music can help us to draw attention outwards.
Mantras (Sanskrit words or phrases), which are also used by great masters in their meditations, help us to keep focus on the mantra itself. There are many mantras and their use in meditation focuses on their importance. During meditation, the mantra is repeated silently in our minds.
Some meditation techniques are simpler and we can learn them with regular practice and consistency. Once we've mastered the ritual itself, we can gradually extend it.
“The more regular and the more deeply you meditate, the sooner you will find yourself acting always from a center of peace.”
- J. Donald Walters
Meditation is about getting to know yourself, so it's important that we find the technique that suits us, gives us pleasure, serenity, and life energy.
FORMS OF MEDITATION
Meditation is divided into two primary techniques - passive and active.
Passive meditation (also static) is a first step towards deepening our consciousness. It is important here that we achieve a state of pure thought. We achieve this by putting our thoughts aside, focusing on our breathing or mantra. We can also focus on parts of our body, chakra, color, or emotion. This method can also be called the concentration technique of meditation because it is about focusing.
“With every breath, the old moment is lost; a new moment arrives. We exhale and we let go of the old moment. It is lost to us. In doing so, we let go of the person we used to be. We inhale and breathe in the moment that is becoming. In doing so, we welcome the person we are becoming. We repeat the process. This is meditation. This is renewal. This is life.”
- Lama Surya Das
Its contrast, which is still a part of passive meditation, is the mindfulness technique where, by focusing, we don't keep control of our thoughts, instead, we let our thoughts come and go and we, as a third observer, just observe them without getting involved or without following them.
“Mindfulness practice means that we commit fully and in each moment to be present; inviting ourselves to this interface with this moment in full awareness, with the intention that embodies as best we can an orientation of calmness, mindfulness, and equanimity right here and right now.”
- Jon Kabat-Zinn
In a state of passive meditation, we feel deep relaxation, we feel one with the environment and we also call it the state of self-realization. 5 to 10 minutes of practice is enough for passive meditation. To answer the first part of the question - this type of meditation works on our thoughts in a purifying way, it releases stress and calms us and grounds us. This is also a state where we can continue to an active, in-depth meditation (also dynamic) where internal transformation processes and fresh energy supply begin. Active meditation answers the second part of the question - meditation nourishes us, upgrades, teaches, and transforms us.
Meditation is a process of self-realization and there is no recipe for achieving the internal movement phase. Practice, self-observation, and testing of different techniques are required.
VARIOUS MEDITATIVE TECHNIQUES
There are different types of meditation and meditative practices:
Transcendental meditation or TM meditation
Zazen or Zen meditation
Angel meditation (or meditation with beings of light (angels, unicorns, fairies,...))
Active Osho meditation
Breathing awareness meditation
Meditation is becoming popular with increasing numbers of people. The positive effects, accessibility of techniques, schools, and teachers have enabled people to be more informed and called into action. Great spiritual teachers also welcomed new information technologies such as the world wide web, social media, and various applications, where they allow their followers to implement techniques, meditation music, mantras, and programs.
The applications you can find in Google play will help you carry out your meditative practice or to upgrade/learn new ones.
Jagadish Vasudev Sdhguru – Yoga, Meditation & spirituality
Swami Mukundananda-JKYOG to development divine love
Guided meditation is a technique where the master or teacher takes us on a journey to the inner world. The guide reminds us to breathe, conveys visualization, and suggests a mantra. It gives our mind full relaxation through confidence in the teacher's leadership. We don't need any knowledge of this technique and it is especially suitable for beginners to follow carefreely and keep their attention and for the better effect of the meditative state.
The 21-day challenge is a technique first observed in the 50s by a surgeon Maxwell Maltz in his patients. He noticed that his patients needed a period of 21 days to change a certain behavioral pattern. Of course, for certain patterns, we need a longer period of time, but the 21-day time frame is short enough for anyone to accept and long enough for anyone to believe in its success.
The technique has been successfully introduced into his programs also by a spiritual teacher of modern times Deepak Chopra. He made a number of targeted programs that are based on the 21 days, in addition to the daily thoughts, tasks, and reflections, and place a large emphasis on meditation. He and Oprah Winfrey have also worked together to create a 21-day meditation experiment where you can purchase an application and access the program as you wish.
We can all meditate. We can help ourselves as well as our collective consciousness. Satisfaction, inner peace, and pure joy are within our grasp – let us boldly and with love embrace them to become a part of us.