Meditation is more than a method for relaxing the body, as some people think. It is a way for gaining freedom from incessant, nagging thoughts and worries, quieting the chatter of the mind, and attaining inner peace and happiness. In its higher levels it leads to spiritual awakening, enlightenment, and to realizing who and what you are.
Though it plays an important role in various religions and spiritual practices, it is actually a practice that is free from all religious connotations, and has always been practiced everywhere, from ancient times until the present day. There has always been the desire to go within, to find what is beyond the physical form, and to find the real spirit and the relation between mankind, the world and the creator.
There are many forms, techniques and traditions of meditation, which are practiced and followed for various reasons and aims, for relaxation and health, for mental mastery and inner peace, and of course for attaining spiritual awakening - enlightenment, and for discovering who you really are.
Meditation calms down the body and the mind, reduces stress and anxiety, normalizes the blood pressure and has a healing effect on the body. It improves the power of concentration, sharpens the mind and strengthens the intuition. Its constant practice reduces the number of restless thoughts in the mind and brings inner peace, happiness and bliss.
In order to obtain results it has to be practiced every day, at least once a day, twice a day is better. A beginner may start with only 10 minutes and gradually increase the time.
Essentially, there are two forms of meditation. One that requires focusing the mind on a certain activity, such as on the breathing process, or on a concrete object, mental image, a word, thought or a quality of character. The other form requires that you do not focus on any concrete object, thought or mental image, but to empty the mind of thoughts, and merge into the inner silence within you, into your Real, Inner Self. This form can only be practiced after one is well trained with the first form.
Below you will find several things you can do to improve your ability to meditate, mitigate the inner resistance of the mind, and improve your chances of success. Read them attentively, and apply them to any technique that you practice.
Tips and advice for meditation:
It is important to meditate every day.
Keep up a positive attitude.
Do not meditate when you are tired.
Meditate in a place where you can be alone and undisturbed.
Sit in a comfortable position with your spine erect. You can sit on the floor, on a cushion or on a chair.
Relax your body.
Take a few slow deep breaths.
To relax even more, for a few moments focus on a pleasant memory, or a mental image of a place that makes you feel calm.
Think for a few moments about the benefits of meditation, how it will strengthen your focus, calm down your mind, ease stress and tension, etc.
Before you start to meditate, tell yourself that all thoughts, ideas and plans will have now to wait until you finish, and that nothing is going to distract your mind.
Start meditating calmly, yet with focused attention. The more focused the attention is, the easier it is to ignore thoughts and other distractions.
Keep calm both mentally and physically, and do not tense your body.
Patience, perseverance and self discipline should be always cultivated.
10 minutes are quite enough for a beginner.
Start with a simple meditation technique. Here are two examples:
a) Focus your attention on your incoming and outgoing breath.
For a few minutes, focus your attention on your breath. Breathe normally, while focusing on the act of breathing in and breathing out. Be careful not to strain your breath and your body.
b) Focusing on an inspiring quote.
Choose an inspiring quote from any spiritual teacher, and repeat it in your mind, trying to find its deep meaning, beyond the written words.