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Meditation: An Introduction

Learn what is meditation, what are the benefits of meditating regularly, the different types of techniques, and more.

 

Meditation: An Introduction

Meditation is the process of exploring the heart and mind and experiencing the richness of awareness. Practicing it is not about eliminating unwanted things and habits you don’t like about yourself or becoming a better person. In fact, it helps you to see that you are already a complete person and enables you to get in touch with your true nature.
Meditation has three basic aspects. The first is recognizing your true nature or spiritual revival for yourself to connect to the infinite. The second aspect is to submerge your mind into deep concentration through chanting, mantras, and various breathing exercises for a particular reason. The third aspect of meditation is living with mindfulness in thoughtless awareness until it transforms your life completely.

Origin of Meditation

In the Indus Valley, evidence of meditation has been discovered by archaeologists in wall art dating from approximately 5,000 – 3,500 BCE. Different images on the rock wall depict people sitting in various meditation postures. 

 

For example, you can recognize the figures sitting on the ground with crossed legs, hands resting on their knees, and their eyes slightly closed. Various descriptions of meditation techniques are also found in Indian scriptures from around 3,000 years ago.

As the centuries passed, most of the renowned religions in the world adopted the basic concepts of meditation. While the methods and techniques may vary from culture to culture and religion to religion, people across the globe believe meditation is an essential cornerstone of spiritual development. 

Origin of Meditation in West

Meditation first began in the West in the 1700s, when some of the Eastern philosophy texts, containing references to meditation techniques and practices, were translated into different languages. Essentially it was brought to the West by gurus and yogis.  

With the passage of time, western meditation teachings have tended to divide along the lines of religion, culture, spirituality, and science. Depending on the beliefs and preferences of the learners, they choose the style that resonates the most with their beliefs. 

 

Benefits of Meditation

The benefits of meditation are uncountable and varied and supported by science. People mostly start meditating to manage their stress, reduce anxiety, change addictive behaviors, improve sleep, and get peace of mind. But there are thousands of studies documenting other less-known benefits of meditation that may have a positive impact on mental, physical, and emotional health. 

Meditation Promotes Emotional Imbalance

It can teach you how to understand your mind and thoughts. Also, it can completely transform your mental state from disturbed to peaceful, and constructive. It is a natural stress stabilizer and has similar effects as prescription medications in treating depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues.

Meditation Brings True Happiness

Consistently practicing it can bring you closer to a life of true happiness even if your external living conditions are miserable. After just a few training sessions, your mind can become more peaceful. With regular practice, it is possible to experience a feeling of pure happiness. Eventually, meditation can help you gain the ability to feel happy at any time, any place, even in the most difficult of circumstances.

Meditation Impact on Physical Health

There are different studies that explore the impact of meditation on disorders like pain and fibromyalgia in teenagers, migraine, and hypertensive conditions, and psoriasis. Committing to daily practice can improve the overall quality of life, and has long-term benefits for physical health.

Meditation Improves Sleep Quality

By bringing a positive shift in lifestyle, meditation improves sleep quality and reduces fatigue. According to recent studies, if you meditate at night before sleeping, it can help you with insomnia and sleep disorders. A short practice right before you hit the bed can help calm your nerves and get you into a relaxed state.

Types of Meditation

There are hundreds of meditation methods encompassing practices from different cultures, religions, traditions, spiritual disciplines, and beliefs. You can simply not entitle any type as the best or most effective type of meditation, rather, it is your personal preference that helps you choose which technique works best for you. Here’s a breakdown of some of the popular types of meditation for your easy understanding.

Breath Awareness

This is the primary form of meditation. You can practice it in silence and a peaceful place while focusing on your breathing. Most meditation guides use this type of meditation in combination with mindfulness.

Body Scan

Body scan, also known as progressive relaxation, is sometimes combined with breathwork. Guided meditations often suggest people this type of practice, which requires you to scan your body from head to toe for points of tension. The most effective way to scan your body is to start with your feet and move up towards your head, flexing, tightening, and then releasing your muscles.

Mindfulness

This form of meditation is a little different than other common types and you can practice it anytime, anywhere. To practice mindfulness, you just need to be aware of your present moment. For this you don’t need to clear your thoughts, instead, focus on what is happening around you or inside your mind.

Transcendental

This type of meditation uses breathing to transcend to a different state of being. It allows you to settle inward to a profound state of relaxation with the purpose of achieving inner peace without concentration or extra effort. In transcendental meditation, personally assigned mantras, such as a word, sound, or small phrase, are repeated in a specific way. You can practice it 20 minutes twice each day while sitting comfortably with the eyes closed in a peaceful place.

Metta Meditation

Also known as Loving-Kindness Meditation, is the practice of directing well-wishes toward others. In this method, you recite specific words and phrases meant to evoke warm-hearted feelings. You can practice it while sitting in a comfortable and relaxed position. After a few deep breaths, you recite the following phrases slowly and steadily in your own languages, “May I be happy and peaceful. May I be fine.” After a few moments, begin to picture a family member or loved one and repeat the phrases, but this time replace “I” with “you.” This type of practice helps you open yourself up to be more kind and loving as a person. No matter what kind of meditation you decide to practice, you need to do it regularly for the best results. Even practicing it for only five minutes every day could be enough. If you have a hectic routine then wake up a few minutes early in the morning to practice meditation.

CBD with Meditation

Over the past many years, meditation has been used to significantly lower stress and regulate emotions. When you combine meditation with the soothing effect of CBD, you give yourself an amazing arsenal to fight negative emotions and take your meditation sessions to a whole new level. In recent years, researchers confirmed that CBD can have a considerable impact on your emotional, mental, and physical wellbeing. That is why an increasing number of brands have included hemp compounds in their products. Incorporating CBD into your meditation sessions, you may finally be on your way to overcoming stress and anxiety, especially if you find it challenging to meditate deeply. CBD might be particularly effective for you if you are new to meditation. With regular practice, you will be able to achieve a sense of inner peace and clarity, and able to focus on the real things in your life.

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