“Meditation is sticking to one thought. That single thought keeps away other thoughts; distraction of mind is a sign of its weakness; by constant meditation it gains strength”.
– Sri Ramana Maharshi
These words, from one of the great spiritual teachers, Sri Ramana Maharshi, define in concise words what means to meditate.
According to these words, meditation means focusing your mind on one thought, and keeping away all other thoughts.
In this article, I would like to offer meditation guidance, meditation tips, and also a few definitions.
Let’s first start with a few definitions of meditation, to clarify what it is, and then offer some meditation guidance and tips.
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How can we define meditation? What does it mean?
- Meditation is a technique for calming down the nonstop activity of the mind and experiencing inner peace.
- It is a way to freedom from constantly nagging thoughts and worries.
- It is a method for relaxing the body and reducing stress and anxiety.
- This is a process of going within and experiencing higher awareness.
- It is a way to go within, and become aware of the real I, one’s real essence.
Meditation definition according to Cambridge dictionary:
“The act of giving your attention to only one thing, either as a religious activity or as a way of becoming calm and relaxed.”
Meditation definition according to Merriam Webster:
“To engage in mental exercise (such as concentration on one’s breathing or repetition of a mantra) for the purpose of reaching a heightened level of spiritual awareness.”
Encyclopedia Britannica says
“Private devotion or mental exercise encompassing various techniques of concentration, contemplation, and abstraction, regarded as conducive to heightened self-awareness, spiritual enlightenment, and physical and mental health.”
Definition according to Wikipedia:
“A practice where an individual uses a technique – such as mindfulness, or focusing the mind on a particular object, thought, or activity – to train attention and awareness, and achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm and stable state.”
Purpose of Meditation
Meditation plays an important role in many religions and spiritual traditions. People everywhere have been practicing it, from ancient times until the present day.
It is not only a technique for relaxing the body, though many practice it for this purpose.
It can also lead to:
- Inner peace
- Mental mastery
- The ability to silence the mind, while staying fully alert
- Spiritual awakening and enlightenment
Some of the requirements of meditation include inner work, focus, discipline and patience. It does not matter if you do not posses these skills yet. As you continue meditating, gradually, these skills will awaken in you.
Of course, you can make faster progress if you also devote time each day for increasing focus and discipline, by practicing suitable exercises.
Meditation involves learning to control your mind and your attention. This is most valuable not only for this practice, but also in every area of life.
The Benefits of Meditation
What are the benefits of meditation? Here are a few of them:
- It is a practice that calms down the body and the mind and conserves the energy.
- This practice reduces stress and anxiety.
- It normalizes the blood pressure and has a healing effect on the body.
- This practice improves the focus and the power of concentration, sharpens the mind, and awakens the intuition.
- A regular practice reduces the number of restless thoughts in the mind.
- You gain inner peace, happiness and a sense of bliss.
- You learn to live in the present moment.
- Its practice improves the emotional and mental health.
- It can lead to the expansion of consciousness Spiritual Awakening, Enlightenment and Nirvana.
Meditation Guidance and Tips
I would like to offer you some advice on how to meditate, and a few tips to improve your ability to meditate.
1. Meditate everyday
If you wish to achieve real results, it is important that you meditate every day.
It is best to meditate regularly, even if it is just for a few minutes. Practicing meditation every day at the same time will turn this practice into a habit. When it turns into a habit, you will encounter less inner resistance and would need less effort.
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Don’t worry if you cannot practice at the same hour every day, Just use the best time for you and everything would be okay.
2. Keep up a positive attitude
Approach this practice with a positive state of mind. A positive state of mind would help you stay motivated and enthusiastic.
3. When you are tired get some rest first
Do not meditate when you are tired. When tired, it is difficult to focus the attention and you might fall asleep. It is better to rest first. That’s one of the reasons that the early morning is a good time, since you are refreshed, after an night’s sleep.
4. Find a quiet place
Meditate in a quiet place, where you can be undisturbed. It should be a meditative space free of noises and distractions.
Conversations you hear while meditating, street and cars noises, TV and the radio, your smartphone, all of them can disturb your focus.
5. A comfortable position
Sit in a comfortable position with your spine erect.
You can sit on the floor, on a cushion, or on sit in a chair. There is no need to sit cross legged, unless you find it convenient. Do what you find most convenient and comfortable.
The important thing is to keep your body as comfortable as possible, and with your back straight. There is absolutely no need to sit in a difficult and uncomfortable position that tenses your body and disturbs your focus.
When you feel physical sensations, such as itching, strive to stay as calm as you can.
6. Deep breathing
After sitting down, take a few slow deep breaths and focus on your breath. Inhaling and exhaling deeply a few times would calm down your mind and body.
Breathe slowly in, hold your breath briefly, and then exhale slowly. There is no need for complicated breathing techniques.
Relax your body. Pay attention to your body and calm down each tensed muscle. Start from your feet and up to your head. Focus on each part of your body, paying attention to how tense it is, and then relaxing it.
8. Use your imagination
A few moments before you start meditating, bring to your awareness a memory of a pleasant event. You can also imagine being in a place where you feel calm and relaxed. This would help you relax.
Discover how to focus your attention
Learn about emotional detachment and letting go
9. Think about the benefits
For a few moments, think about the benefits of meditation. Think how it will strengthen your focus, calm your mind, and ease your stress and tension.
10. Resolve to disregard distracting thoughts
Before you sit down to meditate, tell your mind in a firm way that all thoughts will have to wait until you finish. Be clear about this.
11. Keep your mind focused
Stay calm, physically, mentally and emotionally and keep a state of focused attention. Whenever your mind wanders away, bring it back.
The more focused the attention is, the easier it is to ignore thoughts and distractions. This might not be easy, but with perseverance it would become easier.
12. Do not tense your body
Strive not to tense your body. If you feel that tenseness is increasing within your body, stop for a moment and relax your body.
13. Cultivate patience and perseverance
Continue, despite difficulties and inconvenience. Some patience and self-discipline are useful.
10 minutes of practice are quite enough for a beginner. In time, as you gain experience and expertise, you may increase the time.
There are many forms of meditation, such as guided meditation, mindfulness, transcendental, walking, and mindfulness meditations, to name a few. Try some of these meditative practices, to find the one most suitable for you.
I hope you find this short meditation guidance useful.
Books that include meditation guidance:
Calm Down the Nonstop Chatter of Your Mind
Emotional Detachment for Happier Life
Image source – DepositPhotos
Do you wish to free your mind from endless thinking?
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What is the most powerful meditation technique? ›
Yoga Nidra: The most powerful meditation technique to restore the body and mind.What are 10 ways to meditate tips? ›
- Start small. Set a timer for only two minutes. ...
- Try a meditation app. ...
- Choose the right time. ...
- Find a good location. ...
- Sit comfortably. ...
- Don't worry about doing it wrong. ...
- Count your breaths. ...
- Understand that your mind will wander, and come back to the moment.
- Sit upright comfortably.
- Breathe deeply.
- Gently close your eyes.
- Slowly scan your body, and notice any sensations.
- Be aware of any thoughts you are having.
- When your mind wanders, focus on your breath.
- Gently open your eyes when you are ready.
When you sit to meditate, ask in prayer the question you want to have answered. Pose it clearly – perhaps even write it down. Then go ahead and do your meditation techniques, stilling your body and mind, opening your heart, and lifting your consciousness as close to a superconscious state as possible.What is the secret to meditation? ›
The secret to meditation is finding the technique that most quickly helps the meditator focus their mind. This requires experimentation and time for the mind to grow used to the new technique. It's best to sit with one technique for a few weeks before moving on.What is the true power of meditation? ›
Meditation lets you become more aware and more purposeful about your actions. It teaches you how to respond, rather than react, to situations in your life. Meditation sounds simple. But it takes discipline to remain still in body and mind.What are the 5 elements of meditation? ›
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Meditation and emotional and physical well-being
Gaining a new perspective on stressful situations. Building skills to manage your stress. Increasing self-awareness. Focusing on the present.
If one or several uses of the Six Rs didn't release all the tension, it will let us know by arising again. We Recognize, Release, Relax, Re-smile, and Return again, perhaps going a little further each time.What are 2 ways to meditate? ›
You can sit in a chair with your feet on the floor, you can sit loosely cross-legged, you can kneel—all are fine. Just make sure you are stable and in a position you can stay in for a while. Follow the sensation of your breath as it goes in and as it goes out.
What is the highest level of meditation? ›
Samadhi (Pali and Sanskrit: समाधि), in Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism, Sikhism and yogic schools, is a state of meditative consciousness. In Buddhism, it is the last of the eight elements of the Noble Eightfold Path.What are the 3 stages of meditation? ›
- STAGE 1: OBSERVING THOUGHTS AND FEELINGS.
- STAGE 2: OBSERVING SILENCE.
- STAGE 3: LOSING YOURSELF.
Do try to sit or lie down in a comfortable place where you feel relaxed. You can keep your eyes open or close them, just do what feels right for you. Don't force yourself to start breathing with a specific style, like belly breathing or nose breathing. It can initially put you off or even make you feel light-headed.Can meditation unlock your brain? ›
Starting in 2005, Harvard neuroscientist Sara Lazar began to publish some mind-blowing findings: Meditation can literally change the structure of your brain, thickening key areas of the cortex that help you control your attention and emotions.What are the things you should not do during meditation? ›
- Do Not Follow Thoughts Down a Path. Think about listening to a song. ...
- Do Not Get Up Before the Full Time of the Meditation Is Complete. ...
- Easy Mantra Meditation. ...
- Exercise: Sing a Tune.
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The basic concept of meditation is that it is a practice that connects the mind and the body. Its purpose is to help increase both physical and mental peace and calm, which also helps you to learn how to live more fully in the present.Is meditation a left or right brain? ›
Some of the earliest scientific studies of meditation investigated patterns of brain activity in the right versus left hemisphere. These studies found a greater degree of activation in the right hemisphere for meditators versus non-meditators.What happens if we meditate everyday? ›
Daily meditation can help you perform better at work! Research found that meditation helps increase your focus and attention and improves your ability to multitask. Meditation helps clear our minds and focus on the present moment – which gives you a huge productivity boost.What are 7 benefits of meditation? ›
The mental health benefits of meditation include better focus and concentration, improved self-awareness and self-esteem, lower levels of stress and anxiety, and fostering kindness. Meditation also has benefits for your physical health, as it can improve your tolerance for pain and help fight substance addiction.
What are the 4 stages of meditation? ›
The dhyanas are followed by four further spiritual exercises, the samapattis (“attainments”): (1) consciousness of infinity of space, (2) consciousness of the infinity of cognition, (3) concern with the unreality of things (nihility), and (4) consciousness of unreality as the object of thought.What is 11 step meditation? ›
"Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out."How long should a person meditate? ›
Mindfulness-based clinical interventions such as Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) typically recommend practicing meditation for 40-45 minutes per day. The Transcendental Meditation (TM) tradition often recommends 20 minutes, twice daily.What makes meditation difficult? ›
Why is it so hard for me to meditate? If we're having difficulty meditating, it probably means we're trying too hard to control our mind and our practice. Meditation isn't mind control, magic, or a superpower … even if we wish it were. It's a practice that teaches us to be comfortable with our mind just as it is.What can 5 minutes of meditation do? ›
Research has shown that just five minutes of meditation a day is enough to help clear the mind, improve mood, boost brain function, reduce stress, slow down the ageing process and support a healthy metabolism. Some days you may have more time, and other days you may have less.What does a 10 minute meditation do? ›
We all deserve to find and feel peace throughout our day. The benefits of a regular 10-minute meditation practice include a calmer mind, a more relaxed body, increased focus, clarity, and a greater sense of empathy and compassion.Can you meditate in bed? ›
Jackson adds that meditation is something you can do anywhere without any equipment—that means that you can easily meditate in bed, which is very convenient. Meditating from any comfortable place, including your bed, can make you feel a lot more relaxed and allow you to have those precious moments of peace and quiet.What is the simplest way to meditate? ›
- Sit or lie comfortably. You may even want to invest in a meditation chair or cushion.
- Close your eyes. ...
- Make no effort to control the breath; simply breathe naturally.
- Focus your attention on the breath and on how the body moves with each inhalation and exhalation.
- You feel more motivated. ...
- You are sleeping better. ...
- You got this! ...
- You stop comparing your practice. ...
- You are less stressed. ...
- You have more room in your mind. ...
- Meditation isn't something you have to do – you look forward to it. ...
- You realize you don't need a dark room and scented candles.
Shiva is also known as Adiyogi Shiva, regarded as the patron god of yoga, meditation and the arts.
What is the oldest form of meditation? ›
The earliest records of meditation (dhyana) are found in the Upanishads, and meditation plays a salient role in the contemplative repertoire of Jainism, Buddhism and Hinduism.What happens if you meditate too long? ›
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Focus on a five-count breath:
- Slowly inhale from the belly.
- Then into ribs.
- Then into chest.
- Up into crown of the head.
- Then gently hold the breath for the fifth count.
- Step 1: Listen to your breathing. When you're meditating, the point is to focus on one thing and allow your other thoughts to pass by, according to Mayo Clinic. ...
- Step 2: Don't move. Most people are fidgety. ...
- Step 3: Use a mantra.
- Create a consistent schedule. As with any other good habit, practice makes perfect when it comes to calming our thoughts. ...
- Create a meditative space. ...
- Meditate with others. ...
- Meditate virtually. ...
- Meditate to a recording. ...
- Do some yoga first. ...
- Start with some breathwork. ...
- Add music.
On your inhale, focus on breathing in positive emotions like love, compassion and inspiration. On your exhale, focus on expelling negative emotions from your body, such as stress, anger or resentment.Can meditation change IQ? ›
Boost your IQ
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Only 8 weeks of daily meditation can decrease negative mood and anxiety and improve attention, working memory, and recognition memory in non-experienced meditators. These findings come from a recent study published in Behavioural Brain Research.What part of the brain grows in meditation? ›
Meditation has been linked to larger amounts of gray matter in the hippocampus and frontal areas of the brain. I didn't know what this meant at first, but it turns out it's pretty great. More gray matter can lead to more positive emotions, longer-lasting emotional stability and heightened focus during daily life.What is the highest level of meditation called? ›
Samadhi (Pali and Sanskrit: समाधि), in Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism, Sikhism and yogic schools, is a state of meditative consciousness. In Buddhism, it is the last of the eight elements of the Noble Eightfold Path.
What is the most ancient form of meditation? ›
The earliest records of meditation (dhyana) are found in the Upanishads, and meditation plays a salient role in the contemplative repertoire of Jainism, Buddhism and Hinduism.Which meditation increases brain power? ›
Simply put, mindfulness meditation (even when practiced a few minutes each day) changes brain structure. Those areas that are responsible for helping us remember things more vividly, focus better and improve self-awareness are boosted. By the same token, areas responsible for stress and anxiety are reduced.Who is the father of meditation? ›
He was 'the father of meditation' in the West – Paramahansa Yogananda travelled from India to America in 1920 and established an alternative spirituality that would take the West by storm.Which country is famous for meditation? ›
Nepal. The country popularly known as birth place of Lord Buddha, Nepal is a beautiful asian nation boasting world's highest peak of Mount Everest. This origin nation of Buddhism is of course the ultimate destination of anyone looking for the best meditation and wellness retreat.Is it OK to meditate in bed? ›
Jackson adds that meditation is something you can do anywhere without any equipment—that means that you can easily meditate in bed, which is very convenient. Meditating from any comfortable place, including your bed, can make you feel a lot more relaxed and allow you to have those precious moments of peace and quiet.Do and don'ts during meditation? ›
Do try to sit or lie down in a comfortable place where you feel relaxed. You can keep your eyes open or close them, just do what feels right for you. Don't force yourself to start breathing with a specific style, like belly breathing or nose breathing. It can initially put you off or even make you feel light-headed.Which meditation improves memory? ›
Combined Preksha dhyana meditation groups demonstrated significant improvements in affect, attention, and short-term memory in a prospective cohort-controlled study.