Throughout history, meditation has been an essential part of many civilizations. Records indicate that meditation was practiced in ancient Greece and India more than 5,000 years back. In the Buddhist religion, meditation is an important part of their religious practice. Different forms of meditation are practiced in China and Japan, and Christianity, Judaism, and Islam have traditions similar to meditation. The word meditation comes from the Latin ‘meditari’ which means: exercise, turn something over in one’s mind, think, consider. It’s defined as “consciously directing your attention to alter your frame of mind.”
Mind-Body Medicine Therapies
Meditation is one of the proven alternative therapies that lately are categorized under the mind-body medicine therapies. It’s continuing to gain popularity, as an increasing number of health experts believe that there’s more to the link between body and mind than modern medicine can explain. Meditation has been proven to assist the immune system and enhance brain activity, according to investigators. An increasing number of doctors are prescribing meditation as a means to reduce blood pressure, improve exercise performance, for individuals with angina, to help people with asthma to breathe easier, to alleviate insomnia, and generally unwind everyday pressures of life. Many hospitals now offer meditation classes to their patients due to the health benefits. All encourage physiological health and well-being.
Traditionally meditation was used for spiritual growth but more recently has become a valuable tool for handling stress and finding a place of calmness, relaxation, and tranquility within a demanding fast-paced universe. Benefits caused by meditation include: psychological and physical healing; relieving stress, fear, and despair; enhanced breathing; developing intuition; profound comfort; exploring greater truths; locating inner guidance; unlocking imagination; manifesting change; psychological cleansing and balancing; and deepening concentration and insight.
Meditation elicits many descriptive terms: stillness, quiet, tranquility, peace, quiet, and serene. All counter stress and tension.
Meditation takes many forms in today’s society. All have something in common. They use concentration methods to still the mind and stop thought. Various practices exist like chanting (Mantra), focusing on energy centers in the body (Chakra Meditation), breathing, mindfulness (Mahamudra), loving kindness, formal sitting (Vipassana), expressive practices (Siddha Yoga), and walking to name a few of the styles. Try each style and find out what works for you or you might wish to switch between the techniques from time to time. For the purposes of this guide, I will talk about Mahamudra and walking meditation.
Practical Steps To Begin Meditating
1. Find a place where there are few external distractions. A place where you feel mentally comfortable, secure, removed from stress and pressure is the best site.
2. Wear clothing that is loose and lie or sit in a comfortable place.
3. Plan to meditate in a place that’s warm and comfortable. You may want a blanket or light covering as some people today experience a sense of coolness when they are not moving about for a time period.
4. Candles may be used to focus attention on the task at hand. If you use them, don’t forget to be careful and extinguish them before leaving the room.
5. Relaxation is a vital part of meditation. Take a few moments to bring about a state of relaxation by taking a deep breath through your nose, expanding your lungs and diaphragm. Hold the breath for a few seconds and slowly exhale through your mouth. Do this several times until you feel rested.
6. Calm, soothing music can be helpful for inducing a state of tranquillity and comfort
7. If you’re hungry, have a little something to eat, since it’s not necessary to meditate on an entirely empty stomach.
8. Put your expectations aside and do not be worried about doing it correctly.
La méditation consciente
Mahamudra is the kind of meditation that’s a means of going about one’s daily activities in a state of mindfulness. It’s meditation integrated into all facets of our lives. This next exercise is one that you can do anywhere to create a sense of inner peace. It’s particularly beneficial for those times you’re stuck in traffic, waiting in line at the supermarket or bank, in the workplace when days are hectic, or when you’re picking up the children from school or extra-curricular actions. Meditation helps us remember to stop and ‘smell the daisies.’
Begin by taking a deep breath. Breathe deeply and as you do expand your lungs and your diaphragm. Hold the breath for a few seconds and slowly exhale through the mouth. Focus on your breath and clear your head. Do this several times until you feel that the slowing of your breath and a profound sense of peace fill your entire body. Consciously feel that the peace permeate your body. Drop your shoulders and join through the top of your head into the Universal Energy. Repeat. If you desire, send peace to those around you by linking to their hearts with love and light.
Méditation à pied
A walking meditation is simply an exercise in consciousness. There are four elements:
- become aware of your breathing,
- notice your surroundings,
- be careful to your body’s motion, and
- take a while to reflect on your experience when you return home.
To practice ‘consciousness walking’ bring consciousness to walking where you find yourself. Take note of your breathing. Are you currently taking short, shallow breaths before knowing it? In that case, take a couple of deep breaths and center yourself in your body and at the present moment. Appreciate the amazing body you’ve got and the blessing of being able to walk.
Notice your surroundings. What is it? Take a few minutes to listen to the noises around you. Feel the breeze, sun, fog, snow or rain on your face. Consider the people, animals, birds, sky, trees, and buildings around you. Breathe in and out and realise that you’re an essential component of the environment.
Focus on your body. Are you currently holding tension in your shoulders, neck, solar plexus, lower back, or thighs? Breath into some areas where you’re feeling tension and let it drain in the Earth. Next, focus on your posture. Are you standing tall and straight or slouching? Walk in a way that’s comfortable for you along with your own body loose and uplifted. Walk with confidence and dignity, 1 foot before the other and look closely at the experience of motion. You may walk mindfully everywhere, along a sidewalk, walking your dog, in the mall, along the halls at work. You only remind yourself to be in this moment, taking each step as it comes. Some folks find it useful to repeat a mantra (mantras are sacred words repeated in order to bring focus to your mind). You could also use a variation on the walking mantra by counting your breaths. Walk more slowly than you do and count how many steps it takes for your intake of breath and the number of steps for your exhale. In this sort of meditation, your attention is focused on both your steps and your breathing bringing together a wonderful balance of peacefulness and awareness.
Take some time to reflect on your experience when you return home. Five or ten minutes brings close to your walk and gives a chance to make the transition from this ‘place of peace’ to normal day-to-day activities.