There are many different styles of Meditation which are usually techniques developed by diverse cultures and religions over thousands of years. Most major religions have a tradition of Meditation included in their teachings, as it is used for spiritual growth, but these days the benefits of Meditation are also being recognised in areas of physical health.Meditation
Meditation works to train the conscious mind to a state of stillness and tranquillity and brings both physiological and psychological benefits.
Many people associate meditation with Eastern philosophies or religion, but meditation takes on many forms and philosophies and no religious bias is necessary. You can take from it whatever it is you need. Primarily, it is a discipline for training your mind to a point of both deep concentration and relaxation.
Although the most common forms of meditation we know today come from the East, the early Christians also meditated. However, the most common forms of meditation were perfected in the East over the centuries within the context of religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism and Sufism.
They were designed to help reach a point of spiritual enlightenment. However, for many people in the West today it is basically a practical self-help technique for coping with the high levels of stress found in daily life.
Methods of meditation may differ, but they all have in common the aim of producing a state of deep relaxation which, it is claimed, rejuvenates both mind and body.
People who meditate regularly say it gives them a new zest for life, with increased energy, improved concentration and an inner peace that leads to better relationships. Sportsmen and women even claim it improves their performance.
When you see someone meditate, it looks as if very little is happening. You may notice that his or her breathing has slowed down, but otherwise he or she remains quite still, eyes closed.
The work is all taking place on the inside. Most of the meditation techniques that are used these days are really concentration techniques. Their effect on the mind might be compared with the effect of exercise on the muscles of the body. They aim to tone up the minds capacity for analysis, concentration, inference, memory, perception, recognition and recall.
By developing in regular meditation sessions the mind’s strength and flexibility, it is able to perform much more effectively and efficiently the rest of the time. In essence, it gives you the ability to stay focused on whatever you happen to be doing.
Learning to meditate
Although it is possible to learn at home from tapes, CDs or DVDs; many people find it most effective to have a teacher to guide them, especially when they are first starting to learn to meditate
One definition of Meditation states that it is “consciously directing your attention to alter your state of consciousness” (Worldwide Online Meditation Center). Attention can be directed to almost anything, as a focus for the Meditation. These commonly include symbols, sounds, breath, colours and spiritual thoughts. Meditation is not difficult but requires practice. Despite is roots in Buddhist meditation, mindfulness is often taught independently of religion.
Today John Kabatt Zin has helped spread the popularity of meditation and its use for training the mind (mindfulness) which can be of help in daily life.