Sunday, April 5, 2009

Meditation - The Basics (Updated)

Many people have misconceptions on meditation that it's religious-based and that one needs to spend alot of time and effort into it.  Do have some time reading this article to understand a little more about meditation.

Meditation has been around for the last few thousand years and is practised among all religion in the world, even now where people on a spiritual, non-religious pursuit engage as well.  It's a form of mind exercise to help get rid of the clutter of the mind from the daily chores so it's renewed for a new day.  Like the commonly understood physical exercise where one sweats it out, meditation sweats out the mind of "toxin" to regain one's emotional balance.

And contrary to popular belief, one can achieve results with just 10 minutes of meditation 3 times a week.  It's that simple.  However, there are certain guidelines prior to starting the meditation exercise.

  1. A designated, well ventilated room away from noise and disturbances e.g kids, pets, TV, music etc
  2. Loose fitting clothing for the body to be comfortable
  3. Sit on the floor legs crossed in a position you're most comfortable with, or if it's physically not possible, it's ok to be meditate sitting on a chair or bed.
  4. Have some incense, or essential oil to burn nearby to help focus thoughts, relaxes the mind and body

It's very natural for someone new to meditation to experience many thoughts "popping" into the mind when trying to meditate, it's the brain's natural system to adjust to the rhythm of meditation.  The more clutter one has in the day time, the more such "popping" thoughts come.  The way to handle this is let it be. 

Look at it as if you're watching a moving scenery with patience and it'll pass.  For the first few meditation exercises, it's very normal for the mind to wander without settling down.  Persist on the meditation routine and the "popping" thoughts will begin it's diminishing-return cycle.  This is also the start for one to feel calmer to their daily life challenges.  If it proves too difficult, it's ok, stop the meditation and have a break.  One can always do it again the next day or the day after.

The process is the same as starting an exercise regime.  The "popping" thoughts is akin to the lactic acid build-up in the muscles when one is starting their training.  To enjoy the effects of the exercise/meditation, it's important to hold out this "breaking in" period.  Some will take longer, some shorter, it all depends on patience and perseverance.

Make it a personal goal to want a balanced you and the "breaking in" period would be easier to endure.

So what should one do in the meditation?  There're a few ways to help the mind focus.

  1. Count your breaths
  2. Visualise the gentle flame of a burning candle and focus just on it
  3. For those who has a religion, they can chant a passage from their Bible scripts, Buddhist mantras, or just visualise a holy symbol of their religion

In any case where one starts seeing a deceased friend/relative "popping" up wanting to talk to you, it's important to understand that it's part of the sub-conscious uncluttering itself as we might be hanging onto loving thoughts of the deceased.  It's also important not to get emotional when this happens so the living goes on their life normally while the deceased continues their journey.

This goes the same to the religious seeing their prophets "coming to talk to you".  Allowing that to pass helps one understands the balance between reality and religion.  Religion is to facilitate one understanding the importance of conducting oneself and our role on Earth and the Universe.  On a deeper pursuit, religion lays the Path to connect us back to The Higher Power.

After a few sessions settling down into meditation and getting over the "breaking in" period with patience, one will find themselves calmer, facing problems and decision-makings easier.  All in a clearer, more balanced mind.