Meditation is a method for calming the mind and getting focused. Meditation techniques can be found in most religions and are part of many spiritual teachings. No one knows how long humans have been meditating, but the oldest text that mentions meditation was found in India and dates back five thousand years. The most well-known meditation techniques originate in the East, and meditation teachings were widely spread by Buddha and his students in the fifth century B.C.E. In the 1960s and 1970s, meditation began to become known in the mainstream culture in the United States.
Why should I meditate?
Why should you meditate? You can receive many benefits from practicing some form of meditation. You may have heard about how meditation can reduce stress, improve your physical health, and help you manage or avoid a wide range of stress-related illnesses. Meditation also teaches you to become centered amidst your fluctuating emotions, and thus to be calm no matter the situation.
Regular meditation can quiet the chatter of the mind, allowing you to observe your thoughts without getting caught up in their often chaotic patterns. You can also learn to focus and concentrate more effectively. Meditation encourages you to go deep within and access your inner wisdom. Through this practice, you can access your intuition more regularly, aiding your problem-solving and creativity.
Despite its advantages, there are many misconceptions about the practice of meditation. You might think it’s too hard, weird, boring, or that it requires huge chunks of time each day. Meditation isn’t difficult, but it does require dedication and practice. Luckily, you can start slowly and build your skills over time. Even a brief session of daily meditation, say ten or fifteen minutes, will soon yield tangible results. You can learn to meditate on your own, without a teacher, in the privacy of your own home. You don’t have to sit cross-legged on the floor, wear special clothing, or learn Sanskrit chants. And far from being boring, your meditation session will soon become a cherished part of your daily routine.
Types of Meditation
There are many types of meditation. Three basic categories are:
Seated meditation. This includes the use of guided meditations (being guided through your session, usually by a recorded CD or audio file) as well as traditional silent meditation.
Moving meditation. This can include walking meditations, mantras and affirmations, or deliberate meditative focus on a daily activity, like doing the dishes or walking the dog.
Mindfulness meditation. This is a method for living your life with conscious focus. Mindfulness meditation is the practice of being aware of the present moment, of who and where you are right now.
Meditation is a basic building block for spirituality. Practicing will help you gain focus, calm, and clarity in your life. Meditation is flexible, and can easily be integrated into your daily life. If you want to find more in-depth information, a variety of resources are available to help you dive deeper. Classes, books, CDs, websites, workshops, and retreats are available for many forms of meditation, both traditional and contemporary.