What is Meditation?
As a simple definition, Meditation is a practice that helps to release stress and anxiety by quieting the mind. When practiced regularly, Meditation will help you enter into and maintain a state of greater clarity and awareness in your daily life. The more you practice meditation the greater its benefits.
Everyone can benefit from a meditative practice as it is a wonderfully restorative process and aids in the releasing of old thoughts and experiences, while helping the practitioner to access higher aspects of their being for inspiration, insight and clarity. Anything you can think about in your daily waking state is appropriate fodder for your meditation practice and the matters that can be considered range from the mundane to the sublime.
What does it feel like to be in a true meditative state? Imagine yourself in a space that requires no effort. Where there is no need to move, think, or do. It is a place in which there is no effort. It is that place with which you strive to connect - a state of being - a state of oneness. Meditation is a tool for developing the peace and mindfulness necessary to live more fully and comfortably as ourselves, particularly during these changing times. When practiced regularly, it will help you feel more joy, love and happiness into your life.
The Fallacies of Meditation
Meditation is an ancient practice and much has been written regarding the discipline needed to practice it. In fact, many people unfamiliar with Meditation, but with flirting knowledge of the subject, assume it is too difficult for them to practice. As a way to counteract those pessimistic views - presented below is a listing of some of the more common fallacies along with facts that dispute them:
Fallacy # 1
One must have a clear mind in order to enter into Meditation.
This is false. The purpose of Meditation is to achieve and maintain a clear mind and not think that one must become an accomplished practitioner before ever starting the practice. This type of thinking would cause even the most optimistic individual to hesitate.
Fallacy # 2
To be effective, meditation must be done early in the morning.
This is totally unnecessary. Meditation can be done at any time of the day or night. As long as the practitioner feels comfortable and is not likely to be disturbed.
Fallacy # 3
You must meditate at the same time each day.
There may be days when due to work, family or other needs that you cannot maintain your scheduled practice. You will benefit equally if you were to meditate one day in the morning and the next at night. However, it is possible that you will feel a desire to meditate at a regular time - thisis fine as long as you don't get caught up in the idea of having to do it at a specific time. Additionally, those who are not very good with consistency might find the pressure of maintaining a schedule hinders their practice. Listen to your body and allow it to tell you when it's time to meditate. This way you can meditate when it is right for you.
Fallacy # 4
Daydreams and spacing out are unproductive.
Did you know, that when you daydream or space out - you're actually in the meditative state? Yes, it's true! When you go off on flights of fancy, you're actually connecting with your inner being and taking your mind out of gear. So, enjoy your daydreams and space out time - as long as you're not driving or operating heavy equipment, etc. :):)
Fallacy # 5
When participating in a group meditation or listening to a Meditation CD or tape, I must follow the instructions exactly as given to achieve the greatest results.
This is of course another misrepresentation. You are no more required to follow everything that is said as you are to jump off a bridge because someone tells you to. You are always free to choose however far you would like to follow the leader. It could be minimally, substantially or anything in between. I have led many such groups over the years and my instructions are always the same. "You can follow me word for word, go off and have your own experience, follow me here and there or any other way that works for you. My purpose is only to set the space and provide guidance for those who desire it."
When participating in a group or listening to a CD or tape, let yourself have your own experience. The more practiced you are, the less you are likely to follow another's instructions in this area, regardless of how advanced or well intentioned they are. This is not a slight of those who lead meditations but rather a recognition that as we become more and more familiar with the process, we can more easily find our way into the meditative state. Once in, we can allow our own spirit to guide us to a place of peace and oneness that serves our highest good.
Some Helpful Hints to Consider in your Practice
Tip # 1
Don't try too hard to make it work.
Mediation is a gentle process so allow yourself to get used to the idea of what meditation is and how it feels. The first few times it might be difficult to stay in the meditative state for more than just a few minutes - if so, don't worry. Seek to expand that time each day, even if it's just by a single minute. In time it will become more comfortable and easier to maintain.
Tip # 2
Seek to work up to a practice that allows you 15 - 20 minutes a day in the meditative space. This will help to create a nice balance. If you desire, you can always extend the time beyond this suggestion or even create a second time of the day for further contemplation.
Take your time and don't rush to meditate excessively. Build up to the suggested 15 - 20 minute daily practice gradually. Initially, the longer or more frequently you meditate - the more old issues and fears are likely to arise faster than you might wish. This is a natural process and results from the balancing and cleansing of the Chakra(s). As the Chakra(s) become more balanced, they will naturally seek to release lower vibrational energies that we often refer to as fears, issues, trauma's, etc., that sometimes come up unexpectedly. If this occurs for you, don't be concerned. Just allow these energies to dissipate naturally. If for some reason you're having difficulty letting them go, ask you Higher Self to help you release the experiences that underlie these energies as it serves the highest good. This will help you to regain a sense of comfort more readily.
Tip # 3
If you want to meditate but have many things on your mind it may be difficult to relax and let go. Taking the time to write down what you need to remember can help to let you relax and move into the meditative state more easily.
These are just a few simple suggestions to help you get started. Remember, Meditation is a simple process and one you have often experienced when you daydream or space out. It is safe, natural and highly beneficial in releasing stress, strain, anxiety and promoting peacefulness and relaxation. The time spent in learning ths practice will benefit you now and always. I wish you much happiness and joy as you set forth upon this new path of experience.