By sunny breeze
In this post I am going to walk you through the basics of meditation. I am also going to try to explain some basic definitions about meditation, and how I understand them from my personal standpoint. So, if you are an absolute beginner, you will be able to get a feeling of what meditation could feel like. Toward the end I will show you a simple meditation technique, so that, if you like, you can start meditating right away.
Please note that I am not going to talk about the difficulties that sooner or later are bound to kick in in every meditation practice. If you are serious about meditation, you will have to deal with them when the time comes, and there is no point explaining them up front.
If you have been looking at various definitions of meditation, you might have come across the one that says that meditation is a state of complete inner peace with our thoughts totally phased out.
This seems as a nice explanation of what meditation is, but I know from experience that some people get very frightened at the prospect of losing their thoughts. It is easy to see what the origin of this fear is - we are usually identified with our thoughts, so we think if our thoughts are gone, we too will be lost one way or the other.
Nothing can be further from the truth though!
First, it is very hard to stop the process of constant flow of thoughts. Rather than being without thoughts, many beginners will spend years cultivating them and observing their flow in the inner screen of their mind. Second, if we really managed to stop this mental flow, even if just for a moment, we would be much closer to our true self. We would be more alive than usual, and really, really blissful.
But we need not go that far. Even at the beginner's phases of meditation, the practitioner's training brings huge benefits. Because any meditation done right brings relaxation as its side effect.
When I say relaxation, I mean both physical and mental relaxation. First time I managed to even remotely enter into a meditative state, I felt relaxed and peaceful. The practice of meditation, definitely induces a state of harmony and balance and promotes equanimity.
Meditation has another important function. It takes you deep into your inner world - the world of your soul.
When I first started with meditation, I soon found out that it enabled me to sense my inner being much better than I otherwise would have been able to. It also brought some light into the functioning of my physical body and its organs. It allowed me to get a broader and more comprehensive view on my life, one that brings healing and spiritual development.
Yet another description of meditation says that meditation is a natural state of alertness. I have witnessed numerous times that when I am able to meditate properly, I am very alert.
True meditation never comes from the center of our ego. Rather it comes from the depths of our true self. Meditation helps us see what changes are necessary in order for our life to be enriched and fulfilled. Ever since I started practicing meditation regularly, I was able to accept everything that was going on around me more easily, as opposed to forever complaining about why thing are the way they are.
This attitude of accepting things as they are, soon brought me to another realization. I started seeing that I am responsible for everything that is going on around me. Because, if you think about it, where is the border that divides our inner and outer worlds? Is the line between the inner and the outer real or imaginary?
Moving on with our beginner's talk about meditation, let us touch upon the ultimate goal of meditation. As you might or might not know, enlightenment is the main goal of meditation. Now I am again talking about very advance phases of meditation. But I feel it is important to form a picture of what comes later, so we can keep following this path even when it becomes steeper and more difficult.
Enlightenment is hard to describe with words. It involves different state of consciousness than what we are used to be in in our ordinary life. Very roughly speaking, enlightenment means to elevate our human consciousness to a state of lasting peace and universal love, so that everything is covered and fully satisfied: the body, the mind and the emotions.
As Lao-tzu once said, "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step", so let us go back to the first several steps and mention a few words about the benefits of meditation.
Meditation has many benefits. I won't go through all of them here, but if you would like to have a (Non exhaustive) list of the most important meditation benefits check here. One of the main benefits for me, apart from the health benefits which are numerous, is that meditation helps you get more compatible with the people you love.
People with whom you live find it easier to be with you and interact with you. When you meditate you sort of change the frequency of your entire being. You start to spread positive vibrations around you, and if you radiate from the depths of your relaxed and happy inner being, the positive vibrations will return back to you.
If you have never meditated before, there is a simple meditation that you can start with. It is super easy and very simple. In essence it is a type of meditation where you focus on the natural process of breathing, and can take up just a couple of minutes a day: http://www.sunnyray.org/How-to-meditate-every-day.htm
Or if you prefer something other than breathing, here is an article that discusses seven types of meditation suitable for beginners: http://www.sunnyray.org/Seven-meditations.htm
Whatever meditation you choose, don't forget to keep your back straight. Why is that so important you can find out in this post: http://www.sunnyray.org/Posture-meditation.htm
At the end, what do you think about beginner's meditation? Have you ever tried some form of it? Was it hard, easy, refreshing, daunting? What are your experiences?