Article by Dr. Robert Puff
There seems to be too much mysticism in the minds of some people when they hear the word, “meditation”. However, the whole concept of meditation is not confined only to the spiritual or mystical, as many people now practice meditation in order to achieve relaxation and improve their mental focus. Actually, you do not even have to belong to a certain religious sect in order to benefit from the practice of meditation. It can be used to induce a feeling of relaxation anytime and anywhere you please.
Meditation is simply a process of focusing your mind on something that can create a sense of awareness. It can simply mean listening to sounds that create images of calmness in the mind or even listening to the flow of your breathing. It is not really a technique, but a state of mind, where the mind is free from scattered thoughts.
There are several elements necessary in order to succeed in meditating. One is a quiet place, if you are just new in practicing meditation. As you get more used to meditating, you would learn to concentrate even in the midst of distractions. This means you can meditate even during very stressful situations such as a company meeting or a confrontation with a family member.
Learning how to breathe is an essential element of successful meditation. Relaxed breathing is a technique where you breathe deeply using your diaphragm muscles to fill the lungs with air. The slow, rhythmic release of air from the lungs contributes a sense of calm.
A thought, a word, or an image to focus on is also necessary to have a successful meditation experience. In order to focus your attention, you can look at or think of a specific object like a place that you associate with peace. You can also recite a mantra (a phrase or a word that is repeated several times); the act of repeating the mantra over and over forces the mind to focus on the sound.
How To Practice Meditation On Your Own
Yes, it is possible to practi ce medit ation on your own. Choose the time and place where you will not be disturbed and follow these simple steps:
1. Practice deep breathing. Focus on how your breathing flows and try to keep a rhythmic pattern of breathing in and breathing out. Try to listen to the sounds you make while breathing.
2. Try focusing attention on different parts of your body. Be aware of the body’s different sensations; if you feel there is a tense muscle anywhere focus your attention on it and imagine slowly lifting the tension away.
3. Take a relaxing walk and combine it with meditation. You can do this anywhere – at the park or inside a mall. Slow down your pace so that you can concentrate on your movements.
4. Take time to focus on gratitude. Expressing gratitude for things that give you joy – family, friends, and sometimes, objects can make you feel relaxed and calm. You can whisper a prayer of thanks for all these things; you can listen to some spiritual music or read inspiring messages.
There is no need to panic whenever your mind drifts during meditation. This is quite common even with people who have been meditating for quite a long time. When this happens, bring your attention back by focusing on an object, a thought or a sensation.
The art of meditation takes some practice before you can perfect it. Once you make it a habit to meditate regularly, you would find a more relaxed state of mind which is able to deal with daily stressful situations.
About the Author
Dr. Robert Puff, Ph.D. has been studying and practicing meditation for over 30 years. He has a free weekly podcast where you can learn everything you need to know about meditation, whether you are looking to start your own personal meditation practice, have been meditating a long time, or are simply exploring the topic. To learn more, go to http://www.MeditationForHealthPodcast.com
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