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    • 15 SEP 12
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    An Introduction to Meditation: Part One

    Kyoto meditation room by Flickrlickr
    If you have ever tried to sit down and meditate and found yourself giving up after a few minutes because you had too many distractions or just couldn’t sit still without your mind wandering, then you are not alone. Meditation is not as easy as people make it out to be. Or is it? Despite what you may think, anyone can meditate an , in fact, often do so without even knowing they are. Do you remember being at school and suddenly realizing you hadn’t heard a word your teacher was talking about because you had been staring blankly out of the window? Chances are, you were meditating. In its simplest form, meditation is a state of just letting go, switching off everything around you, allowing the mind to return to its state of inner self. So why is it so healthy for us? What form of meditation is best? How do you start? Well, as they say, let’s begin at the beginning….
    1. To spring clean. Clearing out the mind will sweep away negative aspects of consciousness and harmful subconscious habits and impulses. All our thoughts turn into chemicals, so-called stress hormones. Meditation allows the person to become unstuck from toxic thoughts and emotions.
    1. To relax and feed the brain. By relaxing the mind memory skills and concentration are improved. Meditation is food for the brain, it feeds its cells to renew and energize, in the same way that food on your plate recharges your body.
    1. To enhance spirituality. Meditation allows the mind to come back to the true inner self of stability, intuition and natural harmony.
    1. Physical therapy – If you want to see what your thoughts were like yesterday, look at your body today. If you want to see what your body will look like tomorrow, look at your thoughts today. Stress of the mind manifests in the body. Any dissatisfaction or power of suggestion expresses itself physically – insomnia, allergies, heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, muscle pains, arthritis, cancer, etc.
    1. To deal with pain. By taking our mind to a relaxed state it changes its focus from the pain of disease, whether chronic or acute.
    Just as we eat our meals at certain times of day, meditation can be practiced more than once a day if you wish. In general, the best time to meditate is in the early morning before dawn. If you are not awake then, try sunrise or sunset. If you think you only have time to meditate once a week, the best day is a Thursday, followed by Wednesday, Monday or Friday. Meditate during a waxing moon. If you are new to meditation, set yourself a goal of five minutes to begin with, then gradually increase to fifteen minutes, or for as long as you wish.
    Meditation is a way of life, which rests on certain procedures. Just as eating a good meal requires preparation of ingredients, the subconscious mind cannot be opened without the proper state of body, breath and senses. Sitting quietly without using any tools to calm the mind first, we may simply get lost in our own thoughts and end up more confused and disturbed. To prepare to meditate first make sure the room in which you wish to meditate is clean, fresh, well ventilated and comfortably warm. There should be no outside disturbances, such as phone, answering machine, noises from TV, dishwasher, or washing machine. Make the room, or just an area in a room, your own private personal space for meditation. If you wish to practice outside, find a place that you can be sure will always be undisturbed.
    Preparing the body
    To enable the mind to meditate, the body must first be relaxed. Do tai chi, a few simple stretches or yoga asanas. Energize the breath through alternate nostril or abdominal breathing to direct energy internally and give more power for meditation.
    Satisfying the five senses
    Before your mind will be calm enough to settle down into a meditative pose it must be free of any physical urges and cravings. Not only does that mean first using the restroom , but also making sure your meditation room/space has all elements to satisfy the five senses: touch, taste, smell, sound and sight.
    There are many different types of meditation just as there are many different kinds of food. You may have one staple food that you eat every day, or you may want something different every day. Meditation can be the same. So try them all until you find the one that suits you best. The main types are: silent or with sound; empty or focused; active or non active. Anything that allows the mind to completely relax without falling asleep can be a form of meditation. See the following post and future posts for examples of different forms.

    Want help meditating?  Check out my app available for iPhone & iPod touch:  http://bit.ly/tuTMFs

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