Everyday we help ourselves with some rest and sleep so that our body can regain its vigour. Similarly, the mind requires moments of repose from its relentless activities. When we allow our minds to rest for some moments, it can be considered as a meditation. Meditation, in simple terms, refers to those moments of quietness when we look inward to ourselves.In the true sense of the word, meditation is that which helps us to realize the true goal of life, to realize our infinite nature.
What are the different types of meditation?
Meditations are of different types based on the aims and ways of practicing it. Mindfulness meditation is one in which the practitioner focuses on the thoughts that go through their mind during the course of meditation. One has to simply and fully observe one’s thoughts. A spiritual meditation is one in which we meditate to elevate ourselves spiritually. This kind of meditation requires proper training from a Guru. Chanting meditations employs the repeated chanting of mantras for the practice of meditation.
Where did meditation come from?
Meditation is an inherent part of human existence. When we do something with complete concentration on what we do, it is meditation. However, meditation, in the true sense of the word, has deeper meanings. In this regard, the ancient Indian scriptures can be cited as sources of meditation. There are indigenous practices across the world similar to meditation. Hence it can be understood that meditation had a certain importance in almost all the cultures and religions.
Do I need to be guided into meditation?
One should be properly guided into meditation so as to have the full benefit of it. One can seek guidance from a Guru adept in the practice of meditation. Different practices have been projected as meditation today. So, it is always better if we acquire a clear understanding of meditation. Therefore, one must seek guidance from a Guru who can help you to learn and master the art of meditation.
What should I meditate upon?
One can meditate upon anything and everything, provided one should have complete focus and concentration upon it. However, from a spiritual perspective, we should make our actions and our life itself a meditation. Ideally, one should meditate upon one’s own true and infinite nature. It is not possible without proper guidance.
Who can meditate?
Anyone who longs for some quiet moments or anyone who aspires for a higher level of existence can try meditation. However, only those people who have a keen interest and desire would continue the practice of meditation for higher goals.
Is meditation peculiar to any particular religion?
Different religions emphasize meditation in their own way. Therefore, meditation is not peculiar to a particular religion.
Do I need to be a believer?
One need not be a believer to practice meditation. Your desire to stay calm and to look inward is all that matters. Therefore, people who do not affiliate themselves to a particular religion or people who do not consider them as part of organized religions can also try and practice meditation, if they are looking for a lifestyle rooted in physical and mental well-being.
What do Hindu Scriptures say about meditation?
Hindu scriptures consider meditation as one of the most important aspects of any spiritual practice. Meditation helps the sadhaka or the spiritual seeker to purify their body and mind. In this way meditation helps one to transcend worldly concerns and realize the essential nature of their Self, which is infinite and eternal. The Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita clearly asserts the importance of meditation.
Preparation and Practice
How do I learn meditation?
One can pursue meditation in different ways. One can read about how to practice meditation, one can use virtual platforms as well. However, if you are serious about meditation, the ideal way of learning its technique would be from an expert Guru.
How can I find time for meditation during busy routines?
Even if we have a busy routine and hectic schedule, we still can find time for what we really want to do. So if you are really keen on making meditation a part of your life, you can easily find time for that. Also, if we reflect upon the benefits of meditation and how it can help us to find relief from our busy routines, we will definitely be able to dedicate some time to it.
When should I meditate?
There is no prescribed time for meditation. One can choose a time and duration according to convenience. As far as a beginner is concerned, it is always best to choose a time which is free of external disturbances. The scriptures suggest that early morning is the ideal time for practices like meditation and Yoga as it is a time when we are fresh and full of energy.
Where should I meditate?
Meditation is not limited by space. One can meditate anywhere and everywhere. However, for beginners, as there are chances of getting distracted easily, an ideal location would be a space where one is free from external disturbances.
What are the difficulties one may encounter during meditation?
The first and foremost problem which we may encounter during the practice of meditation is the difficulty in controlling our own mind. As the mind keeps on thinking, one may find it difficult to concentrate on one point. One can overcome this gradually. Another obstacle in pursuing meditation can be external disturbances. As we live amidst a noisy world, it is difficult to withdraw all our senses from what is happening around us. All these disturbances can cause difficulties during the practice of meditation.
Health and Well-Being
What are the benefits of meditation?
Meditation can help to lead a relaxed life. In the present world, people are undergoing a lot of stress. The work spaces and the domestic spaces are no different in this regard. Meditation can help to move forward from all these difficulties to lead a peaceful existence. Meditation has a lot of benefits both at the physical and mental level. The traditional schools of medicines argue that all the physical ailments emerge from mental uneasiness. Therefore if the mind is calm and well, one can naturally enjoy physical well-being. Meditation helps you to relax the mind and hence to strengthen physical and mental health. It helps to reduce high blood pressure, depression, anxiety disorders, stress related issues and sleeplessness.
About the author
Harsha Vincent is a creative content writer at CIF. She is a Post-graduate in English literature and is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Indian English Literature. She is interested in Indian Spirituality, Aesthetics and Yogic Philosophy.
Chinmaya International Foundation provides you with a series of Guided Meditation camps. This year the Guided Meditation Series has its focus on Sri Sankaracharya’s Nirvana Shatkam. The Guided Meditation series will help you to gain the intellectual as well as an experiential understanding of Nirvana Shatkam to achieve the aims of meditation. Visit the website to find out more