There are a great many forms of mediation emanating from
various spiritual traditions and it's widely recognised that meditation helps to:
calm the mind
provide focus and meaning in life
improve general health and
even cure some medical conditions.
It is a challenge to define meditation, but simply put, when one is relaxed and present with
an undivided mind, meditation happens. Meditation is helpful because by being
present with a still mind, perception expands and it is possible to observe the root cause of
Meditation is actually a natural process for human beings and it is largely
intuitive. People have been meditating and if we take Buddhist culture as an
example, we can see there is a profound peacefulness and respect for life within
Here in the 21st century, the greater population is looking up to some
indefinable God or they are looking out into the universe as they attempt to
understand the nature of life and how to profit from it.
There is an old saying "as above so below." Meditation is about looking inwards
because at a fundamental level, when we turn and look inside we will understand
that what we see is only a reflection of what is outside of us.
Remember that we perceive the world through our senses and our sense perception
is interpreted inside our own minds. Therefore, it is impossible for us to have
any direct experience of anything outside of ourselves.
Therefore what perceive of the world around us is often coloured by our minds.
In a sense you could say that we perceive the world as a reflection and our mind
is the mirror. So when we meditate, it is about turning inwards and cleaning the
mirror so that our sense perception is improved.
One of the greatest meditators in recent history that we know about is Gotama
the Buddha. He was so distressed by the suffering experienced by people in the
world around him that he set out to find a solution. It was through his
meditations that he defined how suffering came about and he prescribed a course
of action to eliminate suffering from one's life.
It is abundantly clear that looking outwards and manipulating the world or
looking up to some indefinable God does nothing to relieve suffering, in fact
these activities are creating suffering.
Suffering is what one feels in response to sickness, to injury, to mental and
emotional distress, and social deprivation. These sufferings manifest themselves
as diseases that we more commonly refer to as stresses and these prevent us from
experiencing any lasting joy and happiness.
So it has become well established that in order to experience any happiness that
is truly lasting, one must look inwards and it is this looking inside of
ourselves that is called meditation.
Unfortunately many people's minds are so corrupted that when they first turn and
look inside, the experience can be rather frightening. However with some
patients combined with perseverance and a non-judgemental attitude, one can
begin to navigate through one's internal "stuff."
All this mind stuff that we contain is only a collection of impressions. They
can be desires or fears, or any thought forms, but they are only thoughts and
have no inherent existence.
The initial stages of meditation involve negotiating all this mind stuff and
that leads to a sense of inner peace and self realisation. When self-realisation
is achieved, individuals will learn that they do not have to be affected by the
external world and especially what other people think.
Self-realisation gives a sense of freedom allowing people to reconcile
themselves with their physicality and the external world. It is a state of mind
that remains happy even when everyone else is miserable, and it is from this
place that one can be more effective in the world.
Some people express concern that meditation may eliminate desire however this is
impossible as we cannot live without desire. But meditation allows individuals
to shape their desires more accurately to suit their needs be it for business or
Some easy meditations
Meditation can be described as not doing anything. This generally means sitting
and becoming physically and mentally still. However most people find this is not
so easy, therefore one of the simplest meditations to do is to sit and witness
the breath as it comes and goes.
In witnessing the breath, there is no control of the breath, there is no
analysis or judgement, it is simply a quiet observation. In the beginning, there
may be distractions in the body and mind, but the idea is to ignore those
distractions and remain focused on the flow of the breath.
Music as in the video is a nice alternative, it is simply a matter of sitting
comfortably and keeping your attention on the music without allowing your body
or thoughts to distract you.
The use of a mantra can also helpful such as the Buddhist mantra "Om Mani Padme
Hum" which translates as "an appreciation of the essence of life". Repeating
this phrase over and over either within your own mind or vocally helps to subdue
awareness of other thoughts and physical distractions.
Guided meditations such as
are very helpful because one uses the mind to subdue the mind.
If one's body is not very supple or strong, other yoga practices are also
helpful because they facilitate the meditative process.