There are a few misunderstandings about the nature of meditation that keep people from attempting to pursue this extremely valuable life-changing skill. Meditation is not what most people imagine. You do not have to sit cross-legged with a purple dot painted on your forehead while you repeat the word ohm over and over, like a bad song you can't seem to release from your mind. Meditation is about connecting with your inner self by slowing down your activities and quieting your mind. Meditation is making time to listen to your inner being.
Meditation is a process that has many forms. Meditation can take the form of long distance running, gazing into a fireplace (while there is a fire burning, of course), sunbathing at the beach, tai-chi and, even weight-lifting are some common examples of moving meditations. These forms allow your thoughts to slow down and your mind to become reflective. We all have the capacity to train our minds to have the same effect without running ten miles or driving to the beach. Moving meditations do have one draw back, the individual must still give attention to the physical world, thus reducing the clarity and guidance that would otherwise be there if they were to close their eyes and shift their full attention inward.
Silent or Guided meditation is about finding a comfortable position somewhere will you will not be disturbed, closing your eyes and pulling your attention away from the outside world to your inner world, reflecting, relaxing and receiving. This becomes what I call the art of meditation. There are many guided meditation tapes that will assist you in moving into that inner space effectively, and can be helpful as a beginner. Regardless which form of meditation you decide, it becomes helpful to understand the function of meditation. The function is common to all the many different forms that meditation.
The first function of meditation is to slow down your brain wave activity which in turn, slows down your thinking process. Notice I didn't say to eliminate or to stop thinking. It is impossible to eliminate your thoughts. I find this myth, one of the most common reasons beginners give up this wonderful skill. They erroneously think if they have one thought pop into they're head, they have just ruined the experience. Meditation allows you to shift your attention away from your thoughts and to slow down your thinking process. As your thinking slows down the silent space in-between each thought is where you can receive a flash of insight from your Soul. The insight would always have been there, but you wouldn't have noticed, due to the steady stream of thoughts that often dominate the mind.
Understanding the function of your life, provides the greatest freedom to begin fulfilling your destiny. How do you function in the living of your life? Are you a natural born teacher? Healer? Comedian? Problem solver? Motivator? Listener? What is natural to you, is a part of your nature, and becomes the way you function in life? Review your past history, what was the common denominator in all the jobs you had that you really enjoyed? Look at your relationships, what is the heart of the matter, that gives you a sense of purpose and significance? Listen to what people have told you about your strengths, talents and gifts. Thinking about these areas of your life can reveal the function of your destiny. Take time to explore what comes naturally too you.
Don't be frustrated as you begin, know it is natural to have many thoughts during meditation. Here are some effective ways to remedy the situation. For example, You are attempting to meditate and your ego's keeps worrying about a report due at work. It seems difficult to take your mind off it. The first thing to do is don't fight it. Listen to your inner concernes and then release it. If you can't stop your mind from thinking ( I have to finish that report by Tuesday morning), simply take in a deep breath and as you exhale imagine your blowing that thought out of your head. Perhaps see the words written on a chalk board and imagine you are blowing the message off the board with your exhale. Or imagine you are erasing it. This gives the subconscious mind a very clear message.Then focus your attention on going deeper. Remember it is a very natural to have thoughts in your mind as you are learning how to meditate.
Another technique to end the distraction is to mentally tell those pesky thoughts, "I hear you, thank you and you can go now." Thinking those words silently to yourself, will confirm to your subconscious mind, I've got the message now, the messenger can leave. Be patient and remind yourself that the goal of meditation is not to eliminate thought, but to slow it down. In the space between, is where you will find the solutions to your problems and begin to resolve them.
Meditation is a powerful technique to gain mastery over your life, and to become more conscious of your truer self. Meditations' true purpose is to shift your consciousness from the outer world to your inner world, where all change begins. Meditation offers you a way to create a pause in your daily activity to consciously connect with your inner power.
On a spiritual level meditation offers a ritual to commune with your Soul to receive guidance, healing and wisdom from within. On a mental level, meditation will bring you clarity and can reveal deeper understanding about the way you're living you life, and what thoughts and beliefs are holding you back. On an emotional level, meditating offers a way to get in touch with your feelings and to resolve them constructively producing profound inner peace. On a physical level, meditation is a stress reducer, as you practice it on a regular basis, you will renew your physical energy and stamina. The siesta times many countries honor is a great way to bring balance back into a busy life-style, even if it's only a fifteen minute meditation on your lunch break at work.
Meditation is a way to listen to the still small voice of the spirit of truth. Whether you practice silent, moving or guided meditation you will soon discover the infinite wisdom that dwells within you, waiting to offer you guidance and inner peace.