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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

What is meditation?

Meditation is the ability to relax both the mind and the body and then go beyond them.  It is to go beyond the mind and the body and become the Witness of whatever is happening without being adversely affected by those happenings. It is, in effect, going beyond the fourth state of consciousness. The Witness is sometimes referred to as the observer, the knower, the one noticing.

Meditation is actually quite simple and can be learned by just about anyone. All it takes is a little patience and practice to learn the technique. The longer you practice the easier it becomes. There are many positives to meditation: a calmer mind, reduced stress and anxiety, a sense of peace, improved health, reduced pain, and much more.

Although meditation has been used for many years in various cultures, modern science is just beginning to do research of the subject. What they are discovering is it works. This is actually nothing new to those who have been practicing meditation over the years.

Before the body can be relaxed the mind must be relaxed. To relax the mind many practitioners focus on their breathing because it is always present and easy to use. Others may focus their mind on a candle flame or some other object. Some may scan their body with their mind going slowly from the toes to the top of the head one body part at a time. Because there are various techniques for calming the mind, it might take several trials and errors before you discover what works best for you. This is why it is best to practice under the guidance of a knowledgeable teacher.

Once the mind is calm and relaxed the body will follow. When both the body and the mind are relaxed you can then begin to observe your thoughts as though you are an observer of them. You and your thoughts become separate. Thoughts are nothing more than waves of energy passing in and out of the mind, but we often become so attached to those waves we begin to think we and the thoughts are one and the same.

In the beginning, meditation may last only a few minutes before thoughts take over again. The more you sit in practice the longer meditation will last. And the longer you sit in meditation the better you will be able to take the peace and tranquility with you during non-sitting times while working, playing, and enjoying life.

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