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Friday, February 22, 2008

Simple Meditation

Simple MeditationMeditation is a principle of yoga often portrayed by the mass media as an activity of sitting in silence while listening to your inner self and tuning out of the physical, material world. It is indeed an act of contemplation and reflection, but meditation has various ways and techniques.

Meditation’s roots can be traced way back ancient times. There are speculations that it even started during the primitive years. Meditation then developed into a structured practice, and was even noted 5000 years ago in the Indian scripture called the “tantras”. Around 500 B.C., the major icon of meditation, Buddha, made his mark in history through His practice and teachings.

There is not just one way to meditate. It is up to you to experience and decide which meditation practice is best for you. But for starters, here’s a simple Meditation you could apply in your daily routine. Set aside 10 to 20 minutes same time each day, if possible. Before breakfast is a good time. Then follow these steps to a moment of prayer and internal dialogue:

1. Choose a quiet spot where you will not be disturbed by other people.

2. Sit quietly in a comfortable position. Refer to the section on postures for recommendations on sitting positions.

3. Eliminate distractions and interruptions during the period you'll be meditating.

4. Commit yourself to a specific length of time and try to stick to it.

5. Pick a focus word or short phrase that's firmly rooted in your personal belief system. A non-religious person might choose a neutral word like one, peace, or love. Others might use the opening words of a favorite prayer from their religion such as 'Hail Mary full of Grace', "I surrender all to you", "Hallelujah", "Om", etc.

6. Close your eyes. This will make it easy to concentrate.

7. Relax your muscles sequentially from head to feet. This helps to break the connection between stressful thoughts and a tense body. Starting with your forehead, become aware of tension as you breathe in. Let go of any obvious tension as you breathe out. Go through the rest of your body in this way, proceeding down through your eyes, jaws, neck, shoulders, arms, hands, chest, upper back, middle back and midriff, lower back, belly, pelvis, buttocks, thighs, calves, and feet.

8. Breathe slowly and naturally, repeating your focus word or phrase silently as you exhale.

9. Assume a passive attitude. Don't worry about how well you're doing. When other thoughts come to mind, simply say, "Oh, well," and gently return to the repetition.

10. Continue for 10 to 20 minutes. You may open your eyes to check the time, but do not use an alarm. After you finish: Sit quietly for a minute or so, at first with your eyes closed and later with your eyes open. Do not stand for one or two minutes.

Meditation has been scientifically proven to have health benefits. First of all, it lowers blood pressure and aides the asthmatics in their breathing. Meditation also balances the person’s physical, emotional and mental states. Moreover, it relaxes the mind and body, and reduces stress and tensions in our body. This practice is like recharging our mind, body and spirit to be energized again to live a life connected with God. By having simple Meditation a part of your life, you can achieve true happiness and peace of mind through spiritual growth and detachment from the physical world.

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