Introduction To Meditation

May 14th, 2006

Meditation has been practiced throughout the world for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. It is generally accepted that the practice originated within the Eastern religions, more particularly within Vedic Hinduism. The chief aim of Meditation is to allow the individual to discover a place of inner peace and quiescence. It is a form of personal and spiritual development that acts to free one’s mind from the trappings of the physical plain of existence.

In many cases, the act of Meditation is an effort to reacquaint oneself with the higher powers. The motivation behind the act of Meditation differs from person to person, but it would appear that Meditation is performed in a way similar to prayer in western religions. The notion of becoming closer to one’s God plays a significant role in most forms of Meditation.

In modern times, there has been a significant change in the way individual’s approach Meditation. Meditation has always been intimately connected to the principles of religion and spirituality. In the west, one gets the sense that practitioners of Meditation have little connection to the major organized religions. Meditation, in a sense, has supplanted religion as a way to stay connected with the higher powers.

While Meditation has become extremely popular outside of the hierarchy of the church and faith, it is generally accepted that it still exists within the realm of spirituality and ethics. One common thread between modern practitioners of Meditation would appear to be the notion of living an ethical lifestyle. In essence, this refers to the ability of the individual to exemplify their internal, spiritual insights in their external, material life.

Meditation has shown to have incredible benefits for committed practitioners. Many people have reported improved Concentration, self-discipline, and awareness as a consequence their meditative practices. It has also been known to induce a sense of calm, inner peace and harmony. From a health and fitness perspective, Meditation has the ability to relieve stress, and to assist with proper Cardiovascular and respiratory function.

Meditation may not be for everyone. But for those individuals that are motivated to make some positive changes in their lives, Meditation may be the key to unlocking the potential within. Do not be eager to dismiss the claims made above. Do some research, and talk to your friends and family. There is a good chance that somebody you know has benefited from meditative practice. It could help you, too.

About the author

Brodi Saatpha has been practicing Yoga for a number of years. When she is not striving to transcend reality, she writes for Yoga-insight.com � an enlightening and refreshing website with information about Yoga chants, tantric Yoga, teacher training and more.

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How To Use White Noise

May 12th, 2006

White noise is: A sound containing a blend of all the audible frequencies distributed equally over the range of the frequency band. White noise is analogous to white light which contains all the colors of the rainbow together. The term �white noise� as used in this article will be applied a little looser to include a host of sounds (waterfall, rain and brook as examples) used for blocking out unwanted sounds.

Because white noise contains most sound frequencies, it is commonly used to mask other sounds. If you are in a hotel and voices from the room next-door are leaking into your room, you might turn on a fan to drown out the voices. The fan produces a good approximation of white noise. How does this “white” sound work and why does it mask out other noise?

Here is one way to think about it. Let’s say two people are talking at the same time. Your brain can normally pick out one of the two voices and actually listen to it and understand it. If three people are talking simultaneously, your brain can probably still pick out one voice. However, if 1,000 people are talking simultaneously, there is no way that your brain can pick out one voice. It turns out that 1,000 people talking together sounds a lot like white noise. So when you turn on a fan to create white noise, you are essentially creating a source of 1,000 voices. The voice next-door makes it 1,001 voices, and your brain can’t pick it out anymore. One thing to keep in mind when using white noise is that more is not always better - it is usually best to use just enough to help mask the offending noise, not completely overwhelm it.

There are three sources of white noise that are commonly used to help mask out annoying sounds: mechanically generated, electronically generated and recordings usually on CD format.

The mechanical devices produce a sound very close to that of a fan. The Sleepmate by Marpac is this type of device and has been around for a long time. This is the most popular type of white noise machine; probably because it produces a sound that we are all familiar with and don�t find unpleasant. One drawback of the mechanical units is that they are limited in volume. Since they produce the sound mechanically, it isn�t possible to simply turn up the volume.

White noise is commonly generated with a digital or electronic sound synthesizing device. Sound designers, with some processing and filtering, can create a multitude of effects such as wind, rain, waterfall or surf. The main consideration when choosing a digital device is if the device loops a recorded clip of sound or synthesizes its own sound. By looping we refer to a few seconds of sound that is digitally recorded and played over and over. They try to match up the end with the beginning but if you listen carefully you can detect where the segment begins - this is irritating to some people. The better digital sound devices actually synthesize the sound instead of playing a recording, therefore no looping.

Compact discs are a popular and inexpensive way (not counting the cost of a stereo system) to bring white noise into your home or office. You can get almost any sound imaginable but the most commonly used are nature sounds like rain, thunder or babbling brooks and nature sounds overlaid with soft music. The advantages of CDs are a high quality sound and low cost. The disadvantage is that, if you are using the sound to help you sleep, the interruption when changing tracks or cycling will often times wake you up. Generally the best uses for CDs are for office privacy, Meditation or just relaxing.

About the author

Michael Kirtley is owner-manager of Nature’s Tapestry, a site with information about how to choose a white noise machine.

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Learn to Meditate Using OM: The Sound of Universe

May 11th, 2006

OM or AUM is the most important and significant word of Mantra tradition. It is considered as the root mantra of all mantra. In a majority of Mantra, you will find OM.

OM is the most often chanted sound among all the sacred sounds on earth. This sound is considered as the sound of the existence.

It is believed that the whole universe, in its fundamental form, is made up of vibrating, pulsating energy. Om is considered as the humming sound of this cosmic energy.

OM is said to be the original primordial creative sound from which the entire universe have manifested. It is also known as the ‘Anahat Nada’, the “Unstruck Sound”. This means the sound that is not made by two things striking together.

If you observe the nature of sound you’ll find that all ordinary audible sound are produced by the striking of two objects : bow and strings, drum and stick, two vocal cords, waves against the shore, winds against the leaves, bat against the ball, tires against the road etc. In short all sounds within our range of listening are produces by things visible or invisible, striking each other or vibrating together, resulting in pulsating waves of air molecules which we interprets as sound.

In contrast to the above, OM is the sound which is not the result of the striking of two objects. It, rather emanates on its own. It is the primal sound of the universe that contains all sounds in itself.

The meaning of OM

Well unlike all other mantra, there is no meaning of OM. It is actually not a word, it is a sound. As per Hindu tradition, OM is the purest name of God. It is the sound of the supreme consciousness. So when you reapeat OM, you actualy take the name of God.

Now without going into the further philosophical explanation of OM, let us learn how to Meditate using OM. Repetition of OM or AUM dissolves the mind it its divine source. The chanting of OM several time loud, purifies the atmosphere.

Sit in a comfortable undisturbed place. Take some deep breath. Now chant at least 7 times OM in succession. Make each breath last as long as possible. Teak deep breath and chant Oooooooo~~~~~hhhhhhhhhh~~~~~ Mmmmmmm~~~~~. Then again repeat this chanting of OM. Do this for 7 times. After this, stop chanting and sit for a moment of silence. You will be amazed by the inner peace you’ll get in such a small chanting of OM.

Listen the sound of Universe : Let us listen the sound of OM. You are requested to listen carefully. This sound of OM produces instant positive vibrations and takes the listener to a state of mental stillness.

Chanting the OM mantra for 15 minutes daily can produce remarkable effect in you. This mantra will help you to calm the mind, settled the thought process and realize the self.

Eklavya is a simple student of Meditation based in India. He provides knowledge of Meditation through his website Meditation is Easy. This website provides knowledge of Meditation (& various Meditation techniques) to general public in a simple and idiot-friendly language ! Along with a collection of 112 Meditation techniques of all times (for all people of all age), you will also find a useful collection of various tips for stress-free life.

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Increasing Psychic Abilities With Meditation

May 10th, 2006

We all have psychic abilities. For many people this ability is dormant or asleep. It�s a bit like the person who sits at a piano for the first time and discovers that they have a natural talent for music. The ability was always present it just takes the right circumstances for the talent to become apparent.

Most of us have times in our lives when we notice something at work that can be considered psychic. Usually this psychic ability is in the form of intuition, hunches or gut responses that seem to defy reason or logic. These uncanny hunches and sudden insights can sometimes leave us feeling bewildered, but the truth is that they are a perfectly natural ability. And like any other talent, psychic abilities can be trained and perfected.

There are any number of tools and methods available to the psychic any or all of which may help to increase or focus intuitive skills. Most psychics use some form of Meditation to enter a frame of mind that heightens intuitive awareness. Some read palms or tea leaves, tarot cards or rune stones or use a crystal ball; some may involve intricate rituals. Regardless of the tools used to assist a psychic reading they each serve to aid the psychic in entering a form of focused Meditation which greatly enhances the natural intuitive sense.

Focused Meditation provides the frame of mind that is most receptive to intuitive information. Meditation quiets the mind, filters out the noise and chatter of the conscious. This filtering of conscious noise allows the sub-conscious mind to voice its thoughts, as well as enable the mind to tune in to the environment. Some have called this a heightened state of awareness or altered consciousness. The attention is drawn inward with a kind of detached awareness. Developing your ability to enter into this heightened state of mind plays the important role in increasing your intuitive senses.

If you�re unfamiliar with the practice of Meditation then the following exercise should help to gain a better understanding of the methods used. This exercise focuses on breathing and visualization. Controlled breathing provides an area of immediate connection with the mind and body and also increases the supply of oxygen to the brain.

Begin by finding a comfortable place to perform your Meditation. This can be any place of your choosing, provided that you find it comfortable and relaxing. It is not required for you to sit, though you may, if you choose. Many people find it difficult to sit still for any length of time. Standing or even walking slowly is perfectly acceptable for the sake of this exercise.

Focus your attention on your breathing. Notice the air as it enters your body. Try to breathe in through your nose and exhale through your mouth. Take slow, deep breaths.

Inhale slowly through your nose and hold the breath in for nine seconds, then exhale slowly for another nine seconds, count out the seconds steadily, not rushed and not sluggish, try to find a pace that feels comfortable, just remember to relax your breathing.

Inhale for nine seconds, exhale for nine seconds, and repeat this process nine times. With every breath, imagine that you are inhaling precious life giving air and exhaling any unwanted energies. After you have repeated this cycle nine times you can begin your visualization. Try to maintain the rhythm of your breathing without counting it out in your head.

At this point you may notice random thoughts popping into your head, simply dismiss them as they enter your mind, let them slip away easily.

Imagine that you are walking across a dry and sandy landscape. The temperature is comfortable, the air is easy to breath and you feel at ease.

As you walk along you notice a shape on the horizon. As you near the shape you see that it is a stone building, a round, stone building with a single door. You are facing the door and now you see that this door is slightly open and a light is coming from inside.

Now, you are standing at the door and decide to push the door open. You open the door and enter the stone building.

Inside you see a round room with a table in the centre. The room is well lit, warm and comfortable. You approach the table and notice a small wooden box, paper and a pen.

You form a question in your mind that you would like answered, an issue that you would like resolved, it does not take you any time to form this question. You write this question on the paper before you and place the paper in the box. You see the box has a lid and you close it.

After a moment you open the box, you see that the question is no longer written there, instead an answer has appeared. You take the answer with you as you leave the building and return to your present space.

You may see immediate results with this exercise or it may take several attempts before the answers found within the box make any sense to you.

Over time this visualization becomes much easier to enter into and you may be tempted to treat this exercise as some sort of oracle. This is not the true intention. Instead what we are trying to accomplish is entering into the receptive mode of Meditation that was spoken of earlier. The easier it is to enter into this state the more likely it is that you will become tuned into receiving intuitive information.

About the author

Syndicated Columnist and Thought Energy Consultant Jeffry R. Palmer Ph.D. is the author of “The 7 Day Psychic Development Course

Mr. Palmer�s articles and columns have been featured in several popular international magazines. A lifelong interest in spirituality, metaphysical, paranormal and esoteric studies has culminated in a series of new e-books by the author.

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Creating a Sacred Space For Meditation

May 9th, 2006

It is important to create a sacred space to practice your Meditation, a place in or around your home which is designated specifically for relaxation and tranquility. Though most of us do not have the luxury of creating a private Meditation room, it is possible to decorate a designated area of your home to suit this purpose. It is also a simple matter to create a sort of mobile mediation kit for your self that is quite handy when traveling or in situations where space is limited.

Begin by determining which area of your home is best suited to serve as a place of Meditation. Some practical considerations to think about: try to choose a room or area of your home that is quiet and comfortable, perhaps the room of your home which is farthest from street noises or other disturbances. Designating and designing your sacred space for Meditation is fun and rewarding. Don�t get hung up on thinking that you need any pricey or exotic items. Have fun with it, be creative, and choose colors, textures and items which appeal to your senses.

Devote a space to the sole purpose of Meditation. You may choose to decorate this area with whatever things you find relaxing and comforting. Many people are fond of creating a small alter space to hold Candles and Incense. A comfortable mat or Blanket for sitting on is also widely used. It is more important that an area be set aside for Meditation than how it is decorated or what items you use to make the space �sacred�. The space is sacred to you; it is your personal choice in how the area is created.

You may find that you do not have an appropriate place within your home for Meditation. In this case it is perfectly acceptable to move your mediation routine outdoors. Designate a bag or sack for carrying your Meditation supplies. Again it is more important to make the designation than the bag itself. In other words, the mental connection to the item is more impotent than the item. Saying �this bag is my Meditation bag�, or �this mat is my Meditation surface�, etc., the act of making the designation is what matters most.

A Yoga mat or camping mat can be purchased quite easily. Most of these mats roll up and are convenient for travel and outdoor usage. Incense, Candles, cushions and other supplies can easily be stored in a bag or other container to use when needed.

Creating a sacred space is a completely personal endeavor, it does not matter what decorations or items are used, it does not matter if there are any decorations at all. It matters only that you set aside a space for Meditation; it can be an empty room, a few square feet of your home or back yard. Designating a space is the important matter, the act of putting aside a space for Meditation puts your mind in a state of recognizing the importance of inner calm and stillness, and it acknowledges the importance of your Meditation routine.

About the Author:

Author, Syndicated Columnist and Thought Energy Consultant Jeffry R. Palmer Ph.D. is the author of “The 7 Day Psychic Development Course�. An exciting, fun and highly effective method of increasing intuitive and psychic abilities. “The 7 Day Psychic Development Course”

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Bija Mantra Meditations and Chants

May 4th, 2006

The theory and art of using bija mantras is taught in the Bija Mantras Of The Spinal Chakras instructional video and in the book Music And Sound In The Healing Arts.

Balancing Earth with Air (For Clarity of Thought) Meditation: a (ah) cham sha

Chant: a (ah) cham sha ai ba jam jam sa (shaw) tham s (sh) va

Increasing Fire, Reducing Air, and Warming Water (For Digestion) Meditation: j tha ra

Chant: c(ch) da(day) jam ta ta la pha s(ss) na(nay) r na ta na pa ma jam pha ya

Expanding Ether (For Loss and Grieving) Meditation for quality space i e s (ss)

Meditation e sa e sa m

Chant ai ai u (uh) c(ch) a (ah) ai ai u c a ai ai u c a na va na va m (om) i j i j m (om) e—————-m

Balancing Earth and Fire (For Inner Warmth and Calm) Meditation e da e da va sah

Chant h da na va e sa e sa ta pha nam DHA (dhay) sha va e sha va e sha va pha kam DHA sa s va s va

Balancing Earth (For Grounding) Meditation e sah va

Chant h sah e va sa(shaw) la sa na e va e va sa(shaw) ai sa (shaw) sa (say) m sha va

Balancing Ether, Fire, and Water (For Creative Dreaming) Meditation a (ah) ta ma s (ss)

Chant s (ss) s (ss) e j ta DHA (dhay) ta DHA (dhay) na la e sha la da bha jam jham s (ss) s (ss) pa ya la ya la m (om) nam (am) ra tha

Balancing Water and Fire (For Balanced Sexuality) Mediation j na (nay) ba

Chant r da ma da ma da ma e ta la ta la ta la ta la pa sa jham da(day) ya da(day) ya s(ss) pa s(ss) pa s(ss) pa u(uh) ma la sa(say) pa e ta e ta la ra s(ss) dah m(om)————

Balancing Fire with Air (For Motivation and Healing Ulcerations) Meditation au kam da (day)

Chant da DHA (dhay) s (sh) da dah s cham cham cham h ta r tham h ta r jam h ta r nam pa sa pa va e tham da

Balancing Air and Water (Spritiual Awakening) Meditation o tham ya

Chant i kam cham jam tam la e bha i cham va ta cham jam tam ma u kam s ya ya gham cam

Balancing Air (To Slow Down Rapid Thinking & Reduction of Joint Pain) Meditation h gam jham

Chant e jham e jham na e tam jam gham ajham e jham pa

ai sa va kam e nam sa jham

e jham ejham s(sh)

Balancing Earth (For Shock) Meditation ai na va

Chant e sa(say) va cham la va o DHA e sa(shaw) ma la s(sh) sa(say) pa cham sah va sa (shaw) va sa (shaw) v

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How To Meditate With a Mantra

April 28th, 2006

These days whenever a politician repeats a promise over and over again commentators say that this promise has become a “mantra” for that politician. For the journalists, the word “mantra” means a meaningless phrase that is repeated endlessly. For yogis however, a mantra is a word or collection of words, which has the power of liberating a human being from all limitations.

How can the repetition of a word or a few words have the capacity to bring about such miraculous results? It is all based on a simple psychological principle, “as you think, so you become.”

If you someone tells you “You’re stupid,” that’s of course a bad insult and will hurt you. However if you start to think “I am stupid,” and keep repeating this phrase over and over, then that is far worse. When someone tells you that you are stupid, then this is a negative outer-suggestion. When you start to think about it, then you are giving yourself, a negative auto-suggestion. If you keep thinking in a negative way, then your personal development will be harmed.

Meditation mantras have a positive meaning. They remind you that your true nature is something great: pure consciousness and boundless love. If you start to think about the best part of your being, you will begin to have more confidence in yourself and this will become apparent in your actions.

However, many people have read philosophical, spiritual or self-help books explaining these ideas, and yet they never realize these great truths in their everyday reality. It is not enough to just think about a good idea once, and then close the book. You need to think in a concentrated and systematic manner over a period of time in order to get results.

Meditation mantras have a special quality that helps in the task of concentrated, positive thinking: their very vibration has the capacity to concentrate and focus your mind. Some sounds, such as power drill breaking a pavement, can upset you greatly, while other sounds, like soothing music, can transport you to another world.

The syllables and words used in Meditation mantras have been chosen according their sonic capacity, and they greatly aid the task of Concentration and contemplation, as well as carrying a positive meaning.

In order to get the benefits from mantra Meditation, you need to Meditate regularly with a mantra that has a positive meaning and the capacity to help you concentrate. You need to do it on a regular basis, sitting silently two times a day for a period of 10 to 30 minutes.

It sounds easy, but the common experience of most people is that as you sit and try to think about one word or one phrase, your mind is quickly filled with many other thoughts; thoughts about work, financial problems, disputes with people and all kinds of other matters. When this happens, and it certainly will, then you have to bring your mind back to the mantra. Meditation is a process where you concentrate on the mantra and its meaning for as long as you can, and when you mind wanders, you bring it back.

Keep doing it, and you will attain an improved capacity to concentrate and deep inner peace.

It may still sound too good to be true, and some intellectuals scoff at the alleged power of a mantra. Once, a renowned Indian yogi came to America and delivered many lectures on this subject. In one of the lectures he was challenged by someone in the audience who said that it was not possible for a single word to deliver the results that the yogi promised. The yogi turned to the man, who was a distinguished professor and said “You fool!”

The professor turned red, and began to shout at the yogi, who calmly watched the professor unwind.

The yogi then addressed the professor and said: “Now can you understand the power of a single word? All I did was utter the word “fool” and your behavior was changed in an instant!

About the Author

Dada Vedaprajinananda has been practicing and teaching Yoga and Meditation for the past 35 years. He is the webmaster of the Ananda Marga Meditation society’s website, and is the author of Start Meditation, Stop Smoking and Yoga Weight Loss Secrets

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Mountain Rose Herbs is where NHH recommends you purchase all of your Bulk Herbs, Spices, Teas and single oils!

Are you looking for quality Vitamins, diet aids and health Supplements? Visit the Health Supplement Shop - highly recommended by NHH!

Meditation - A Path To Inner Peace

April 26th, 2006

Throughout history, Meditation has been an integral part of many cultures. Records indicate that Meditation was practiced in ancient Greece and India more than 5,000 years ago. In the Buddhist religion, Meditation is an important part of their spiritual practice. Different forms of Meditation are practiced in China and Japan, and Christianity, Judaism, and Islam have traditions similar to Meditation. The word Meditation comes from the Latin �meditari� which means: exercise, turn something over in one�s mind, think, consider. It is defined as �consciously directing your attention to alter your state of mind.�

Meditation is one of the proven alternative therapies that in recent years have been classified under the mind-body medicine therapies. It is continuing to gain popularity, as more and more health experts believe that there is more to the connection between mind and body than modern medicine can explain. Meditation has been shown to aid the Immune System and improve brain activity, according to researchers. More and more doctors are prescribing Meditation as a way to lower blood pressure, improve exercise performance, for people with Angina, to help people with Asthma to breathe easier, to relieve Insomnia, and generally relax everyday stresses of life. Many hospitals now offer Meditation classes for their patients because of the health benefits. All promote physiological health and well-being.

Traditionally Meditation has been used for spiritual growth but more recently has become a valuable tool for managing stress and finding a place of peace, relaxation, and tranquility in a demanding fast-paced world. Benefits resulting from Meditation include: physical and emotional healing; easing stress, fear, and grief; improved breathing; developing intuition; deep relaxation; exploring higher realities; finding inner guidance; unlocking creativity; manifesting change; emotional cleansing and balancing; and deepening Concentration and insight.

Meditation elicits many descriptive terms: stillness, silence, tranquility, peace, quiet, and calm. All counter stress and Tension. Lama Surya Das in his book Awakening The Buddha Within says, �Meditation is not just something to do; it�s a method of being and seeing � an unconditional way of living moment by moment.� In other words, learning to live in this moment because this moment is all we have. Henry Winkler is quoted as saying; �A human being�s first responsibility is to shake hands with himself.� Meditation is an opportunity to �shake hands with ourselves� in a safe, simple way and to balance our emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual well-being.

Meditation takes many forms in today�s society. All have one thing in common. They use Concentration techniques to still the mind and stop thought. Various practices exist such as chanting (Mantra), focusing on energy centres in the body (Chakra Meditation), breathing, mindfulness (Mahamudra), loving kindness, formal sitting (Vipassana), expressive practices (Siddha Yoga), and walking to name some of the styles. Try each style and see what works for you or you may want to alternate between the techniques from time to time. For the purposes of this article, I will discuss Mahamudra and walking Meditation.

Practical Steps To Begin Meditating

  1. Find a place where there are few external distractions. A place where you feel emotionally comfortable, safe, removed from pressure and stress is the optimal location.

  2. Wear clothing that is loose and sit or lie in a comfortable position.

  3. Plan to Meditate in an area that is warm and comfortable. You might want to have a Blanket or light covering as some people experience a feeling of coolness when they aren�t moving around for a period of time.

  4. Candles can be used to focus attention on the task at hand. If you use them, remember to be cautious and extinguish them before leaving the room.

  5. Relaxation is a key component of Meditation. Take a few moments to bring about a state of relaxation by taking a deep breath through your nose, expanding your lungs and diaphragm. Hold the breath for a few seconds and slowly exhale through your mouth. Do this several times until you feel relaxed.

  6. Calm, soothing music can be helpful for inducing a state of tranquillity and relaxation

  7. If you are hungry, have a little something to eat, as it is not necessary to Meditate on a completely empty stomach.

  8. Put your expectations aside and don�t worry about doing it right.

Meditation

Mahamudra is the form of Meditation that is a way of going about one�s daily activities in a state of mindfulness. It is Meditation integrated into all aspects of our lives. This following exercise is one you can do anywhere to create a feeling of inner peace. It is particularly helpful for those times you are stuck in traffic, waiting in line at the grocery store or bank, at the office when days are hectic, or when you are picking up the kids from school or extra-curricular activities. �What I do today is important because I am exchanging a day of my life for it,� wrote Hugh Mulligan. Meditation helps us remember to stop and �smell the daisies.�

Begin by taking a deep breath. Breathe deeply and as you do expand your lungs and your diaphragm. Hold the breath for a few seconds and slowly exhale through the mouth. Focus on your breath and clear your mind. Do this several times until you feel the slowing of your breath and a deep sense of peace fill your body. Consciously feel the peace permeate your body. Drop your shoulders and connect through the top of your head to the Universal Energy. Repeat. If you wish, send peace to those around you by connecting to their hearts with light and love.

Walking Meditation

A walking Meditation is simply an exercise in awareness. There are four components:

� become aware of your breathing,

� notice your surroundings,

� be attentive to your body�s movement, and

� take some time to reflect on your experience when you return home.

To practice �awareness walking� bring awareness to walking wherever you find yourself. Take notice of your breathing. Are you taking short, shallow breaths without even knowing it? If so, take several deep breaths and centre yourself in your body and in the present moment. Appreciate the wonderful body you have and the blessing of being able to walk.

Notice your surroundings. What season is it? Take a few minutes to listen to the noises around you. Feel the wind, sun, fog, rain or snow on your face. Look at the people, animals, birds, sky, trees, and buildings around you. Breathe in and out and realise that you are an integral part of the environment.

Pay attention to your body. Are you holding Tension in your shoulders, neck, solar plexus, lower back, or legs? Breath into any areas where you are feeling Tension and let it drain into the Earth. Next, pay attention to your posture. Are you standing straight and tall or slouching? Walk in a way that is comfortable for you with your body loose and uplifted. Walk with dignity and confidence, one foot in front of the other and pay attention to the experience of movement. You can walk mindfully anywhere, along a sidewalk, walking your dog, in the mall, along the hallways at work. You simply remind yourself to be in this moment, taking each step as it comes. Some people find it helpful to repeat a mantra (mantras are sacred words repeated in order to bring focus to your mind). You can also use a variation on the walking mantra by counting your breaths. Walk more slowly than you usually do and count how many steps it takes for your intake of breath and how many steps for your exhale. In this type of Meditation, your attention is focused on both your steps and your breathing bringing together a wonderful balance of peacefulness and awareness.

Take some time to reflect on your experience when you return home. Five or ten minutes brings closure to your walk and provides an opportunity to make the transition from this �place of peace� to ordinary day-to-day activities.

About the author

Gwen Nyhus Stewart, B.S.W., M.G., H.T., is an educator, freelance writer, garden consultant, and author of the book The Healing Garden: A Place Of Peace � Gardening For The Soil, Gardening For The Soul. She owns the website Gwen�s Healing Garden where you will find lots of free information about gardening for the soil and gardening for the soul. To find out more about the book and subscribe to her free Newsletter visit http://www.gwenshealinggarden.ca

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For Guaranteed, Effective, 100% Natural Herbal Remedies , please visit Native Remedies

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Meditation FAQ

April 15th, 2006

What is Meditation?

The basic idea generally associated with why people Meditate is that during our day we are constantly subjected to sensory input and our minds are always active in the process of thinking. We read the newspaper, study books, write reports, engage in conversation, solve problems, etc etc. Typically, as we do these normal activities we engage in a constant mental commentary, sort of an inner “The Drama of Me.” Usually people aren’t fully aware of all the mental thought activity that we are constantly engaged in.

Meditation allows all this activity to settle down, and often results in the mind becoming more peaceful, calm and focused. In essence, Meditation allows the awareness to become ‘rejuvenated’.

Meditation can be considered a technique, or practice. It usually involves concentrating on an object, such as a flower, a Candle, a sound or word, or the breath. Over time, the number of random thoughts occuring diminishes. More importantly, your attachment to these thoughts, and your identification with them, progressively become less. The meditator may get caught up in a thought pattern, but once he/she becomes aware of this, attention is gently brought back to the object of Concentration. Meditation can also be objectless, for example consisting of just sitting.

Experiences during Meditation probably vary significantly from one individual to another, or at least if different techniques are involved. Relaxation, increased awareness, mental focus and Clarity, and a sense of peace are the most common by-products of Meditation. While much has been written about the benefits of Meditation, the best attitude is not to have any expectations when practicing. Having a sense of expectation of (positive) results is likely to create unnecessary strain in the practice.

As well, since Meditation involves becoming more aware and more sensitive to what is within you, facing unpleasant parts of oneself may well be part of Meditation. Regardless of the experience, the meditator should try to be aware of the experience and of any attachment to it.

Failure to experience silence, peace of mind, mental Clarity, bliss, or other promoted benefit of Meditation is not in itself a sign of incorrect practice or that one can’t concentrate properly or concentrate enough to be good at Meditation. Whether one experiences peace or bliss is not what is important. What is generally considered important in Meditation is that one is regular with their Meditation -every day- and that one make a reasonable effort, but not strain, to remain with the object of Concentration during the practice. With regular practice one inevitably acquires an increased understanding of and proficiency with the particular Meditation technique.

Some people use the formal concentrative Meditation as a preliminary step to practicing a mindfulness Meditation during the day where one tries to maintain a calm but increased awareness of one’s thoughts and actions during the day.

For some people, Meditation is primarily a spiritual practice, and in some cases the Meditation practice may be closely tied to the practice of a religion such as, for example, Hinduism or Buddhism.

How is Meditation different from relaxation, thinking, Concentration or Self-Hypnosis?

Relaxation:

Relaxation is a common by-product of Meditation. Relaxation itself can assume many forms, such as taking a hot bath or reclining in the Lazy-boy and watching tv, etc. Meditation is an active process where the meditator remains fully aware of what the awareness is doing. It also attempts to transcend the thought process whereas many forms of relaxation still engage the thought process. Meditation allows the body to relax and can offset the effects of stress both mentally and physically to a potentially much greater degree than passive relaxation.

Thinking:

Thoughts generally consume energy in the process of their formation. Constant thought-activity, especially of random nature, can tire the mind and even bring on headache. Meditation attempts to transcend this crude level of thought activity. Through regular practice one becomes aware that they are not their thoughts but that there is an awareness that exists independent of thought. Descartes (”I think, therefore I am”) obviously was not a regular meditator!

Concentration:

Meditation begins with Concentration, but after an initial period of Concentration, thought activity decreases and keeping the awareness focused becomes more spontaneous. At this point the person may or may not continue to employ the object of Concentration.

Self-hypnosis:

Self-Hypnosis, like Meditation, involves at least an initial period of Concentration on an object. However in hypnosis one does not try to maintain an awareness of the here-and-now, or to stay conscious of the process. Instead one essentially enters a sort of semi-conscious trance.

How could Meditation help me to be more confident and assertive?

What keeps you from confidence and assertiveness? In Meditation, you will become aware of the influences that give you the illusion that you are small and unworthy. By witnessing those thoughts in Meditation, you will see them for what they really are. Meditators often discover that their real power is in being the silent witness. The thoughts are just passing illusions. Once we see them for what they are, we can confidently take our true identity. Some may call this true identity the “God within”. Others may prefer to think it as the spirit of God within us or the Holy Spirit within us. Whatever words you use, you will begin to see humanity as less of a “race” or competition and more as a celebration of complex, creative people with an enormous capacity for love.

How can Meditation make me more flexible?

People who live by rote, without examining their lives, are destined to repeat their patterns, which they naively begin to believe are their identity. When you become a witness to your own thoughts, you begin to be more humble. You may consider whether others’ thoughts are as valuable. You may even consider what others say as a potential source of life changing wisdom.

How can Meditation make me more self-sufficient?

A person with the habit of examining themselves loses the need to defend what they have done. A meditator need not keep asking others for approval. Meditation gives comfort. It puts us in touch with inner knowledge. In this way we need not live as much for what others think of us. We live more for what we ourselves decide we would like to be.

Will I really learn to relax?

Yes. In deep Meditation, which comes with regular practice, Meditation produces a profound state of rest called “the relaxation response.” This is a healthy way to live. It enhances the work of the Immune System and shifts people away from reliance on adrenaline. For more information about this, see Joan Borysenko, Ph.D., Minding the Body, Mending the Mind, 1987 at 10-17.

How could I “radiate love”?

Meditation gradually takes away self doubt. In this way, it also takes away the desperate need to have love from others. The witness, which each of us has, is a very powerful and loving part of us. As we become aware of “the witness,” we also become aware that we share the witness with others. Thus, they are like us. It makes sense to look on others with love. This attitude naturally produces inner radiance. It is very attractive to others. It is an entirely different thing than radiating “neediness”.

Why will I enjoy life more?

Meditators gradually stop having to prove themselves. They begin living life themselves. They can appreciate little things, like the breeze in the trees, the aroma of a Rose or the warmth of the sun. These little things become a source of great pleasure. It helps life itself to become more fun. It encourages the meditator to play more!

What are the different Meditation techniques?

Meditation involves concentrating on something to take our attention beyond the random thought activity that is usually going on in our heads. This can involve a solid object or picture, a mantra, breath, or guided visualization.

Typical objects employed include a Candle flame or a flower. Some people use pictures, such as a mandala - a highly colored symmetric painting - or a picture of a spiritual teacher in a high meditative state. Mantras are sounds which have a flowing, meditative quality and may be repeated out loud or inwardly. The breath is also a common focal point. Finally, guided visualization is also considered by some to be a form of Meditation. A guided visualization can help to bring one into a meditative state; also, visualization may be used once a meditative state has been reached to produce various results.

Which is right for me?

There is no “right” Meditation technique for everybody. Some techniques work better for certain people while other techniques work better for other people. The important thing is to find what works for you. What are the abc’s of Meditation?

There are a few recommended guidelines for meditation:

  • It should be done every day, preferably at the same time
  • It should preferably be done before a meal rather than after a meal
  • A spot should be set aside for Meditation, which should be a quiet place and used for nothing but Meditation
  • One should sit with the spine straight and vertical (a chair is ok to use)

Is there any religious implication or affiliation with Meditation?

Meditation has been and still is a central practice in eastern religions, for contacting “God” or one’s higher Self. Christianity also has semblances of Meditation, such as the biblical statement “The kingdom of heaven is within you”. Churches have a meditative atmosphere.

Meditation deals with contacting something within us that is peaceful, calm, rejuvenating, and meaningful. Whether one calls this something “God” or “soul” or “the inner child” or “theta-wave activity” or “peace” or “silence” is not important. It is there and anyone can benefit from it regardless of what they believe.

Most people in the world have already meditated. If you have relaxed looking at a beautiful sunset, allowing your thoughts to quiet down, this is close to Meditation. If you have been reading a book for awhile, then put it down to take a break and just sat there quietly and peacefully for a few minutes without thinking, this is close to Meditation.

Does Meditation have any ethical implications?

In many traditions Meditation practice is a means for reinforcing ethical qualities. In these traditions, calmness of mind, peacefulness and happiness are possible in Meditation and in life generally only if they are accompanied by the observance of ethical norms of behaviour.

What is the best time of day to Meditate?

While Meditation is beneficial at any time, most people who Meditate agree that early morning is the best time to Meditate. Part of the reason is that it is said that in early morning the hustle-and-bustle of the world has not yet begun and so it is easier to establish a meditative atmosphere. Having an early morning Meditation also lets us carry some of the energy and peace of the Meditation into our daily activities.

Many people also Meditate either before dinner or later in the evening. Others also Meditate at noon. A short Meditation at these times allows one to throw off some of the accumulated stress of the work-day and become rejuvenated for further activity. An important consideration is when your schedule will allow you to Meditate. Having a time of the day set aside for Meditation helps in maintaining regularity.

Why do some people use music while Meditating?

Meditative music (not rock-n-roll !) can help in establishing a meditative atmosphere. Also, some people find Meditation relatively easy but find that the hard thing is to actually get themselves to sit down and start their Meditation. Music can help make this easier. Some people use music quite often while others prefer silent Meditation and never use it.

Should I Meditate with my eyes open or with my eyes closed?

Different traditions give different answers. Closing your eyes may contribute to drowsiness and sleepiness–if that’s the case for you then try opening them a little. Opening your eyes may be distracting. If that’s the case try closing your eyes or direct your gaze on a blank wall (Zen-style). Or try with the eyes open halfway or a bit more, the gaze unfocussed and directed downward, but keeping the head erect with the chin slightly tucked in. Sometimes meditators experience Headaches from focussing on a spot too close to the eyes (perhaps closer than three feet). Whether focussed or unfocussed, the gaze should be relaxed in order to prevent eyestrain or headache.

Experiment and see what works for you and then stick with your choice of technique. If you are using a Candle, flower, or other visual object in your Meditation then here the technique itself requires your eyes to be at least partly open.

What are the physiological effects of Meditation?

The most common physiological effects of Meditation are reduced blood pressure, lower pulse rate, decreased metabolic rate and changes in the Concentration of serum levels of various substances.

When I Meditate I experience physical pain in my body. What should I do?

Sensations (itching/aches/pains/etc.) can arise in the body when Meditating for several reasons. Sometimes the cause is just an uncomfortable posture–make sure that your posture is comfortable under normal circumstances. Other times the cause is that sensations in the body are more noticable in Meditation. The body and mind are calmer and you are able to notice more details in your bodily experience. It is often interesting to simply observe these sensations in your body : to use them as the objects of Meditation. Sometimes these sensations just go away without your having to move or change your posture. Remember that a quiet body contributes to a quiet mind.

How long should I Meditate?

When first learning Meditation it is usually not possible to Meditate for more than 10-15 minutes. After regular practice for awhile, one becomes able to Meditate for longer periods of time. Many people Meditate twice-daily for 20-30 minutes each time, but the right duration and frequency is for each individual to decide.

Do I need a teacher?

It is theoretically possible to learn Meditation from a book. However most people who teach and practice Meditation agree that a teacher can be an invaluable aid in learning a Meditation technique and making sure it is practiced correctly. The beginner will usually have several questions which a teacher will be able to answer. Also, learning with a group of people, eg a Meditation class, allows you to experience the benefit of Meditating with a group of people. Most people find that they have some of their best meditations while Meditating in a group, because there is a collective energy and focus present.

Various individuals and groups teach Meditation. Some charge and some do not. Many different techniques are taught, some more spiritual in nature and others mainly concerned with stress-reduction and gaining a little peace of mind. As always, the important thing is finding what works for you.

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More Meditation Techniques

January 5th, 2006

Vipassana Meditation

Vipassana means “insight” -to see things as they really are, through a process of self-observation. It means insight into your own nature which enables one to recognize himself the cause of suffering and eliminate it.

Method:

It is usually done in a course of 10 days, when the participants refrain from reading, writing, and even talking (except discussing difficulties faced during Meditation with the teacher). Set aside 15 minutes. Find a quiet place. Sit down cross-legged on the floor or a chair with a straight back. Become aware of your breath. Take a mental note of whatever feeling you are experiencing.

Open your eyes slowly after 10 or 15 minutes and get up gradually. Do not worry if you do not get any great insights in your first session. Try to be aware of your senses and emotions and their impact on you.

Benefits:

It is free of rites. Allows one to study sensation in the body like cold, pain, itching etc. One develops wisdom.

Raja Yoga Meditation

Raja Yoga Meditation fills the yogi with super-sensuous joy or bliss which is the highest and the most ennobling experience. The bliss elevates the mind and raises the yogi above carnal pleasures, and moulds his bad habits.

A Raja yogi establishes a relationship with God . He withdraws from all the superfluous and avoidable worldly activities. He spends minimum time and resources on his personal comforts and devotes maximum energy for noble cause i.e. spiritual awakening of his felloe-beings.

Zazen

It refers to zen Meditation as was done by Buddha.

Method:

In this you sit in lotus position with back straight to allow free movement of the diaphragm. The chin is tucked in and the weight of the body equally distributed on both the legs.

Benefits:

It is a way to discipline life, and makes one realize how much valuable time is wasted each day.

Nada Yoga

Plug the ears with the thumbs as in Yoni mudra and concentrate on the internal body sounds. At first the sounds will be faint and will progressively become louder. By listening to this sound mind becomes internally focused. Very beneficial meditative object.

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For Guaranteed, Effective, 100% Natural Herbal Remedies , please visit Native Remedies

ReflexAromas is where you can find Quality Reflexology Tools, specially-formulated Essential Oil blends for a variety of health conditions, Massage Therapy tools and Crystals.

NaturalEco Organics is where we recommend you go for Organic, natural, chemical-free products and quality remedies for a safe, healthy journey for Mom and Baby, from Pregnancy to baby’s Nursery!

Mountain Rose Herbs is where NHH recommends you purchase all of your Bulk Herbs, Spices, Teas and single oils!

Are you looking for quality Vitamins, diet aids and health Supplements? Visit the Health Supplement Shop - highly recommended by NHH!


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