Meditation is the art of being relaxed and alert in the same moment - It's a subtle balancing act!
In essence, mediation is quite simple:
There are many ways to mediate, but for our practice session we'll focus on the breath using what I call my 'Beach Meditation'.
Sometimes I meditate on the image of a beach. With each in breath, I see the sea coming in, and on each out breath, the sea flows back down the beach. Each wave clears the beach of any debris (i.e. my random thoughts).
In your own time:
When you're ready, slowly and gently return to everyday consciousness. Wiggle you toes and your fingers. Open you eyes. Look around. Try to stay with your calm relaxed state.
Simple alternative meditations
If it helps you focus, count each breath. Count from one to five with each breath. When you reach five, start again. If you loose count, don't worry. Just start again. The important thing is not to engage with losing focus - It happens. Let it happen, and move on.
Try and spend some time mediating everyday. Many books will tell you that you must do 15 to 20 minutes meditation everyday. I found that very off-putting when I started, so I suggest you just do what you can. Aim for 5 minutes meditation everyday. Don't get judgmental if you miss a day - It happens. Let it happen, and move on.
As time goes by, you'll find that mediating becomes a habit you enjoy and gradually you'll find yourself doing more each day.
Alpha and Beta Brain Waves
The brain’s neurochemical activity generates electrical charges. These charges are classified into alpha (8 - 12 Hz), theta, beta and delta brain waves. Alpha waves are produced during alert relaxation, while theta waves are associated with deep meditative states. Beta waves are produced when you're concentrating on a task or problem solving. Delta waves are present during sleep.
During everyday activity our brains are mainly producing beta waves (12 - 40Hz). Beta waves are associated with arousal, problem solving, attention and concentration, and other intellectual processes. When we're thinking, talking, or planning we are mainly in the beta state.
Alpha waves are associated with calmness and relaxation. People in alpha states are awake but relaxed, and it's sometimes described as 'the gateway to meditation'. Closing your eyes helps produce alpha states.
While in the alpha state, we tend to be more present in the moment, less-judgmental, and more focused on the senses.
What is meditation?
There are many types of meditation, but one definition that fits almost all types is..."Consciously directing your attention to alter your state of consciousness."
There's no limit to the things you can direct your attention toward... symbols, sounds, colors, breath, uplifting thoughts, spiritual realms, etc. Meditation is simply about attention... where you direct it, and how it alters your consciousness.
What is the purpose of meditation?
Traditionally meditation was (and still is) used for spiritual growth...i.e. becoming more conscious; unfolding our inner Light, Love, & Wisdom; becoming more aware of the guiding Presence in our lives; accelerating our journey home to our True Self... our Spirit.
General Guidelines for Meditation
Try to get into a regular daily practice. If you are just beginning meditation and want to practice regularly, it's best to start meditating 10 to 15 minutes once a day. Later, you may want to increase that to 20 minutes once a day, or 10 minutes twice a day. But don't worry about that for now - just begin!
Some Misconceptions about Meditation
Misconception #1. 'Meditation is turning off your thoughts or making your mind a blank'.
Misconception #2. 'Meditation is difficult and takes tremendous discipline'.
Not True. Meditation can be easily learned, and can be quite enjoyable. Meditation is only difficult if one tries to do it perfectly, which is not really possible.
Misconception #3. 'Meditation is not successful unless we see interesting things in our mind'.
Not True. Although some meditations are specifically for visualizing, many are not. In those meditations, seeing things may be entertaining, but is not essential. Even visualization does not necessarily require seeing. Some people sense or feel things inwardly, and that's all right.
When beginning your meditation practice, the most important
thing to remember is to approach meditation with "relaxed effort" and
not to be concerned about doing it correctly, or about what is supposed
The following meditation is said to be the meditation taught by Gautama Buddha about 2500 years ago. The primary focus is your breathing. However, the primary goal is maintaining a calm, non-judging awareness, allowing thoughts, feelings, and sensations to come and go without getting enmeshed in them. This calm, accepting, spacious awareness is your Core Self... your Essence.
Steps of Mindfulness Meditation
Taken from: www.meditationcenter.com/