Meditation

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Practical Techniques for Meditation
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How to meditate: Simple meditation for beginners
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Meditation 102 – Meditation Is Not About Getting Rid of Thoughts
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Meditation

Practical Techniques for Meditation

LESSON 1: THE MEANING AND PURPOSE OF MEDITATION

Very often people ask me, “What does meditation mean?” Rather than be dogmatic and give you a pat answer, we’ll spend the next 11 weeks working on various techniques of meditation. As always we’ll have a set of “homework” exercises for each week which may or may not seem to have anything to do with the immediate subject matter. But if you’ll work with It regularly you’ll soon find that you have built something special of your own.

DICTIONARY DEFINITION

The dictionary defines meditation as: To plan in the mind: intend. To fix the mind upon; think about continuously: contemplate. Or to engage in continuous and contemplative thought; study; any subject or idea; cogitate.

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How to meditate: Simple meditation for beginners

Each meditation practice typically requires a different mental skill. It is often extremely difficult for a beginner to sit for hours and think of nothing or to have an “empty mind.” In general, the easiest way to begin meditating is by focusing on the breath (see concentration meditation above).

The following meditation exercise is an excellent introduction to meditation techniques.

  • Sit comfortably.
  • Close your eyes.
  • Do not attempt to control your breath in any way. Just breathe naturally.
  • Focus your attention on the breath. Observe how your body moves with each breath. Pay attention to the movement of your body as you breathe, especially your chest, rib cage, shoulders, and belly, as you inhale and exhale. Whenever your mind wanders, gently return your attention back to your breath.
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Meditation 102 – Meditation Is Not About Getting Rid of Thoughts

Probably the number one misunderstanding about meditation is that it means getting rid of all of your thoughts. Many beginning meditators feel that thoughts are bad, and that a good meditation is all about eliminating one’s thoughts. They imagine meditation as a blank state of mind, devoid of thought or emotion. In over twenty years as a meditation instructor, this is the single greatest source of frustration and discouragement. Common examples of things beginners say include: “I am a horrible meditator, I just cannot stop thinking.” “If only I could stop my thoughts, then I would be able to meditate.” “I knew I couldn’t meditate, I cannot control my mind.” We then try to spank our thoughts out of existence and end up spanking ourselves.

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Meditation

The word “meditation” is typically used to designate broadly similar practices, or sets of practices, that are found across many cultures and traditions. A general consensus is that meditation is a mental technique that the meditator practices repetitively in order to attain a subjective experience that is usually described as silent, very restful and of heightened awareness, and is often accompanied by a state of bliss. What is considered to be meditation can include almost any practice that trains the attention, which seems to be the only invariant of all the usual definitions.

Meditation has been practiced since antiquity in many varied religious and secular traditions and beliefs. Since the nineteenth century, it has spread from its origins to other cultures where it is now commonly practiced in private and business life.

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