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“We could say that meditation doesn’t have a reason or doesn’t have a purpose. In this respect it’s unlike almost all other things we do except perhaps making music and dancing. When we make music we don’t do it in order to reach a certain point, such as the end of the composition. If that were the purpose of music then obviously the fastest players would be the best. Also, when we are dancing we are not aiming to arrive at a particular place on the floor as in a journey. When we dance, the journey itself is the point, as when we play music the playing itself is the point. And exactly the same thing is true in meditation. Meditation is the discovery that the point of life is always arrived at in the immediate moment.” Alan Watts

Meditation is...

I looked at a quick exercise to get your feet wet in the meditation pool. However after posting it I realized there is a bigger “why” behind the question of meditation which needs to be explored. For most people meditation is what they’ve seen on television. Strange people with strange hair cuts sitting around chanting. Meditation dovetails with religion a lot in popular culture and in many practical ways however this is only one form of meditation.
So what is meditation?What does meditation entail?What are the physical effects of meditation?{Is all meditation religious,Can meditation exist seperately from religion,Can meditation and religion exist separate from each other??How does meditation benefit you?So what is meditation? What does meditation entail?Meditation is the quietening of the mind. It is a process wherein the meditator takes time to be present in their lives. Ok so I hear you asking yourself “but surely I’m present in my life now? If not where am I?” No you’re probably not present in your life now. As you read this your mind is stretching into the past to compare what you’re reading to the knowledge you’ve already built up over the years and at some point it will stretch off into the future and try to predict the success of this meditation business. Meditation is about banishing the past and the future. Meditation banishes thoughts of ego, we forget our physical selves or the outward existence of our physical selves. We become aware of our inner selves. We forget about time. Our inner self exists without time. It lives and feels now. When we stop thinking, the past and the future dissolve and we are left with the present. Once we enter the meditative state, we become at once more peaceful. While meditating our bodies relax. Amazingly most people find this relaxed state quite uncomfortable at first. We’ve become that accustomed to our stressed state. Meditation is about allowing our bodies to experience our natural state of relaxation. Meditation is, letting go of the need to think and realizing that we are so much more than the sum of our thoughts.
“Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless – like water. Now you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup, you put water into a bottle, it becomes the bottle, you put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.” Bruce Lee
What happens physically in my body while I meditate?Our brain chiefly operates at 2 frequencies while we are awake Alpha and Beta. When our brain operates at the Beta frequency it is awake and alert. Some of the lower Beta frequencies are great for creativity and focused thought concentration. The higher beta frequencies is where we spend most of our time. This is where our conscious mind is in almost complete control. Our brain is going great guns jumping from one thought to another.
As our stress levels increase our brain moves into higher beta frequencies this results in:We hunch our shoulders constricting our lungs and as a result our breathing becomes shallowerOur jaw clenchesWe struggle to focus on one thing, our mind jumping from one thought to the nextOur heart rate increasesWe start feeling ill at ease, our mind is warning us that we’re heading down a dangerous pathAlpha is the other state that our mind commonly resides in while awake. The higher alpha states are often attributed with creativity and problems solving. Lower alpha states are where your mind resides just before you fall asleep, when you just wake up and when you meditate. Meditation captures the moments before you fall asleep.
This is when your body is:RelaxedYour breathing is deep and easyYour muscles are loose and at easeYour heart rate normal and often lowered as your body begins to work more efficientlyYou start feeling more at peace as you feel your real inner life come into focus“Meditation is the dissolution of thoughts in Eternal awareness or Pure consciousness without objectification, knowing without thinking, merging finitude in infinity. Swami Sivananda

Can meditation and religion exist separate from each other?Yes they can there is nothing inherently “religious” about meditation. What you choose to focus on while you meditate is your personal choice. Whether you choose to clear your mind and simply experience the joy of being alive or whether you would like to meditate on some higher being of your choosing is entirely your choice. Meditation is a personal matter. Meditation neither adds nor takes away from you as a person. All meditation does is focus you inward on what is already there.
What are the benefits of meditation?The effects of meditation are instantaneous. Even as you take your first steps on the road to the practice of meditation, you will find that you will begin to feel these benefits. There are no contra-indication to meditation. There is quite literally nothing in your life that will not benefit from your practice of meditation, as you begin to feel energised and refreshed. I personally find that meditation kickstarts my creativity. At the risk of sounding overly dramatic, it quite literally feels like my brain has been rebooted. It feels as if I have cleared the cluttered workspace of my mind and am beginning anew with a clean and clear workspace. Besides creativity meditation refreshes the mind during periods of mental exertion, like during exam time. I find despite getting older and older my powers of concentration have actually grown considerably since I’ve started meditation.

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Free time Free Self Development

For most of us the state of the economy has become a drain on the resources. We are being forced to become more careful about how we spend our money. Despite this we still haven’t seemed to learn how to spend our most valuable resource; time. Developing ourselves doesn’t cost a cent these days. As we try to do more in less time Free time is precious. Our time on earth is finite and we should be making the most of every second we have. Realize this and suddenly your days will become. Every day becomes a chance for self development. A chance to add more value to and find more value in your life. If you’re sitting with too much free time, you have a problem. You probably haven’t realised the urgency of developing your self . You haven’t realised that real growth can’t really wait for the tomorrow you hope you have.

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