Understanding Meditation

When I started to meditate in 1993, I was of the understanding that meditation was all about calming the mind and enjoying the natural high.

Now, many years have passed and during this time I've lived and practiced meditation in numerous monasteries round the world.

For a period of three and a half years I practiced intensively on my own. In this article I will share my understanding on how to practice meditation.

Buddhism Or Anthroposophy?

I started out with Buddhist insight meditation also called vipassana, then I spent a few years practicing anthroposophical meditation founded by Rudolf Steiner. Later on, I was into Tibetan as well as Zen Buddhist practices. I've also done several mahasi retreats which stems from Buddhist traditions from Burma.

Why try so many types of meditation, why not stick to one? For many of us it's difficult to find a tradition or technique that feels right. But once you've found it you can focus wholeheartedly on the meditation practice itself.

Eckhart Tolle And Ajahn Sumedho

These days I find most of my inspiration in Eckhart Tolle's and Ajahn Sumedho's teachings. Search for these names in Google and you will find many video clips and mp3 talks. So, why these meditation masters? What is it that makes them stand out?

To me, they stand out with their clear and easy-to-follow teachings. In my experience, they're quite experimental as well. What I mean by experimental here is how they discover techniques or methods if you like and then share them in their teachings.

Of course, as a Theravadin monk in the Thai Forest Tradition, Ajahn Sumedho follows his tradition, however, his teachings are refreshing and non-orthodox.

The Purpose Of Meditation

Why meditate in the first place? I can recall spending hundreds of hours on the meditation cushion enduring physical pain as well as boredom. So, what's in it for you? One can talk about the purpose of meditation on several levels, let's start from the bottom and build upward.

Meditation For Health

Meditation has many overall health benefits and health professionals speak very highly of it. Meditation helps lowering the blood pressure and effectively dissolves physical and mental stress. So, for anyone living a busy lifestyle meditation becomes a welcome break.

As an introduction, I recommend guided meditation which is easy to learn. The meditation can be saved to a mp3 player for ultimate flexibility. This way you can meditate anywhere, while commuting, during coffee breaks or even in nature.

It's advisable to meditate regularly, for example 3-5 times a week. This way you'll make steady progress and will benefit the most from your meditation practice. Mind you, 10 minutes a day is all you need. What matters here is not quantity but quality.

The mind becomes calm when you meditate and one of the beauties is that the mental stillness has a positive effect on your everyday life.

You may get hooked on meditation and spend a few weeks a year in meditation retreat or perhaps live in a spiritual community. Intensive practice away from the pressures of modern life makes for faster progress than occasional practice at meditation centers or at home.

FREE Guided Meditations

                          Eliminate Stress and feel Refreshed

                          Learn 3 Easy meditation techniques

                          Free Email Support...

Download your FREE meditations Now!

Enter your email:

By signing up for the free meditations, you agree to receive occasional newsletters from axel g.
You can unsubscribe at any time...

Group Practice Versus Self Practice

One advantage of practicing in a group, is that the group generates a lot of mental energy which makes it easier to meditate. Another bonus is that you always got someone to ask for help which is especially useful in the beginning.

Compared to meditating alone, it's much easier to get motivated in a group. I suggest you combine the two to get the best of both worlds.

Meditating in a group can be a great boost but it also has its downsides with distractions such as coughing as well as hearing other meditators changing their sitting postures. Some meditators argue that these distractions are useful since you can become aware of them and let them go. As a result you'll be able to meditate in any surroundings no matter how noisy or discomforting it may be.

At home it's often quieter and you got more freedom when it comes to meditation postures. Sit on a chair, stool, sofa, bed, the floor, stand up, lie down or do walking meditation.

Misunderstanding The Meditation Practice

I used to think that meditation was separate from other activities. This is an all-too-common misunderstanding. For example if you go swimming, you're likely to look at the swimming as something that's confined to the swimming pool. It's quite natural that the mind separates activities like this.

Now, meditation doesn't end as you get off the meditation cushion, like swimming does when you get out of the water. Meditation can be a beautiful part of your life in the form of continuous mindfulness practice.

Attention And Awareness

The purpose of meditation is to think less and to become more aware of the present moment. It's helpful to understand that we're conscious whenever we're awake and that both thinking and awareness are forms of consciousness.

Now, most of the time our minds think about what we've done in the past and what we're going to do in the future. The compulsive thinking is ongoing and our attention is hardly ever in the present.

By being aware of the present moment our minds are grounded or anchored in the present.

It's a widespread misunderstanding that meditation is synonymous with strong concentration. It can be, but here we're concerned with relaxed attention which is a natural state of mind, unlike deep concentration which is a created mind state that depends on tranquil surroundings.

Conscious Living

Whatever you do let the mind be with the activity. If you're washing dishes, only wash dishes. If you're driving, only drive. Monitor your daily activities with relaxed attention and see for yourself how you can benefit from it.

Give yourself ample time to develop these skills though, as it takes plenty of practice to change old habits. Patience and a forgiving attitude help a lot.

Bring awareness into your life and feel free to share your good and bad experiences with me...

Best of luck!

Related:   Open Eyes Meditation   Meditation & Transformation   Meditation Tips

axel g > Meditation > Understanding Meditation

All Rights Reserved ©2008-2016 axelg.com

Design by OS Templates