Meditation really began to gain traction in Western culture during the 1960s. The 60s was a decade of exploration, experimentation and expansion of the mind. When the biggest celebrities of the era The Beatles advocated meditation it quickly became the latest craze. While most crazes die out quickly meditation is most definitely here to stay. A 2007 survey produced by the U.S. government found that over 9% of the population had meditated in the last twelve months. That’s over twenty million people in America alone who mediate in the Western world.
It can be hard to explain what meditation actually is since it encompasses many techniques and aims. Simply put though meditation is a category of practices (with many subcategories) whereby the practitioner exercises the mind to achieve an altered state of consciousness. It can be done for religious or spiritual reasons but it also carries many other benefits. Various studies have shown meditation to lower blood pressure, change the rate of metabolism, reduce stress and anxiety, ease pain, heighten creativity and alter brain waves.
If you are looking to take up meditation then there are many great books and CDs on the market to guide you. For now though this meditation guide will suffice if you are looking to jump into calming waters that meditation provides. A little later on in this article I will provide you will an easy script to follow that will allow you to try meditation wherever you may be.
Before that though I’m sure you have a few questions. The most common questions I am asked are “How often/long should I meditate?” and “What does meditation feel like?”. I’ll answer the last question first. There are a vast number of meditation exercises and the feelings they conjure can vary. Typically though meditation feels deeply relaxing, almost as if you are emptying your mind of any negative thoughts or feelings you’ve picked up throughout the day. I have been meditating for many years now and I often find now that I am so engrossed in my meditation that I have to take a moment to shift my awareness to my body, as it feels like it has disappeared! Of course it hasn’t, and this isn’t something you are likely to experience at first.
It is best to meditate daily, even if it is only once for a short period of time. Meditation is like any skill, the more you practice the better you get. So meditating once a day helps to enhance your abilities plus, as I mentioned earlier, it allows you to release any negativity or mental blocks you may have picked up that day. The length of time is not that important. Five minutes once a day is enough at a push if you are pressed for time. Regularity is the key and it’s quality not quantity.
With those questions answered lets begin our meditative exercise. The best way to learn this exercise is to read it a few times and memorize it as best you can. Do not worry if you aren’t word perfect, the feel is more important than the precision.
Start by getting yourself in a comfortable position with your back straight. If you prefer you can sit on a chair or even lie down.
Close your eyes and begin to breathe deeply. Breathing in and out through your nose. Allow the breath to be drawn in through the stomach so that it expands as you inhale.
As you breathe deeply be aware of the sensation of breathing. Feel how the air is cool as it is inhales and warm as it is exhaled. Feel how your stomach expands and then contracts. Be aware of how energized you feel as you inhale every breath of oxygen. If your mind wanders do not chastise yourself, simply allow it to return to the focus of your breathwork.
Continue this awareness of breathing for as long as you desire.
This is a basic breathing meditation. As you become more adept at it you will want to expand your knowledge and practice of meditation. You can do so by following my website below.