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About a year ago I was having strange symptoms. Doctors were not able to find anything wrong with me. I was under a lot of stress at that time, and I couldn’t get it under control. I decided to give meditation a try. I started small and worked up to 20 minutes every day in the morning before the day’s distractions. I was skeptical at first, but I actually felt great and all of my symptoms seemed to vanish.
A month ago I started to stress out again, and my symptoms came back. I finally realized that I wasn’t meditating every day anymore and when I did I wasn’t able to clear my mind of the garbage thoughts causing my stress. I decided to relearn the techniques I learned from Headspace. After a week, I was cured again. Now I am fully convinced that meditation is the best cure for stress and anxiety. This meditation guide will help you understand what meditation is and the different ways you can practice it.
If you don’t understand what meditation is, don’t know how, or don’t think you are capable of learning then have a seat, take a deep breath, and read on. Meditation is a perplexing topic for most westerners. They don’t get it because our society has taken the road with heavy traffic, big billboards, and loud distractions. It is for this reason that we need meditation more than ever. The purpose of meditation is to dissolve those obnoxious disturbances and judgments that burden our mind.
Many people think that they can’t do it, or they have tried but don’t feel it. The reality is that it is called practicing meditation for a reason. Meditation is not something that you will get or achieve; it is simply the act of. You will certainly not be a Buddhist Monk on your first session, but the act of setting aside time and continuing the practice every day is much more powerful.
Benefits of Meditation
It is really incredible how many scientifically proven benefits meditation has on the mind and body. It can help with stress, pain, depression, immunity, anxiety, focus, compassion, creativity, learning and memory. If you don’t believe me, check out 20 Scientific Reasons to Start Meditating Today presented by Psychology Today, which provides links to peer-reviewed studies that back up the claims. These proven benefits are not all of the benefits that people feel others include things such as a slowing down the aging process and improving the circulatory system.
What Meditation is Not
Many people have misconceptions about what meditation is. It is not a religion, philosophy, or lifestyle. It is not zoning out or just relaxation. If you have a cluttered understanding then check out this great article called 34 misconceptions and myths about meditation by Live and Dare a great meditation and personal growth blog.
What is Meditation?
Meditation is a difficult thing to truly describe and every single style and practitioner will give you a different explanation. To me, it is a state of mind where focus is centrally aligned on an inner peace free of emotional judgment. For a better definition, I recommend this extensively unbiased explanation of meditation provided by Wikipedia.
Categorization of Meditation
Meditation has many styles and classifications that would go far beyond the scope of this article. If you are interested in gaining a better clinical understanding of the classifications and explanation of meditation check out Meditation provided by the Mayo Clinic. I also love this simply put all inclusive article entitled 5 meditation styles for beginners written by Heather Dale at Pop Sugar.
One of the most scientifically proven and popular types of meditation is Transcendental Meditation. Among the long list of famous supporters are Ellen Degenrous, Rupert Murdoch, Oprah Winfrey, Clint Eastwood, and The Beatles. TM, as it is called, is a practice that emphasizes the descent into inner tranquility using a personally assigned mantra. It is different than the others because it is not based on concentration, but rather the lack thereof. It is taught by certified instructors at one of the many TM Centers. There is only one true place to learn this particular form of meditation, TM.org. It is a non-profit organization that charges a fee for lifelong access to its community of experts. The money that it receives is paid forward in TM training programs for those most in need of it such as, at risk children, domestic violence victims, and military veterans. It is a great path if you think you need one-on-one training to achieve inner peace, clarity, and harmony.
The hands down best app ever created for meditation is Headspace. Andy Puddicombe is a former Buddhist Monk who has created an amazing guided meditation app that is beautifully displayed and narrated. His app starts you off with Take Ten which is a ten minutes a day for ten days beginner guided meditation course designed to teach you how to meditate mindfully. He then provides loads of specialized sessions that focus on various improvements on your head space. I can personally attest to the effectiveness of Andy’s soothingly inspirational voice.
Meditating in Everyday Life
Mindfulness meditation is the practice of paying attention to your awareness in the moment without judgment. Traditionally It can be done by sitting still and focusing your mind on the aspects of your position in space, but It can also be performed during daily activities. The idea behind it is to reduce over thinking and become aware of the world around you. This practice of quieting your untamed mind is explored in detail by wildmind.org an incredible blog on mindfulness meditation. I particularly love this section about how to combine Mindfulness and Daily Activity.
Meditation on YouTube
If you are looking for a YouTube channel with many hours of relaxing meditation content then the Meditation Relax Club is for you. The Meditation Relax club also has an extensive collection of soothing audio on the iTunes store. This channel has loads of soothing music for many moods and situations. It also has plenty of guided meditations for any specific situation. It also offers the content in other languages.
Religious Meditation Guide
Meditation is often associated with eastern religions because it is traditionally an eastern practice, but it is not focused on any religious belief system. Meditation practice fits into the category of spirituality, but so do all religions. Meditation is focused on the person. It is a reflection of what the person believes in and who the person wants to be. Through focused attention, meditation can bring a person closer to their god and help them mold their thoughts to whatever ideals they want to incorporate into their daily life. The World Community on Christian Meditation provides a good explanation on What Meditation is from the Christian perspective. It provides a framework for using meditation to bring you closer to God.
Meditation is a universal cure for life that can provide help to everyone. No matter what you believe or know about meditation it is a scientifically proven natural medicine. I recommend it to everyone. If you don’t feel like it is benefiting don’t get discouraged. The benefits are sometimes subtle and do improve over time. Make sure you take the time to power down, relax, and get acquainted with yourself. Your body will thank you.
I want to hear about your journey and how meditation has helped you in the comments. If you have any questions I will do my best to give you advice. If you like this article subscribe to my newsletter for the latest updates of useful knowledge.