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What is Meditation?

“Stop!!!”, don’t we just scream this in our minds when the day has been very bad and all we think about is “work, problem, work, problem” over and over again? Sometimes we wish our minds would just shut up and let us have peace, just simple, unending peace.

This peace most of us won’t find just around the corner. We need to set aside a period of time every day to quiet the mind. This is called meditation. What is meditation? There are different ways to describe meditation. Meditation for some is a way to slow down, chill out and get in touch with the inner self. An ordinary person may consider meditation as a worship or prayer, but it is not so. Meditation means “awareness”. Whatever you do with awareness is meditation. Watching the sunset peacefully is meditation, sitting by the ocean and just listening to the waves is meditation, as long as these activities are free from any other distraction to the mind is effective meditation.

Meditation means “to join together or to yoke”. It is a state of consciousness when the mind is free from scattered thoughts and various patterns. It is not a technique but a way of life, the height of meditation which is called Samadhi is where the mind is completely merged with worlds of perfect light. The observer, one who is doing the meditation, realizes that all activity of the mind is reduced to one.

Meditation is derived from two Latin words; meditari which means to think, to dwell upon, and to exercise the mind; and mederi which means to heal. Its Sanskrit derivation medha means wisdom. Many years ago, meditation was not considered something for modern people, but now meditation has become very popular with all types of people. Although medical evidence has proved its benefits, it still needs to be better understood.

Classic yoga texts would traditionally describe attaining true states of meditation by one going through several stages. The more advanced stages of concentration, contemplation, and then ultimately absorption, come after the first stages of necessary preparation of one’s personal and social code, physical position, breath control and relaxation. It does not mean however that one must perfect any one stage before moving on to the next. The integral yoga uses the approach of simultaneous application of little of all the stages together.

Today, when people refer to meditation, it can mean any one of these stages. Some of the schools teaching yoga would only teach concentration techniques, some relaxation, and others teach free form contemplative activities like just sitting and awaiting absorption. With regular practice of a balance series of yoga techniques, the quality of consciousness can be expanded, where the energy of the body and the mind can be liberated.

Meditation helps you get in touch with your inner self and recharges you. It makes you happy and also empowers you to accomplish things in the daily world. Meditation practice leads to enlightenment, and the beauty about it is you experience its benefits right away, beginning with your first meditation session.

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