What is Meditation?
Meditation is a cleansing process through self-observation, which not only helps us to reduce stress but also trains our mind not to get stressed. It’s the best way to manage stress.
Meditation is a state of thoughtless awareness in which the excessive stress producing activity of the mind is neutralized without reducing alertness and effectiveness.
Benefits of meditation:
Meditation not only helps to avoid and reduce stress but is also proven to be an effective way of enhancing the quality of life by improving physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing. There are numerous benefits of meditation, here mentioning some of them.
Meditation helps us,
- to avoid our reactions
- to cope up with the situation
- to make a balance in the body and our life
- to be in the present
- to stay away from negative emotions
- to cleanse our mind by removing accumulated negative emotions
- to make our mind calm and clear
- to polish our cognitive functions like concentration, memory etc.
- to avoid and reduce stress, in turn helping us to prevent and maintain all lifestyle diseases
- to increase the Immunity, which in turn helps us to protect from infectious diseases
- to rejuvenate our cells and delay the aging process
It is very simple but not so easy. We need to practice it daily as much as possible to experience its effects. To start with we can do it for minimum 10 minutes to as long as possible. Once you get habituated with practicing regular meditation, you will enjoy its benefits.
We can do meditation in 2 stages,
Observation of Breathing Pattern
Take a comfortable sitting position and close your eyes. Now focus all your attention to your breath. Observe your breath “as it is”, do not try to change it. It may be fast or slow, warm or cold. It may come from right nostril and go from left nostril or vice versa. We can follow the breath while inhaling and exhaling.
As I said it’s simple but not easy. So while you are trying to focus your attention on your breath, your mind will wander here and there. It will either go in past or future. You will get the thoughts about the past incidences, where you had reacted and these have got accumulated in your subconscious mind. We do not think much about these past incidences, but they are present in our subconscious mind. We can feel that stored emotion because of our attachment to that emotion. This emotion can be an anger, fear, insulted feeling, neglected feeling etc. And what is inside you, only that will come out. Sometimes we feel that why I got angry for such a silly reason? The reason is inside you and not outside. And to remove this reason we are doing Meditation.
We can also get thoughts about our future worries and insecurities. We get so much attached to them that they go deep inside our subconscious mind. And they come out in an exaggerated form as a reaction to small things.
So what we will do when these thoughts will intrude our mind while we are trying to focus on the breath?
We will observe them “AS IT IS” as we are observing our breath and “LET IT GO”. We should not feel the same emotion with that thought. We should look at them as we are watching a movie, without any emotional involvement. When we see a quarrel or fighting scene in movie, we do not feel like fighting.
By this process, you are letting go all accumulated emotions to which we have got attached. And these are the root cause of our sufferings.
When you observe these emotions as it is and let them go, you should again focus on your breath. Again your mind will wander into some deep-seated emotion or thought or incidence. The Same process will continue while you observe your breath.
In this stage of meditation, we are learning to observe everything “AS IT IS” without any emotional involvement, it can be inside or outside. Eg. I will not get scared of the cockroach; I will observe him and act. If someone is behaving badly, I will observe how he is reacting because of his internal suffering; and our action will be to try to help him or go away without any emotional involvement.
So by practicing the first stage of meditation, we are not only detaching our deep-seated emotions, desires, which are the root cause of our sufferings but to also train our mind to look at everything, inside and outside “AS IT IS”.
We can be aware of our breathing in any situation, at any time and not only while meditating, it will help us to be in present moment or reality.
- Observation of Sensation
Before you start this stage, observe your breath at least for10 minutes.
Then start scanning your body from head to foot and vice versa. While doing so we may feel any kind of sensation like pain, contracting sensation, heat or cold, itching, crawling, tingling, numbness, stiffness etc.
Bodily sensations are whatever we feel in the body, in the present moment. Bodily sensations are temporary and changing in nature. They have the characteristics of arising, staying for some time and passing.
For example, we may get the sensation of intense pain within our body. An unpleasant feeling may arise associated with the bodily sensation. You may feel getting up from your sitting position. This creates an unpleasant state of mind and reaction to these unpleasant feelings, thoughts, and states of mind; we react with aversion and try to suppress it. The more we suppress the sensation, the more it will arise, the more we will suffer from a miserable state of mind, and the more we will react, we create a vicious cycle of reaction within us.
We should aware of the impermanent nature of sensations and let them go without reacting to them with craving (like) and aversion (dislike). We should remain balanced and aware of the unconscious cycle of reaction within us.
All thoughts, emotions and states of mind which are associated with these sensations arise, stay for some time and pass within awareness.
Once the sensation will pass, we return again to scanning our body.
We can practice being aware of our bodily movements and sensations during daily life. Practice may lead to awareness of seeing things as they are in the present moment.
By practicing this we are training our mind to observe the emotions or situations without reacting to it because it is going to change after some period. By not doing so we are going to suffer.
We need to meditate daily for a cleansing process, as we clean our body daily. It helps us to remove all accumulated negative emotions, desires, attachments which are the root cause of all sufferings.
I hope you will find this information helpful to live a peaceful life.