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What is meditation, and what is not meditation?

Meditation is a mindful practice, a very simple process which allows you to observe your own mind and your own thoughts. It is not about confronting your thoughts, it is also not about trying to manoeuvre your thoughts, but it is just let be – the silent witness, the peaceful observer of your own self. This is achieved with pushing your full awareness on your breathing, your inhale and exhale.

In essence, meditation is about staying unrelated to your chain of thoughts. It is a simple practice, whereas, you sit down, breathe and connect with self. Any moment you attempt to relate yourself with the buzz of your thoughts, you move your awareness from the breathing (or the mantra according to other meditative practices) to your thoughts, you engage with yourself, hence you stop meditating.

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Why meditate?

Meditation enables the individual to connect with self. In times of fast lifestyles and increasing societal havoc and storms of information, meditation can help you stay grounded, at peace and ease with yourself. Some much known benefits of meditation are stress reduction and anxiety relief, but that would be very vague depiction of the real reasons why as an individual you should try out and meditate.

What are other benefits of meditation?

Once you beginning meditation, you will be able to see your thoughts flying like the particles of the atom around your mind, as your mind would be the “core of that atom”. Consequently, meditation is about exploring the spaces in-between, the realms between your thoughts, where the vortex of your infinite mind rests. The vortex is your self, your inner spirit, The You. This is the place where you can fully access your talents and potentials, unlock life puzzles and unleash the inner capsules that hold strings and limit you in life. In very general sense, one of the greatest benefits of meditation is that it can allow you to push the limits in life.

Who should meditate? Is meditation for young people?

When it comes down to who should meditate there is not a right or wrong answer. It would be unjust to set boundaries of who can meditate or cannot. It is in fact out of the question to do that. Everybody can practice mindful meditation. Regardless what age you are, regardless if you are an unemployed person or a very busy business person, if you are a retired elder or a young person who is just starting college – you can meditate. In fact, the earlier in life you start practicing meditation, the better for your personal growth throughout your life. Meditation, as already mentioned will bring many benefits to you down the road, so the sooner you start, the earlier you will be able to recognize those things. Finally, combining meditation with yoga may be one of the best decisions you have taken in your life.

How many meditation practices do exist?

There is a plethora of meditation practices and techniques that exist throughout the world. It would be impossible to count them down all. Part of these meditation practices belong to certain religious practices, others cannot be used without a proper guide and a teacher, and some are very easy and simple techniques you can apply in your daily life, isolated from any religion or related discipline.Some of the most simple meditation practices are (1) mindful stress reduction type of meditation and (2) transcendental meditation.

Can I meditate solely by myself?

Of course that you can. For instance, the mindfulness-based stress reduction meditation (MBSR) is very easy to solve and remember practice. You can seek for first guided meditation on Youtube, or ask a friend who is already doing it to guide you when beginning meditation. After you remember how the technique goes, you are utterly free to do it on your own and be disconnected from groups or else.

The MBSR uses both your  breath awareness and so-called “body scan”. Breath awareness, as already mentioned, is focusing your awareness on your inhalation and exhalation. And “body scan” is also much about your focused attention, not on your breath, but on your physical body as a whole. The “body scan” starts from the tip of your toes and you move it way up to the head. With raised awareness, it has the potential to release stress from all parts of your body. This mindful meditation is performed while lying on the ground. You can also do it while on your bed.

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What about Transcendental meditation?

Transcendental meditation is a seated type of meditation, and is bit more advanced than the mindful meditation (the MBSR). The practitioner should work for a certain period with a guide/teacher or find guide audiobooks within the internet resources.

The practitioner is given a mantra according to a number of different factors, included year of birth or gender, so on and so forth. After you figure out the practice, you can also practice it on your own.

For which other meditation practices I also need guide?

Zen meditation is another kind of seated meditation and it emerges from the Eastern teachings and philosophy. The zen meditation enables you to obtain insight and connect with self through observing the breath and the mind, plus through interaction with your teacher who guide you. The Dalai Lama is one of the most famous practitioners when it comes down to Zen meditation. It is a type of meditation that it is preferable that you have a teacher with whom you work.

Same goes for Kundalini Yoga, that is another type of meditation practice that carefully uses the access of the mind, and guides the body through breath, mantra, mudra and focus. The Kundalini Yoga is a vast space for exploration and specific meditations allows you to reduce stress, boost the vitality of your body, clear and clean the chakra energy flow and even work on addictions. Practicing Kundalini Yoga also requires working with teachers for quite some period of time.

You can also attempt to learn some aspects of these mindful practices by going through some learning materials and books, or simply by checking some valuable free resources here at Meditation Talks.

Is twenty minutes of meditation a day enough?

When beginning meditation exercises, it will be bit harder for you to have a longer effective meditation for more than 15 – 20 minutes. However, at a beginner’s level, 20 minutes of meditation is superb. It is like granting your mind and body an extraordinary reward. In a week, you will start to feel the change that will start happen in your mind. As you become more experienced with meditation, you will realize that 20 minutes is the least you can do, and you can set bigger milestones for your meditation time.

How do you get started?

Find a meditation group in your city that will work best for you. If you do not like the group, ask a friend who might have experience or make your research and find a guide for beginners. If you begin meditation at home, find a spot where nobody will disturb you, where it will be silent or where you can only listen to the guided meditation from your computer. When starting to meditate, make sure you also take an “open position” of your body. Wear some light comfortable clothes, and position your palms as if you were very open to the world…

You may also seek friends and/or advise at our open public group on Facebook here

How will meditation affect on my life?

Meditation is about self-growth and self-improvement. A part of human culture and tool that should enable you to improve an aspect of yourself, whether it is negative change in your behavior because of too much stress and anxiety, challenge with some addiction, trauma or relationship break-up. Meditation should be an instrument that will help you overcome your “inner demon” for the good. It is not something that will immediately solve out all your problems and make you feel instantly happy, but it will help you feel lighter. It is more about setting you on a guided path towards your own life transgressions, which in fact, you determine, and it is how you become more open to life, to accepting different aspects of yourself and the world around you.

How do I keep track on my progress?

When doing meditation, the sense about how you are progressing with it will come on its own time, and that depends how much effort you put into the meditation practice. 20 mins each day or 20 mins every other day is different, but it is not something you can measure and treasure.

The progress will show in time and it is different for everybody as we are all, in essence, very different. For example, if you are a student and if you need to go through a pile of research material and do tremendous amount of writing, you will notice that after few weeks of meditation, your mind will be much more concentrated for performing these intellectual tasks and you will avoid spending time on potential distractions.

Is it possible to do meditation without any technique?

If you count breath awareness as a technique, than the answer is probably not. There lies the fine tuning with meditation practices. Breath awareness for instance is an instrument that can help you with meditation.

However, we must note – we all have meditative moments without using any technique in our lives. For instance, a simple act of unconscious observing of a situation or a landscape is a type of meditation. Seeing a movie sometimes is a kind of meditation. It is bit different, that this is still known as “observation”, but you can count this process as a type of “outward meditation” that allows you to scope in the outer world around you. And, it is a very human thing that we all do.

Is meditation a belief?

Meditation is not a belief. It is a practice. Many people will often confuse meditation for a belief as it is also part of some religious practices. In fact, it has emerged from various religious constellations from the Far East, but in its essence it is the human ability to connect with your self, explore yourself, discover new potentials or receive important messages from the subconscious.

Is meditation connected with some religion?

Not necessarily. Aside many religions include meditation or related meditative techniques into the religious practice, you can observe meditation as an isolated practice that is not connected with any religion. In very broad terms, meditation is not artificial human creation likewise religion may be. It is a human ability that can help you become more aware about yourself and help your inner growth.

How do I deal with potential distraction when meditating?

It could happen that during meditation something distracts you. For instance, itching on your body, or hearing the sound of some vehicle in the distance. Potentially, distraction can be anything. It can be a strong smell or your cell phone. Try to minimize the number of factors that can emerge as potential distractors in your room, but also if it is about itching, remember, it is just like any other thought. Try not to engage with it, but just see it that it is there in the chain of thoughts. Just let it be, like all your other thoughts.

I am still sceptical. Should I still meditate?

Nobody really pushes you into meditation. If you still think that meditation is not for you, then you should not do it. But if you are still curious to at least try, what is it that you lose?

If your skepticism comes from conclusions that you belong to one religion and that if by beginning meditating you will be associated with a different religion, than it is really just a non-sense. Meditation will not convert from you Christian to Hindu or else. Meditation, as already mentioned, is a tool, an instrument, a practice, a method that belongs to human culture, and that can be used for self-growth and self-improvement, that is, just like any other cultural tools, part of how we evolve as human collective.

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