How and Why to Practice Quiet Meditation

What is meditation? Why is it so popular nowadays? What does it feel like? It is hard to do? More importantly, is it worth my time to learn about, practice, and give my attention to? Well, I will tell you. Meditation is a state of mind; a special awareness; a beautiful relationship with ourselves. Meditation is the stairway to higher spiritual living. It is the path that anyone can take to "come home." An old friend of mine once put it this way: "simply being in this state of mind brings me to a place I know. It feels so familiar and immensely loving. I feel like I've come home to a place I've known for all eternity. The greatest part? I've become friends with myself again."

Meditation is not a new concept. In fact, it dates back 5,000 years to the Eastern hemisphere of our planet. It has been a staple of many Eastern religions and cultures, such as Buddhism, Hinduism, and Taoism. The purpose of meditation back then, and still to this day, is to elevate the consciousness in order to connect with all the realms of life.

How to Meditate

What you'll need:
*A quite and comfortable place
*A time frame that allows for no interruptions (20 min)
*A thought, mantra, an object to concentrate on, Guided meditation on audio, calm and relaxing background music (all suggestions, and not necessary)
Try different techniques to see what works for you.

Position Types:
*Supine (laying on your back)
*Sitting (on floor or chair)
*Standing
Any position that is comfortable to stay in for 10-20 minutes

Quite Meditation

Once comfortable, begin by closing your eyes and try to clear your mind. Take deep, long breaths. Imagine that when you inhale, you are breathing in positive energy. Perhaps a brilliant white light is taken into and filling your body. Imagine that this light is a healing energy that wraps around you with generous love. Breathe in love, happiness, and joy. Now, as you exhale, imagine that you are breathing out the stagnant or negative energy from your body. Exhale out any negative feelings that you are keeping hostage and let it go. Breathe out any anger, frustration, or sadness. Remove it from your body; remove it from your whole being.

Once you feel that you have completely replaced the negative with the positive, you can move on. Continue on to concentrate on your breaths. Make them steady and deep. Your mind will wander and that is OK. This time is now for observing the thoughts that come and go from your mind. Notice these seemingly random thoughts come into your mind and then dissolve. No matter what it is that floats to your attention, only observe as if you are not attached in any way to the thought. If you were a bystander looking into another person's mind, you only observe, right? This is the point of reference you will now take. Observe what comes and goes, then bring your attention back to your breathing. No matter what the thought, good or bad, beautiful or horrid, only observe. Do not attach to the feelings that you would normally foster from these thoughts. Watch as a bystander to your own mind's workings.

Now begin to attentively change your gears into focusing in on pure stillness by using imagery. Imagery is a useful tool we can use during meditation or any time you need to mentally check-out. At this point your mind is ready to take you to the most serene and quiet place that you can think of. What relaxes you? Water? Then imagine a pristine waterfall, a calm stream, ocean waves, etc. Notice the details. This is the important part. What do all your senses experience? Look around and notice all that you see. Are there animals? What colors are surrounding you in your serene abode? Can you imagine feeling the water as you stick your hand in it? Is it cold or warm? What do you smell? What do you hear? Notice how calm and beautiful your destination is. Take it all in.

When you are ready, begin to come back to the room you are meditating in. Keep your eyes closed, but mentally come back slowly. Continue to focus on your breaths, keeping them deep and slow. Then slowly open your eyes and observe the healthy feelings of serenity that has engulfed you. Take this with you for the rest of your day.

The greatest part of imagery is that you can mentally go back to your serene place anytime, anywhere. Stressed at work? Take a 5 minute break to go close your eyes and return to that calm state of mind. Use this time to focus on the senses: sound, taste, touch, smell, and sight. You will return to your daily grind with a fresh attitude and a clear mind. Do this before taking a test, going before a group to speak, before bed, in the morning before the kids wake up. The possibilities are limitless.

Emily A. Rider invites you to browse more great articles she has written about living a more spiritual life at http://www.higherspiritualliving.com. This site contains may topics from meditation to evidence-based research; from spiritual cleansing to the paradigm shift the U.S. is currently beginning. Come gain knowledge and new perspectives on living spiritually now at http://www.higherspiritualliving.com

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