What is meditation about?
I’ve been meditating off and on for about 6 years and have to say it has been one of the most life changing things I’ve done. There are times where I meditate regularly and times where I don’t want to and do a daily light meditation while commuting to work. Currently I’ve taken up doing an hour long deep meditation and I’m really getting back into it.
I get many questions about meditation from people who want to meditate but don’t know where to start. So I thought I’d create this guide.
Meditation at a basic level is a relaxed state of concentration, dropping your mental activity to Alpha. The brain frequency of an active alert brain is Beta. Alpha is the state where we get to when we close our eyes and is the conscious state before sleep. At this state the brain is relaxed and open to suggestion.
The first thing to know is that there are a few ways to meditate and different reasons for doing it.
How I got into meditation
My first experience of meditation was using the principles of mindfulness. I was on the tube one day then I heard a weird voice telling me to jump in front of the train. I was completely freaked out. I was a very rational and analytical kid interested in science and programming computers. This made no sense to me. But I heard it. It was in my head but wasn’t my voice or my thoughts. I was not suicidal in the least so there was no way this voice came from me. This voice disturbed me for a few days whenever I went on the tube. Over those few days I got increasingly frightened I reasoned that this voice must be the devil or something; I was semi religious at the time and would go to church occasionally so this was the most logical explanation. Then I remember reading about Buddhist meditation and the principle of letting thoughts go. I started ignoring the voice and letting it pass. I realized there was a difference between resisting the voice and just letting it go. Resistance causes persistence which is what had been happening. When I practiced non-resistance to the thoughts, paying them no attention or energy, they quietened and disappeared in two days. I never had this experience again. Whether it was a part of my own subconscious or some other being, I have no idea but what I do know is that just letting it pass diminished its power. And this was the part of my understanding of meditation – non resistance. I have a theory that if people practiced meditation a lot of mental illness would disappear. I think a lot of emotional and mental imbalance is from resisting and fighting our thoughts. If you think you hear voices don’t fight them let them pass.
This wasn’t classical meditation sitting eyes closed and breathing but the principle of meditation – of not getting too attached to ones thoughts were there. This is a very powerful principle called mindfulness.
When I started meditating in proper it was for spiritual reasons, to experiencing journeying (see below) and open up my intuition. I wasn’t as interested in relaxation as I knew how to do that.
From this type of meditation I then started meditating to be more in my body. This allowed me to relax but also tap into and release my energy. I meditated when working crazy hours and it allowed me to avoid stress and re-energize my body. This is the meditation that I describe in my book the Energy Equation.
10 Ways to Meditate
There are a whole host of reasons to meditate so first choose your reason for wanting to meditate. Here are the main reasons from most common to most esoteric.
1. Relaxation – meditation to de-stress, calm down the mind and relax the body. This is the most common reasons for time poor stressed city dwellers. A specialised form of this is relaxation to enable sleep. There is a free sleep meditation on my site. www.energyequationbook.com/resources
2. Mindfulness – similar to the first but this allows you to gain an awareness of the type of thoughts you think, gain some understanding of yourself and to disassociate yourself from thoughts which cause you pain.
3. Body Mindfulness – similar to mindfulness but the focus is on the body. This meditation is about connecting to and being more in your body. When we live in our head a lot of the time we can become disassociated with our body. For example you can see your leg and feel it but you can’t feel the energy in your leg it has a different intensity to say your arm. Or some people feel like they are a head floating on a body. It can seem weird at first that you feel this dissociation but meditation can reintegrate your sense of self in your body. This is the aim of the meditations in my book.
4. Healing – When you are chronically stressed, your body shuts down or at least diminishes many of the essential healing functions you naturally have, such as digestion and the immune system. Given that many of us live with low levels of stress, our bodies are likely not healing to the best of their capability. By relaxing through meditation you can start to engage the bodies natural healing power. You can also use self-hypnosis and the power of placebo to direct your body to heal itself over time. I’ve used this type of healing to improve my eyesight and rid myself of food and pet allergies. In my personal experience this takes a few weeks of regular meditation to take effect
5. Journeying used by spiritual practitioners mostly. Often these are guided meditations by a facilitator although you can drift into your own meditation.This kind of meditation is about journeying in your imagination to other places or times to gain some insight or wisdom. These feel like more powerful forms of day dreams. I’ve had a few journeys and they have always been interesting and often lead to creative insights and solutions to issues
6. Reprogramming – using self hypnosis (or guided hypnosis) to access the sub-conscious. From here you can remove negative thought patterns at their root cause and install new positive thought processes. I have used this to limited effect but haven’t used it consistently to know if it works effectively
7. Creation – creative visualisation to create what you want in life. This is meditation to help you visiualise and create your goals and the things you want to create. Some associate this with the law of attraction although I’ve found it more useful for self motivation rather than attracting as the LOA movement calls it.
8. Embeding learning – Similar to reprogramming. This is using meditation to embed learning. Often called mental rehearsal. Studies show that by mentally rehearal for example playing the piano, your brain rewires itself and you learn almost as much as if you were actually playing the piano. By going into the meditative state and then practicing mental rehearsal you can speed up the learning process.
7. Energetic meditation – Similar to healing but when we relax the body sufficiently we start to feel more energy. This is a more advanced form of relaxation. You become very familiar with the body and can then locate where energy in your body is stuck and how to release it. This can be done with eyes open but eyes closed helps is better. This is the type of meditation used in my energy booster meditations. This is also associated with directing chi, prana and reiki energies. A more advanced form is meditating on your chakras
8. Exploratory – This is sitting still and exploring what is happening in your body and mind. This is a great way to connect to yourself as you have no expectations of what will happen. I’ve noticed some interesting effects from this type of meditation.
8. Step out of space and time – When we meditate deeply and for long enough, our mind loses track of time, we are not aware of our body and so we are said to be in a state of no space and time. From here you can just sit and observe, explore, connect spiritually or shift to a different types of meditation.
9. Prayer – prayer can be a form of meditation. Connecting to the creator or asking for specific things.
10. Esoteric – this covers all of the other spiritual meditative practices that are out there.
Are there any specific practices that you use? Or do you have more questions. Share your comments below