Meditation Essentials


The Meditation Corner will quickly and painlessly introduce you to the basics of meditation and provide you with the simple tools necessary to begin meditating.

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 The Benefits of Meditation or Why Meditate?
 Steps of Meditation

 The Basics of Sitting

 Daily practice

 


The Benefits of Meditation or Why Meditate?

The principal benefit of meditation which has been so glamorized and which immediately comes to mind is that of stress management. In today's world and especially in our society (that of a large city), stress is an inherent part of daily life. Therefore, stress management is definitely a desired benefit of any activity. Stress management also means a healthier lifestyle and a healthier body. However, meditation properly practiced that is, on a daily basis, can have a rejuvenating effect not only on our body but also on our relationships with loved ones and in our workplace, home and general environment.

However, the true objective of meditation is entering the silence of the mind, that is, when thoughts as we know them come to a complete stop and we are able to be free of the mental chattering that accompanies us daily, unceasingly, for a brief moment. It is during this moment that the body can rejuvenate itself and even heal itself. In the silence of the mind, all things are possible and nothing is impossible.

 

THE STEPS OF MEDITATION
Steps Description
1. Posture (Asana) One that is conducive to alert awareness.
2. Breathing (Pranayama)
  • Counting the Breath
  • Following the Breath
3. Serene Observation and Study of the Mind Observe the parade of thoughts that go through your mind. Allow thoughts to come and go. Do not become identified with any thoughts, that is, do not grab onto them and daydream. Simply observe them at a distance in a detached and objective manner.
4. Concentration,
Entering the Silence
(Dharana)
When the Parade of thoughts comes to an end, the mind remains still and silent by itself. Spontaneous, effortless concentration (the Silence of the Mind) has emerged.
5. Meditation (Dhyana) In the Silence
6. Absorption,
Ecstasy (Samadhi)
When the Mind becomes still and silent, consciousness escapes the bottle of the Mind to experience that which is "Reality".

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Basics of Sitting

  • Sit on a chair, meditation bench or meditation cushion on the floor. Make sure your spine is erect and chin tucked in ever so slightly. This is the posture that has been used for thousands of years, for a reason - it works!
  • Sit several inches away from the back of the chair so that you will not be tempted to slump backwards and thereby fall asleep. An erect sitting posture, although seemingly difficult initially, is always much healthier for the body and for breathing. After a few sessions, you will discover that your back benefits from sitting in this manner. Sit with your feet placed firmly on the floor (without shoes).
  • If you are sitting on a meditation bench, sit with legs tucked under the bench and with spine erect.
  • If you are sitting on a meditation cushion, sit in the half lotus or full lotus position, making sure that your heels are resting on a mat and that your cushion is higher than the mat underneath it.
  • Whichever position you choose, once you sit down, close your eyes so that you will not be distracted by the visual impressions around you. Place your hands in the meditation mudra; the right hand resting on the palm of the left hand with the two thumbs touching lightly such that the union of the thumbs and forefingers form an oval shape. Rest your hands on your legs lightly on your legs. This mudra will help you gauge your alertness in meditation. If you find your thumbs slipping or slumping forward, it is because you have fallen asleep physically or psychologically (daydreaming) and you are no longer meditating.

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Counting the Breath and Following the Breath