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Meditation Essay, Research Paper

Meditation is a private devotion or mental exercise consisting of a number of techniques of concentration, contemplation, and abstraction to heighten spiritual awareness. It has also been defined as, Consciously directing your attention to alter your state of consciousness. Meditation has been practiced around the world since the ancient times. It was used back then and still used today for spiritual growth (becoming more conscious). Meditation is mostly concerned about your attention, where it is directed to, and how it alters or changes a person s consciousness.

Although meditation has been used for spiritual growth, recently it has become a way of finding a peaceful bridge between stress and the fast paced world around us. It has become a way of taking time out of all the distractions and stress that occurs in our lives and relaxing and finding ourselves. Some other uses of meditation include healing, emotional cleansing and balancing, deepening concentration and insight, manifesting change, developing intuition, unlocking creativity, exploring higher realities, and finding inner guidance.

There is no exact way to meditate. Different people meditate in different ways. However, there are many similar guidelines or ways that people go about meditating. First, put your expectations aside. Don t expect to all of a sudden have your consciousness altered. Be open to meditation but don t try to force something to happen. A few other things to avoid are over analyzing the meditation, trying too hard to make your mind blank or chasing thoughts away, and putting too much emphasis on doing it right. In other words, let the practice of meditation come to you and don t try too hard to force it. The second thing is to make sure that you are comfortable. This includes making sure that you wear comfortable clothes and if you are hungry to eat something beforehand. Third, find a comfortable and quiet place to meditate in. Make sure that the place is somewhere that is free of distractions for the entire length of your meditation. Avoiding distractions is important because concentration is the most important part of meditation. Fourthly, it is best to sit cross-legged in full or half lotus position. Make sure to sit upright when meditating with your back against something that is straight (i.e. a wall or back of a chair) and place your hands in a position that is comfortable. Finally, the best times to meditate are early in the morning and in the night. It is recommended that you don t meditate too late at night or it may cause you to stay up later than anticipated.

Some other important information about meditation is not to meditate when you feel you have a fever or pain, but to let them pass before you start, and also to meditate at your own pace. Meditation is a practice that you should get something out of and it is very important that you conduct it at your own pace.

With the practice of meditation, there are several misconceptions about it. First, many think that meditation is turning off your thoughts or making your mind blank. Although this is partially true because inner quietness is experienced, meditation does not include completely turning off your thoughts. Second, people think that they cannot meditate because it is too difficult and takes too much discipline. This is not necessarily true because meditation can be easily learned and can be quite enjoyable. Meditation is only really difficult if one tries too hard and tries to do it too perfectly. Finally, people believe that meditation is not successful unless we see interesting things in our mind. Although some meditations are intended specifically to visualize things, many are not. In these meditations seeing things can be nice but not essential. Some people just visualize things from the inside and not necessarily through sight.

The major benefit of meditation (at least for our purposes) is probably to take time out of our demanding lives and to relax and try to relieve stress by becoming more in touch with ourselves. If meditating becomes a daily thing for you then you may receive different benefits, but for most of us in this class who have never meditated before, the primary benefit is probably taking time out to relax and try to find ourselves for a short while.

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