Basic Meditation Overview
Meditation is a holistic discipline by which the practitioner attempts to get beyond the reflexive, "thinking" mind into a deeper state of relaxation or awareness and the achievement of an altered state of mind. Meditation is a component of many religions, and has been practiced since antiquity. It is also practiced outside religious traditions. Different meditative disciplines encompass a wide range of spiritual or psychophysical practices that may emphasize different goals—from achievement of a higher state of consciousness, to greater focus, creativity or self-awareness, or simply a more relaxed and peaceful frame of mind. Meditation results in an altering of brain wave frequencies leading to a brain dominated by Alpha or Theta brain waves. Follow meditation on twitter @Meditation for meditation reminders, hints, and new insights.
Meditation is an exercise in placement of attention and focus leading eventually to an empty thought free mind. There is doing and non-doing meditation. Doing meditation being totally focused on an activity in the present moment in the "relative" realm and non-doing with attention turned internally entering the "quantum" realm. One can concentrate on external objects (candle flame) or internal objects (imaginary black board, breathing).
Perhaps the most powerful technique to clear the mind and stop thinking is Active Waiting Meditation. Literally waiting in anticipation for the next thought to come as if ready to pounce on it. This actually prevents a thought from manifesting because the whole of attention is placed on the act of waiting for the next thought eliminating the wandering mind which allows thought to enter.
Meditation and the resulting altered state of mind can be achieved or enhanced using various compounds like L-Theanine and brain wave entrainment binaural beat audio.
Technology Enhanced Meditation:
The altered states of mind achieved through conventional meditation can now be easily achieved within minutes using brainwave entrainment technology. While many other benefits of conventional meditation may be lacking using technology-induced meditation the results are dramatic and quick. Some warn that taking such a short cut may introduce individuals to experiences that they have not been prepared for. Click here to learn more about binaural beat induced meditation.
Focused Meditation Techniques:
Focus on something intently, but don’t engage your thoughts about it. Focus on something visual, like a statue, distant light or candle flame; something auditory, like a metronome or tape of ocean waves; something constant, like your own breathing; or a simple concept, like ‘unconditional love’. Some people find it easier to do this than to focus on nothing, but the idea is the same -- staying in the present moment and circumventing the constant stream of commentary from your conscious mind, and allowing yourself to slip into an altered state of consciousness.
One powerful technique is to focus your attention on a blank black board created in your minds eye. Another technique is to focus on specific muscles tightening them and the relaxing them moving from the toes up to the eyes.
Activity-Oriented Meditation Techniques:
With this type of meditation, you engage in a repetitive activity, or one where you can get ‘in the zone’ and experience ‘flow.’ Again, this quiets the mind, and allows your brain to shift becoming almost autonomous within the activity and becoming the activity. Activities like gardening, creating artwork, or practicing yoga can all be effective forms of meditation.
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