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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Challenges You May Face When You Meditate

Being able to stay focused when you meditate is one of the main challenges that you face when you first engage in meditation. In meditation, you focus on your breathing or an object and try to clear your mind. Thoughts will start to come to mind, which you should acknowledge and then let them pass on.

Sometimes, if you are feeling stressed about some situation, thoughts of this may overpower you and you feel as if you should dwell on these to try to find a solution. Forcing the issue is not the way of meditating and will keep you from the true purpose.

When you first start your meditating session, you need to have a place where you will be free from distractions. This includes noise and images. You can block out the images by closing your eyes, but the daily sounds are often more difficult to block out. This is why most people choose the early morning hours to practice spiritual meditation. The rest of the household is asleep so you have some time to yourself when you won’t be interrupted.

Learning the various positions and being able to hold them for a length of time is a challenge for beginners. While most people have the idea that you have to be in a sitting position to meditate, you can meditate when you are walking, lying down, kneeling or standing. The sitting positions are the hardest to master, even when you sit on a chair because it is hard to maintain the same position for up to 30 minutes at a time.

The half lotus position is the one most prefer to use when meditating in a sitting position. To do this, you sit cross legged with the foot of one leg resting on the thigh of the other leg. The other foot is resting on the floor under the opposite thigh. The most difficult sitting position is the full lotus in which you have both feet resting on the thighs of the opposite legs and your knees touching the floor.

When you start to meditate, you also have to give yourself a few minutes at the beginning for your mind and body to relax. It takes a few minutes for this to happen and for your breathing to become regular. You have to let the tenseness out of the muscles in your back and neck and learn to breathe deeply. This means breathing in through your nose so that you take in the maximum amount of oxygen which can then get to the deepest portions of your lungs. Hold the breath for a second and let it out slowly.

There are no rules for meditating. The main goal is for you to see results from the session – whether this is simply a way of relaxing, finding a solution to your problems or finding a way of reaching a state of inner peace and calm. During the session, you do not allow your thoughts to consume you and through this you can learn to see and understand them in a different way.

The object is to meditate so that you become more effective in the way you handle the stresses of life so that you don’t act impulsively and become angry over every little thing. Once you grasp this concept, you will be able to have a happier life.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

What are the Different Types of Meditation?

While there are many different types of meditation, there are two general classifications: concentrative and mindfulness. In concentrative meditation, you focus on clearing your mind to provide you with greater concentration, awareness and clarity. In mindfulness meditation, you open your mind to become more aware of the things around you, such as scents, sounds and thoughts.

The easiest way to engage in concentrative meditation is to sit quietly and focus on your breathing. Relax and count your breaths as you breathe through your nose. Take deep breaths, hold them and let them out slowly. This helps you to get oxygen into the lowest portions of your lungs.

There are times when you mind may wander, but you refocus on your breathing to get rid of your thoughts. You can also focus on an object when meditating or you may want to repeat a phrase or a word. This is called mantra meditation in which you can choose to repeat the word or phrase aloud or silently in your head.

If you are agitated or worried about something, your breathing will be short and fast when you first start this type of meditation. As you start to relax, your breathing will slow down and become regulated. As you focus on your breathing or on an object, your mind will become absorbed with the regulation of your breathing and all other thoughts will vanish from your mind.

Zen meditation is one type of concentrative meditation in which you concentrate on the functioning of the heart. There are three main aims in this form:

· to develop the power of concentration

· to awaken your inner sense of wisdom

· to recognize the action of the Supreme Being on your inner self

The idea is that once you are able to rid yourself of the thoughts of everyday life, you can reach that inner sense of peace that exists in everyone. It helps to calm the mind and body to give you insight into the nature of your existence. You must be patient and persistent in meditating in order for your mind to become clear.

Raja Yoga Meditation is another type of concentrative meditation. This form of meditation helps you to gain control of your mind to enable to you to develop a sense of peace. The life force of your body moves through the spine so that awareness is able to move into the “Third Eye” which is a point between your eyebrows.

Your mind is not passive and there can be many thoughts racing through it. You try to free yourself of these mindless thoughts and focus on the real meaning of meditating to achieve a pleasant feeling throughout the body.

Mindfulness meditation involves a passing parade of thoughts, emotions and images through your mind. You sit in a meditating position and instead of trying to banish the thoughts from your mind, you allow them to enter. You do acknowledge that they are present but you don’t concentrate on them. This allows you to develop a calm approach to your problems so that you don’t react quickly.

Instead of focusing on one individual thought or scene, you allow each though to become part of the bigger picture. It trains your mind to meditate on things in your life over which you have no control so that you have a heightened sense of inner peace that will enable you to go on with your life in spite or extreme difficulties.